Pic of Courgette, lemon and poppy seed cake

Courgette, lemon and poppy seed cake

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Simple cooking & prep

Courgette, lemon and poppy seed cake

Pudding & Cake Serves 12 1h 30 min
Courgettes and ground almonds give this light, zingy gluten-free cake a wonderfully moist texture. With a dusting of poppy seeds inside and on top, this make an exquisite summer teatime treat. The moisture from the courgettes means it keeps well in an airtight container for several days.



  • 75ml whole milk
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
  • 250g unsalted butter, plus a little extra for greasing the tin
  • 250g light brown soft sugar
  • 4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 200g gluten-free self-raising flour
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 250g grated weight of courgettes

for the topping

  • 300g icing sugar
  • 1½ tsp lemon zest, finely grated
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
Image of Courgette, lemon and poppy seed cake


Prep time: 30 min
Cooking time: 1h


  • Step 1

    Preheat your oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Lightly grease a 23cm springform cake tin with a little butter and line with baking parchment.
  • Step 2

    Warm the milk, poppy seeds and lemon zest in a small pan for a couple of minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  • Step 3

    Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale, light and fluffy (an electric hand mixer makes life easier). Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time.
  • Step 4

    Stir in the almond extract, flour and ground almonds. Fold in the courgettes and cooled milk.
  • Step 5

    Whisk the egg whites in a separate clean bowl until they form stiff peaks. Add a large spoon of the egg white to the courgette mixture and stir it in (a sacrificial bit!), then very gently fold in the rest, keeping as much air in the mixture as possible.
  • Step 6

    Pour the mixture into the tin. Bake for about 60 minutes, depending on your oven, until firm to the touch; it should spring back when you lightly press the middle. Cool the cake in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the topping

  • Step 1

    sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Stir in the lemon zest. Melt the butter and working quickly, pour it over the icing sugar.
  • Step 2

    Add the lemon juice and quickly stir it together, adding a splash of cold water if needed, until you have a thick but spreadable icing. Use a pallet knife to spread over the cake.
  • Step 3

    Sprinkle over the poppy seeds and leave the cake for about 30 minutes (if you can!), so the icing can set a little before serving.

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