At the start of this Covid-19 lock down I resisted my baking addiction with great effort, purely due to the fact that, without being able to share my creations with my work colleagues, family and friends, I knew I would HAVE to eat ALL of everything I made - something I would totally regret when having to be rolled back into my office five-times larger than when the lockdown started!
But then my Instagram and Facebook feeds started to become flooded with baking posts, ideas, recipes, creations from my friends and family, and slowly my resolve began to cave in.
The final straw was when I looked in my fridge one morning to find my eggs were just at their use-by date, and my courgettes and lemons were starting to go off. Now, we can't be wasteful, can we? What else was I supposed to do?! It was all for the greater good....
Anyone who knows me, knows I love anything with lemon, and lemon drizzle cake is one of my all time favourite cakes! So of course my mind was already made up as soon as I realised the lemons needed to be used. The courgettes were a double bonus because, although I make a pretty mean lemon drizzle, by far, one of my best lemon drizzle cakes is this Zucchini & Lemon Drizzle cake!
It sounds outrageous, I know, but trust me - it's divine! The courgette, like carrot in carrot cake, gives the cake it’s moist texture, and you genuinely can’t taste it at all so don’t misjudge this beauty! I also love the way, once the cake is cut, you get these gorgeous little flecks of green in the crumb.
Beautifully Moist Courgette (Zucchini) & Lemon Drizzle Cake
Apart from, perhaps, the courgettes, the ingredients for the rest of this cake are very simple, and you will likely already have them in your cupboard! All you need are:
All purpose flour
Flavourless vegetable oil
Icing sugar for the lemon glaze
In this recipe we use both the juice and the zest of the lemon, so be sure to have fresh lemons handy as opposed to bottled lemon juice. The zest gives the cake a beautiful fragrance whilst the juice provides the zing!
The cinnamon is optional but I think adds a nice undertone to the cake that is only just detectable.
1.) To achieve a perfectly moist cake rather than a wet cake, strain your courgette through a tea towel or muslin cloth to squeeze out some of the moisture before adding it to the batter.
2.) Brush your lemon syrup on your cake whilst still warm from the oven as it will seep into the cake more evenly and make for a better texture. Make sure you've poked enough holes in the cake with a cake tester/toothpick so that you get a zap of lemon with each slice. As the courgette already makes this cake very moist, I would advise not overdoing it with the syrup; just a twice over with a pastry brush, and focusing on where you've made your holes. Don't forget we are drizzling with a thick glaze too so you'll have plenty of lemon!
Courgette & Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake
Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 50-55 minutes
1 large egg
150g caster sugar (Baker's sugar/fine granulated in the US)
200g grated courgette (strained through a tea towel)
125ml flavourless vegetable oil
200g all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Juice of 1 lemon (just over 2 tbsp)
Zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
Juice of 2 Lemons (about 4 tbsp)
4 Tbsp of Icing sugar
1 cup icing sugar
1.5 tbsp lemon juice
1. Grease and line a loaf tin with baking parchment, allowing the parchment to hang over the sides which will make it easier to lift the cake from the tin later. Preheat oven to 160C.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until thick and pale in colour
3. Whisk in oil, salt, and the strained, grated courgette until combined
4. In a smaller, separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and lemon zest then fold this into the wet mixture in 2 stages until JUST combined (do not over mix!!)
5. Add lemon juice and fold in for a few seconds until mixed through, again do not over mix!
6. Fill you prepared tin and tap on the counter a few time to remove any large air bubbles. Place on centre shelf of your oven and bake at 160C for approximately 50 minutes or until golden brown, and a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean with a couple of crumbs
7. Towards the end of the baking time, prepare your lemon syrup by adding your lemon juice and icing sugar to a small pan and, heating on a medium heat, stir until reduced to a syrup
(Note you can use granulated sugar for this but will need to allow more time for the sugar to dissolve)
8. Remove cake from oven and, using a skewer, toothpick or cake tester, poke holes through the top of the cake
9. Using a pastry brush, start brushing the top of the cake with your lemon syrup, dabbing at the holes in the top of the cake to allow syrup to drip through. Allow cake to cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
11. Once at room temperature, prepare the glaze. Add your lemon juice to the powdered sugar 1 tbsp at a time and mix thoroughly with a rubber spatula to remove any lumps. Add more sugar to thicken or more lemon juice/water for a thinner texture. You should be aiming for a bright white colour and a slow dripping consistency so the dripping sets firmly down the sides of the cake
12. Once you have reached your desired consistency, with your cake on the wire rack and a tray underneath, drizzle the glaze over the top of your cake, allowing the icing to slowly drip down the sides of the cake. If you like, you can add candied lemon, or simply grated lemon zest to garnish the cake before the icing sets.