Lemon and courgette cake with white chocolate cream cheese frosting
- September 2021
- Serves 12-14
- Hands-on time 1 hour, plus chilling and cooling
This gorgeous lemon and courgette cake features layers of zesty sponge layered with homemade lemon curd and white choc cream cheese frosting.
For more delicious ways to use up courgettes, check out our courgette recipes collection.
- 60.7g (37g saturated)
- 67.65g (51.4g sugars)
For the lemon and courgette sponge
- 375g unsalted butter, softened
- 300g caster sugar
- 5 medium free-range eggs, at room temperature
- 375g self-raising four
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 300g courgettes, grated (see Know How)
- Grated zest 4 lemons
- Candied lemon slices to decorate (see Know How and use the zested lemons above)
For the lemon curd
- 115g caster sugar
- 3 medium free-range eggs, plus 2 medium free-range egg yolks
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- Grated zest and juice 2 large lemons (about 150ml juice)
- 75g cold unsalted butter, diced
For the white chocolate cream cheese buttercream
- 375g unsalted butter, softened and at room temperature
- 200g icing sugar
- 300g full-fat cream cheese (we used Philadelphia) at room temperature
- 150g white chocolate, melted and cooled
- Squeeze of lemon juice
You’ll also need
- Electric hand or stand mixer
- 2 x 20cm loose-bottomed round cake tins, lined with compostable baking paper
- Heat the oven to 160ºC fan/gas 4. To make the cake, beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer on medium speed (use the paddle attachment), scraping down the sides twice, until the mixture is pale and fluffy – 6-8 minutes (or use a hand mixer). Beat in the eggs, one at a time, allowing each addition to be incorporated before adding the next. After the last egg is added, scrape down the sides once more, then beat for 2 minutes.
- Sift together the flour, bicarb and ginger, then gently fold into the wet mixture using a figure-of-eight motion until just combined. Finally, gently fold in the courgettes and lemon zest. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared tins, smooth the tops, then bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and a skewer
pushed into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and set aside to cool completely (see Make Ahead).
- To make the lemon curd, beat the sugar, eggs, yolks and cornflour in a medium heatproof bowl using a balloon whisk. Add the lemon zest and juice and beat until combined. Sit the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and cook, stirring frequently, for 15-20 minutes until very thick, taking care not to let the mixture get too hot or it will curdle. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cold butter, 2 cubes at a time. Press a piece of cling film directly onto the surface of the curd and set aside to cool completely (see Make Ahead).
- For the buttercream, beat the butter and icing sugar in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until fluffy. Gradually beat in the cream cheese, bringing the mix back to a smooth consistency before adding more. Add the melted chocolate and a squeeze of lemon, scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again until well combined. Cover and chill for 1-2 hours until firmed up.
- To assemble, slice the cooled cakes horizontally in half (see Know How). Secure 1 layer of cake, cut-side up, to a serving plate or cake stand using a blob of the buttercream. Spread 2 large spoonfuls of buttercream over the cake, followed by about a third of the lemon curd. Repeat the cake, buttercream and curd layers twice more, finishing with the final cake layer.
- Chill the cake for 30 minutes to firm up the buttercream, then coat the top and sides with a thin layer of buttercream (known as a crumb coat – it should be so thin you can see through it). Return the cake to the fridge for 1 hour, then spread with the remaining buttercream, giving it a smooth or swirled design as you prefer. Decorate with the candied lemon slices (see Know How).
Wrap the un-iced cakes and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature for several hours, then assemble. The curd, frosting and candied lemon can be made up to 3 days ahead. Store in separate airtight containers in the fridge until ready to assemble the cake.
How to make candied lemon slices: Slice 2-3 small lemons into 5mm thick rounds. Mix 200g caster sugar in a small pan with 200ml water and stir over a low-medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then add the sliced lemons and reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook for 20-30 minutes until the pith is almost see-through and the syrup is reduced. Pour the lemons and their syrup into a container or bowl and store in the fridge for up to a week.
If your courgettes are large or a bit watery, wrap the grated courgettes in a clean tea towel and squeeze to remove any excess moisture before adding to the cake batter.
For the buttercream, it’s important the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature. If either is cold, the buttercream will be lumpy and may split. Take both out of the fridge up to 1 hour before using, depending on how warm a day it is.
If you’re assembling the cake in hot weather, wrap the sliced cake layers and freeze for an hour before assembling. This will help keep the filling firm as you layer up the cake.
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