You're going to love this lush, softly green, Lemon and Courgette Cake in a Tray bake. It's a fluffy, light and delicately tender cake made with courgette (zucchini) and is topped with lemon drizzle and pistachios for the ultimate in easy summer baking.
This courgette/zucchini cake is especially perfect in the summer when you have a glut of summer squash to use up! It comes together without much fuss. Just a bit bit of grating and whisking. Crucially, it is perfect with a simple lemon glaze, rather than heavy frosting, which makes it great for sticky summer afternoons or taking as an end to a BBQ or picnic.
This traybake cake is actually a light summery version of my carrot cake, and sister to my gloriously green spinach and cardamom cake. There is something magical about using veggies as a hidden ingredient in a cake. They add extra moisture, a little of their own sweet flavour and always make for an interesting talking point!
- Courgette/ Zucchini- A lovely fresh zucchini/courgette simply grated.
- Lemon- zest and juice - choose un waxed as you want the zest.
- Plain Flour (all purpose flour)- you can also use spelt flour.
- Aquafaba (the water from a tin of chickpeas)- A standard 16oz/400g can of chickpeas will have the correct amount of aquafaba for this cake. Approx 14 tablespoon total. Aquafaba is really good for replacing eggs in recipes such as light, fluffy cakes.
- Sugar- plain white sugar. I generally use cane sugar or sugar beet sugar (here in the UK all sugar is vegan. If you are in the USA, please check!)
- Vanilla essence
- Baking powder.
See the recipe card for the quantities. I have included USA standard cup measurements, however, as with all baking, I suggest you weigh your ingredients for the most consistent results!
Follow along with these photos to make your perfect courgette and lemon cake traybake with a beautiful lemon drizzle glaze.
Grate the zest of one lemon. Be sure not to get the bitter pith. Save the rest of the lemon for the glaze.
Grate the courgette/zucchini. If you choose a fine grater the courgette will look more subtle. Or a courser grate will be a little more obvious in the cake.
Pat the courgette dry with a paper towel or clean cloth. Don't skip this step or you will end up with soggy cake!
In a large bowl add the sugar and lemon zest. Scrunch the zest into the sugar. This releases the oils in the zest, making a more lemon-fragrant cake!
Add 14 Tablespoons of aquafaba to the sugar. (roughly equivelant to the juice in a single can of chickpeas). Save the chickpeas and make hummus later.
Add the oil and vanilla essence then whisk until thick and smooth, and the sugar has dissolved somewhat.
Add the flour & baking powder. Mix well.
Mix in the grated courgette. Mix it in well so it is evenly distributed in the batter.
The mixture should look like this when ready.
Line a traybake tin (mine is 32cm x 22 cm) and spread out the mixture.
Bake at 180C /375 for 35 minutes. The size of your tray may vary so check at 30 mins. The cake is ready when a skewer comes out clean.
Cool the cake on a cooling rack.When it is cool, mix up the lemon juice with icing powder /icing sugar and drizzle over the top.
Hint: Don't skip the step of patting dry the courgette! It needs a pat & a squeeze otherwise your cake will be soggy!
I specify a light sunflower oil in the ingredients, however you can also use melted vegan butter, or organic rapeseed oil or light olive oil.
Instead of using a 32cm by 22cm ( traybake cake can be made as a layer cake, or as a large single round cake too. For a layer cake, divide the batter into two sponge tins. The cooking time might vary so be careful when baking.
- Lime- This refreshing cake can be made with limes instead of lemon. Use the zest of two limes in the cake batter and lime juice in the drizzle.
- Nuts- add pistachios or walnuts to the batter as well as on top.
- Yellow Summer Squash/Zucchini- any of the summer squash can be used in place of courgette. Just be sure to pat them dry once grated.
The courgette and lemon cake keeps well in an airtight container, in a cool place for 5 to 7 days.
You can freeze the cake, without frosting, for up to three months. Warm it up in the oven for a few minutes to 'refresh' the flavours!
Be sure to pat the courgette dry, and really incorporate it well into the batter.
Lemon and Courgette Cake Traybake
- 1 A good box grater
For accuracy, I measure all ingredients in metric as standard, then convert and test the recipe for American cup measurements etc.
(Heads up Aussie and UK readers- your measurements in cups are sometimes different, so please use metric or check you have the correct cup and spoon type!!)
For the cake
- 150 ml (⅔ cups) sunflower oil ((or other neutral oil such as light olive oil))
- 14 Tbs (14 Tbs) Aquafaba ((chickpea water) unbeaten. The equivilant of the liquid in a standard 400g/16oz chickpea tin (can) )
- 225 g (1 ¼ cups) sugar
- 200 g (1 ⅔ cups) courgette (a courgette is the same as a zucchini. This is the equivilant to one medium courgette. )
- 300 g (2 ½ cups) plain flour ((all purpose flour) )
- 3 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Icing
- Juice half lemon
- ½ cup icing sugar ((powdered sugar))
- Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
- Line a traybake tin: 32cm by 22cm (12 x 9")
- Zest the lemon. Be careful to just get the yellow zest and not the bitter white pith.1 lemon zest
- Grate the courgette/zucchini and pat it dry, squeezing it out a little bit, with a clean cloth to remove the excess moisture. (prevents a soggy cake!)200 g courgette
- Add the sugar to a large bowl, then scrunch the lemon zest into the sugar with your fingers. This releases the lemon oil into the sugar and makes the taste more intense.225 g sugar, 1 lemon zest
- Add the aquafaba, oil and vanilla essence to the sugar.150 ml sunflower oil, 14 Tbs Aquafaba, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Whisk the oil, aquafaba, and sugar until the mixture is well combined, lighter, and noticeably thickened.
- Fold in the flour and baking powder. Mix well to combine.300 g plain flour, 3 teaspoon baking powder
- Add the courgette and mix well.200 g courgette
- Pour the cake mix into the prepared baking tin, and spread it out to the corners.
- Pop in the oven and bake for 30-35 mins. Test with a skewer to see if it is cooked through. If it comes out clean, it's ready to take out of the oven. If it comes out a little gooey, leave the cake in for another 5 mins. The cooking time will really depend on how large your tin is, so if you use a smaller tin, adjust the time to be a little longer.
- Cool the cake in it's tin for 10 mins, then turn out onto a cake rack.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the icing and lemon juice. Add more icing sugar if necessary, you want a thickish yet drizzable mix.Juice half lemon, ½ cup icing sugar
- Once cool, turn the cake onto a serving plate and drizzle with the icing. Add pistachios or other decorations as desired.