Courgette & Pistachio Cake with Lime Cheesecake Icing

I can’t believe how fast the last few weeks have gone. I visited my parents at Easter, met up with the lovely Claire from Claire’s Cake Bake, been back in work 2 weeks, wondered if my sister was ever going to get back from New Zealand…oh and resigned from my job. I’m leaving to become a freelance food geek specialising in kid’s cookery & Primary Curriculum; something I’m very excited about. It all came to me, randomly, during a Hairy Biker’s episode that featured a Food Historian. Fed up of waiting for the perfect job to come to me I decided to create my dream job and take it to the people. I just pray I manage to pull it off or we’ll be back to eating Value beans on toast before long. Good sign is that I already have clients lined up even before I’m officially trading. Most of my free time has been spent business planning and developing recipes to try with my pupils. With Jamie Oliver investing his own money to improve Food Education, I think he needs to call me…

With everything going on I’m cooking lots of quick simple meals with the odd cake to keep us going. I’m also working on quite a few recipes to make them more suitable for teaching. This recipe probably isn’t one of these recipes, but it is full of hidden vegetables!

After speaking to mum about my Mini Carrot Cakes she wondered how courgettes and pistachio would work together. I couldn’t see why it wouldn’t work as courgettes are often used in cakes not really for the taste, but because they give a fantastic moistness to the cake. Although they are not in season yet, as any grow-your-owner knows these vegetables have a habit of taking over the garden and there is only so much courgette you can eat in more traditional form. This I think is quite an edible alternative.

One thing I did find out when making this cake is that it works out cheaper to buy pistachios out of their shells. I spent far too long shelling 150g of pistachios only to be left with 75g of actual nuts. The resulting cake has beautiful green flecks throughout it due to the courgette & pistachio nuts. To complement this I grated lime zest into the icing. This cake keeps well in a tin for a few days.

Courgette & Pistachio Cake with Lime Cheesecake Icing
Makes 1x 2lb loaf

140ml vegetable oil or rapeseed oil, plus extra for greasing
2 eggs
200g muscovado sugar
300g grated courgettes, (Don’t bother peeling them. I blitz them in the food processor)
100g raisins
70g unsalted pistachios, chopped (optional)
180g self-raising flour
tiny pinch of salt
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg or mace ( I like mace as it has a hint of citrus)
½ tsp mixed spice

Lime Cheesecake Icing

50g cream cheese, chilled (full fat works best)
50g butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g icing sugar, sifted
1 lime, zest only

1) Preheat oven to 150°c. Line 2lb cake tin with liners or lightly grease.
2) In a large bowl beat the egg, then add the oil, sugar, courgette and pistachios. Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.
3) Fill the tin with the cake mix. Bake for 75 min, or until cake is risen and cooked through. Allow to cool before icing.
4) Beat together the cream cheese, vanilla, lime zest and butter then gradually add the icing sugar. The icing sugar will stiffen the icing the more you put in, but taste as you go along to make sure you don’t make it too sweet. Once the icing is ready, spread onto cake and leave for a few hours for the icing to harden slightly.

13 thoughts on “Courgette & Pistachio Cake with Lime Cheesecake Icing”

  • You’ve taken the plunge officially then! Congrats, I’m sure it will go well for you. This looks like an interesting cake – liking the lime icing very much!!

  • This cake recipe is fantastic! I was a little unsure whilst baking it but it sounded so unusual that I had to try it. Went down very well with family and friends and will be a regular cake on the menu from now on.
    So moist and tasty I also added some lemon to the icing as had one in my fridge.

  • Made this last night and it got a big thumbs up from my colleagues today. Even a reluctant cake eater came for a second slice.

    Like the fact there’s not too much oil in the recipe, no butter at all, and actually relatively little sugar too. Plus, all the courgette, dried fruit and nuts made it very easy to kid myself that it was actually “healthy” ;)

    I cooked it for 60-65mins instead of the suggested 75 and it was beautifully moist. Omitted the icing on this occasion (everyone in my office is trying to be good) and it was delicious without.


  • hello! I was looking for courgette/pistachio cake recipe online, and came across yours! A question: I don’t have a food processor, so I tried a little piece of courgette on a cheese grater, and it worked! However, what should I do with all the water that came out of the courgette? All into the batter, or should I squeeze the excess moisture out before weighing and mixing?

    • Hi, don’t add the excess water. If you want you can squeeze the excess moisture out of the courgette, but go with the weight before squeezing.

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