Courgette, lemon and poppy seed cake

Light, lemony and delicious, this recipe for courgette, lemon and poppy seed cake is sure to impress – a perfect teatime treat from Davina McCall.


  • 300ml light olive oil, plus extra to grease
  • 175g spelt flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla pod or 1tsp vanilla powder
  • 300g runny honey
  • 3 large eggs
  • 225g courgettes, peeled
  • Finely grated zest 2 lemons
  • For the icing
  • 350g Philadelphia Lightest
  • 1½tbsp maple syrup
  • Finely grated zest 1 lemon and 1tbsp lemon juice
  • 2tsp poppy seeds


  1. Heat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Grease and base line 2 x 20cm loose-bottom cake tins with oil and non-stick baking paper.
  2. Sift all the dry ingredients for the cake into a bowl, then add the vanilla. Pour the oil into a separate bowl, then beat in the honey. Add the eggs to the honey mix, one at a time, beating well between each addition, then fold in the dry ingredients. Coarsely grate the courgette into a clean tea towel and squeeze well to remove the excess liquid. Mix the grated courgette and the lemon zest into the cake batter, then divide the batter evenly between the prepared tins.
  3. Bake the cakes on the middle shelf of the oven for 40–45 min until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. If the cakes look as if they are browning too much on top, cover them loosely with non-stick baking paper or foil.
  4. Take the cakes out of the oven and leave them to cool in the tins for 5 min. Remove the cakes from the tins and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Remove the baking paper from the cake bases. Whisk the Philadelphia with the maple syrup, half the lemon zest and the lemon juice. Spread half the icing over one of the cakes, then put the other cake on top and cover the top with the remaining icing. Scatter with the poppy seeds and the rest of the lemon zest before slicing.

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