I made this courgette, lime and amaretti cake for Nannie T who was down this weekend. Nannie T was dreading the thought of it, “Courgettes in a cake..” she said, “how many courgettes did you put in that?” I promised Nannie T that she would like it, even though I have never made a courgette cake before and, being me, had decided not to follow a recipe very closely. I was relieved, therefore, when I tasted the cake and realised that it isn’t just good, it’s utterly delicious. “Beautiful cake,” said Nannie T. “It’s so moist… you can’t taste the courgette at all.”
Ever since I had my first taste of courgette, lime and pistachio cake at Buttercup Cafe I have been waiting to get some courgettes in my veg box so I can try making one myself. For my version I pinched the base of Nigel Slater’s recipe (200g each of butter, flour, sugar and 2 eggs) but in place of nuts, raisins and fresh apple I added lime zest and amaretti biscuit crumbs that soften and spread through the cake mix lending it an irresistible hint of marzipan. The sweet almond matched with the sharp lime flavoured icing makes this cake a total winner, even for people who hate marra’.
Courgette, lime and amaretti cake
200g courgette (1 medium-sized courgette)
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lime
(if your limes aren’t too juicy use the zest of two and juice of 1)
40g amaretti biscuits
2 medium eggs
200g unsalted butter
200g unrefined caster sugar
200g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt, pinch of cinnamon
For the icing
250g mascarpone or cream cheese
Juice of 1 lime
6tbsp icing sugar, sifted
20g amaretti, crushed
Equipment: 10 x 20cm loaf tin | Oven: 180c
Recipe notes: to make a larger, layered birthday cake use double these quantities, divide evenly between two round tins and bake for about 50 mins. I have also made this cake successfully using half unsalted butter and half Trex vegetable fat. For a dairy-free version substitute 200g butter for 160g Trex.
Whisk the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and creamy.
Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt. Whisk the eggs into the sugar and butter a little at a time until the cake batter is smooth.
Add the coarsely grated courgette to the bowl and sieve the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into the cake batter.
Gently fold in all of the dry ingredients, including the crumbled amaretti biscuits and lime zest. Add juice of half a lime to soften the mix.
Spoon the cake batter into a buttered loaf tin (10x20cm) and place in the middle of the oven at 180c for about an hour. Check cake with a skewer, when the skewer comes out clean the cake is cooked. (Mine took 1 hour and 5 minutes.)
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes then transfer carefully to a wire rack to finish cooling before icing. (I couldn’t wait, which is why my icing looks a bit sloppy in the photo.)
For the icing
Sift the icing sugar into the lime juice and whisk to form a smooth paste, whisk in the cream cheese a dollop at a time and taste to check the balance of sweet and sour is right for you. The icing should be a little tart to counter the sweetness of the cake. Spread icing over the cooled cake and top with crumbled amaretti biscuits. Please note that the biscuits may soften on top of the icing if the cream cheese is quite wet, mascarpone is the best option because it is more dense and dry than Philadelphia.
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About Chloe King
I'm a freelance writer, designer and webby type. I live with my husband and daughter in the south of England. I like to cook and can throw a good party.
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