Val Stones’ courgette, lime & pistachio cake

1 September, 2022

Mark Lane, our gardening expert, encourages harvesting courgettes in September to make the most of your homegrown produce. Here, our beloved baking expert, Val Stones, has created a mouth-watering cake combining courgettes with lime and pistachios as part of our Plant to Plate Calendar.

Serving suggestions and timings:

  • Serves: 8 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes 
  • Baking: 30-40 minutes    

 Ingredients :

  • 3 medium eggs  
  • 125ml rapeseed or sunflower oil  
  • 150g caster sugar  
  • 225g self-raising flour  
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda  
  • ½ tsp baking powder  
  • 1 level tsp ground cinnamon  
  • 250g courgette, finely grated and squeezed out to remove some of the moisture  
  • Zest of ½ an unwaxed lime  

 For the icing:

  • 400g cream cheese 200g icing sugar zest of a lime  
  • 2 tbsp lime juice  
  • 40g pistachio nuts, finely chopped 

 For the lime curd filling and topping:

  • 4 large free-range eggs  
  • Zest and juice of 5 large, juicy unwaxed limes  
  • 350g golden caster sugar  
  • 225g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes  
  • 1 level tbsp cornflour 


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C fan, 180-190°C, gas 4-5  
  2. Line and grease two 23cm-diameter spring-release baking tins or sandwich tins, a 30cm x 23cm shallow tin or two brownie pans 
  3. Beat together the eggs, oil and sugar in a large bowl until creamy  
  4. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and cinnamon, then add to the egg mixture and beat well  
  5. Stir in the grated courgettes and lime zest until well combined. Divide the mixture into the cake tins  
  6. Bake in the middle of the oven for 25–30 minutes. The cake is ready when it is firm to touch and springs back  
  7. Remove from the oven and leave for two minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Carefully peel off the paper lining and leave to cool 

 At this stage you can freeze the cakes in a container for up to a month, placing parchment between each cake.  

 For the lime curd filling and topping:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C fan, 160°C, gas 3. Place four jam jars in the oven to sterilise them  
  2. Lightly whisk the eggs in a saucepan (or the top pan of a double boiler), add the rest of the ingredients and place the pan over a medium heat (if using the double boiler, half-fill the bottom pan with boiling water, then place the top pan on top, making sure the water doesn't touch it) 
  3. Whisk continuously using a balloon whisk until the mixture thickens – about seven minutes  
  4. Lower the heat and let the curd gently simmer for a further minute, continuing to whisk  
  5. You can test whether the curd is set by coating the back of a wooden spoon and running your finger through the coating. Your finger should leave a trail that does not close. This is a good opportunity to taste the curd! If it is not ready, continue on the lowest heat, whisking for another minute or more  
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the lime curd into the hot sterilised jars, filling them as fully as possible  
  7. Cover straight away with waxed discs, seal while still hot and label when cold  

 For the icing:

  1. Beat the cream cheese in a bowl until smooth. Sift in the icing sugar and stir in the lime juice  
  2. Spread two thirds of the icing on the top of one cake (if you've used the shallow baking tin, cut the cake in half horizontally and spread icing on one half only). Then spread about 3 tablespoons of lime curd filling on top of the cream cheese icing. Sandwich the two cakes together 
  3. Use the remaining icing to cover the top of the cake, allowing it to drizzle over the edge a little  
  4. Sprinkle with the chopped pistachio nuts and lime zest  
  5. Using an icing bag, drizzle two tablespoons of lime curd over the top of the cake in a zig zag pattern  

This cake will keep for six days. You can freeze it without the icing and then ice it when required after thawing first.  

Create your own recipe book with the help of our Plant to Plate Calendar. With the expertise of Mark Lane and Val Stones, you can try your hand at herby sausage rolls, gingerbread, raspberry and orange tart, and a Victoria sponge with raspberries and fresh cream. 

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