Courgette Cake Recipe With Lemon

An alternative to carrot cake, this moist courgette cake recipe with lemon is a great way to use up home grown courgettes and it tastes delicious!

Why We Use Courgette In A Cake

When considering courgette recipes, a sweet cake may not immediately come to mind. So, why do we use courgette in a cake batter?

You’ll see that carrot and courgette cake are pretty similar. Much like the way carrots are used in a carrot cake, when baked, the courgettes break down and become soft and mushy in the cake batter. This helps to create a moist crumb and gives structure to the cake. The neutral flavour of courgettes means that you won’t taste their presence either. So, this allows for the lemon flavouring to shine through.

This is like a lemon drizzle cake with courgette. With the two lemon glazes and the addition of lemon zest and lemon extract in the batter, this fresh lemony cake is perfect for summer, just when courgettes come into season and begin to ripen in the garden.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Moist Courgette Cake – The ingredients give the crumb a lovely moist texture.
It’s Dairy Free – This cake recipe uses oil in the place of butter.
It Tastes of Lemon – If you love lemon cake, you’ll love this recipe.

A hand holding a slice of the cake.

No Butter Cake

If you’re looking for a dairy free cake this recipe is for you. This courgette lemon cake is dairy free uses no butter, instead we have opted to use sunflower oil instead. The oil improves the texture of this cake, making it light and fluffy and keeps the crumb moist for longer.


A labelled photograph for the ingredients needed.
  • Courgettes (Zucchini) – These will add moistness, structure and texture to the cake. You may even see little flecks of green spread throughout the cake when it has been baked.
  • Caster Sugar – This is used in the cake batter, caster sugar is finer than granulated and is preferred for the best results.
  • Eggs – Used to help leaven the cake and bind the ingredients.
  • Plain Flour – We use all purpose flour for this cake as we add our leavening agent separately.
  • Baking Powder – This is our leavening (rising) agent, allowing the cake to rise and make it light and fluffy.
  • Sunflower Oil – We use this neutral tasting oil to the cake batter in place of butter. It makes the cake moist and rich.
  • Lemon Extract – The flavour of this extract is more concentrated than fresh lemon juice alone, this adds an intense lemon flavour to the cake, making it taste fresh and summery.
  • Lemon Zest and Juice – The zest is used in the cake batter to add a lemon flavour to the cake. The juice is used for the two glazes which are poured over the top of the cake in a similar fashion to a lemon drizzle cake.
  • Granulated Sugar – Mixed with the lemon juice, this is poured over the cake to be absorbed as it leaves the oven. You can use caster sugar in its place if you need to.
  • Icing (confectioners) Sugar – Used for the second glaze, combined with the lemon juice, it will set and give a crunchy lemon texture to the top of the cake.

How To Make Courgette and Lemon Cake

Check out the recipe card below for the full ingredients list and instructions.

A photo collage depicting steps 1 to 4.
  1. Preheat your oven to 170C.
  2. The first step is to grate the courgette (zucchini). If you want to know how to grate courgette, you firstly need to remove the skin. This will be too tough to soften in the cake batter. I recommend using the fine grater to grate the courgette. This not only makes it easier to remove the liquid, it will also help the courgette to soften during the baking time and spread evenly throughout the cake.
  3. Place the grated courgette in a mesh bag or muslin and squeeze it out over the sink or a bowl to remove the liquid. I’d advise you to spend time on this step and remove as much liquid as possible, this will give you the best results.
  4. Set the grated, drained courgette aside and whisk together the sugar and eggs, allow time for them to become light and fluffy.
  5. Next, add the oil in a slow drizzle as you keep whisking the eggs, until it is all incorporated. Then, add the lemon extract and whisk again to mix it in.
  6. In a separate bowl, sift the baking powder with the flour and begin to add the grated courgette. Using your fingers, cover the courgette in the flour and separate any clumps that form. This takes a little time, so be patient. Don’t leave any large clumps in the mix as this will affect the result of your cake.
  7. Add the lemon zest and mix through the flour.
  8. Now, add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until incorporated to make the cake batter. Stop when the ingredients are all mixed together. Don’t overmix, otherwise this will affect the gluten that is present in the flour and make the cake too dense.
  9. Line a round 9 inch (23cm) tin with greased baking paper and pour in the cake batter. If you wish, you can use a square or rectangle tin, just make sure it is big enough. If you make this into a courgette cake traybake, you might need to adjust your baking times. If the batter is more shallow it will cook a lot quicker.
  10. Place the cake in the oven and allow it to bake for 75 minutes. You may find that this time needs adjusting slightly, so begin checking on your cake at 60 minutes, then again every 10 minutes. Take a sharp knife and stick it in the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean without the presence of wet cake batter, the cake is done. Give it a little longer if there is still wet cake batter stuck to the knife. If you feel that the top of the cake is browning too much, just cover it with foil and place it back in the oven.
  11. Begin to prepare the first glaze while the cake is baking. Mix the sugar and lemon juice together. Make sure the lemons are at room temperature before collecting the lemon juice. Cold lemons don’t release as much juice as room temperature ones do.
  12. Once the cake is ready, remove it from the oven and with a knife or skewer, pierce the cake all over and pour over the glaze. Do this with the cake still in the tin.
  13. Once the liquid from the glaze has been absorbed, take the cake out of the tin and allow it to cool completely.
  14. Prepare the second glaze by mixing the juice and sugar together and pour over the top of the cake. You can decorate the top with a little lemon zest if you wish. Allow the lemon glaze to set before serving.
A photo collage depicting steps 5 to 8.
Two hands pouring the first lemon glaze over the baked cake.


Can you freeze courgette cake?

Yes you can, I recommend wrapping the cake or individual slices tightly and then placing them in an airtight container before freezing for the best results.

How long will courgette lemon cake last?

Store the cake in an airtight container and it will last 3-4 days.

Why is my cake batter lumpy?

This is usually due to the grated courgette not having been spread through the flour properly. Don’t leave clumps of courgette at the stage of mixing in through the flour and this should solve the problem.

Can I use a different tin?

You can, just be sure to adjust your cooking times accordingly. A larger tin will make the cake batter more shallow and therefore, it will cook quicker.

What Does This Cake Taste Like?

If you’re worried that this cake is going to taste like courgettes, then don’t. The lemon flavour in this sponge cake will shine through. The courgette is used as an ingredient as more of a texture enhancer than a flavouring. The cake is light, fluffy and moist and the flavour is super lemony and fresh.

Courgette cake with lemon drizzle tastes the best in summer, when the courgettes are ripe and plentiful. It’s perfect with an afternoon tea out in the sun.

Tips and Guidance

Spend time removing the liquid from the grated courgette – You want to remove as much liquid as possible, otherwise the batter will be too wet which can ruin the outcome of this cake.
Make sure there are no clumps of courgette in the batter – When you mix the grated courgettes through the flour, be sure to break up any clumps of courgette with your fingers and spread it evenly throughout the flour. This will help give you the best result and will avoid pockets of wet courgette in your cake.
Allow enough baking time – We recommend around 75 minutes for cooking time. However, this may vary depending on your oven and your cake ingredients. Check if it’s ready by sticking a sharp knife into the middle of the cake. If it comes out with wet batter on the knife, give it a little longer. The cake will be ready when the knife comes out clean.
Don’t add the second glaze too soon – Be sure that the cake has completely cooled down first. If you add the second glaze too soon it’ll melt. The first glaze goes on the moment the cake has been skewered when it leaves the oven.
You can use any size courgettes – If you want to know what to do with overgrown courgettes, this is a good recipe to try, just make sure you remove the seeds and don’t add them to the cake batter.

A Recipe for Homegrown Courgettes

If you have your own vegetable patch at home, you’ll find that courgette plants are plentiful in produce. This can sometimes mean you have glut of courgettes or if you’ve left them too long, overgrown gigantic courgettes that you are unsure of what to do with.

Luckily, you can use them up in this recipe. However, overgrown courgettes tend to develop large seeds in the middle, so remove these first and use the flesh around them instead.

Many recipes tend to be savoury when it comes to courgettes, like this courgette and basil soup. This is a sweet recipe, perfect for dessert, with tea or taken as part of a picnic.

A slice of cake on a white plate.

More Cake Recipes We Love

overhead view of courgette cake with a slice cut out of it and placed on a plate.

Courgette Cake Recipe With Lemon

Author: Becky
An alternative to carrot cake, this moist courgette cake recipe with lemon is a great way to use up home grown courgettes and it tastes delicious!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Servings 8 Slices
Calories 663 kcal


  • 200 g Courgettes (Zucchini) Drained Weight
  • 375 g Caster Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 350 g Plain Flour
  • 3 tsp Baking Powder
  • 175 ml Sunflower Oil
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Extract
  • 2 Lemons Zest Only

1st Glaze

  • 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar

2nd Glaze

  • 1 Cup Icing Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice


  • Preheat the oven to 170C.
  • Firstly, prepare the courgettes. Peel the skin off and discard.
  • If the courgettes are larger and already have seeds, remove these and discard. Grate the courgette flesh finely.
  • Place the grated courgette into a mesh bag or muslin and squeeze well until you have removed most of the liquid. Set the grated courgette aside.
  • In a bowl whisk the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  • While still whisking gently, slowly add the oil to the mixture, followed by the lemon extract.
  • Whisk again until combined.
  • In a separate bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder and add the grated courgette. Mix it through with your fingers, taking time to separate the courgette and cover it in flour. Don't leave lumps of grated courgette together.
  • Add the lemon zest and mix through.
  • Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix to form the cake batter. Do not overmix.
  • Pour the batter into a round 23cm (9 inch) lined cake tin.
  • Prepare the first glaze by mixing the sugar and lemon juice together in a small bowl.
  • Place in the oven for 60 minutes. Check the cake has cooked through by skewering with a sharp knife. If the knife comes out clean, it's baked. If there is still wet batter on the knife, give it a little longer. You can cover the cake with foil if the top is browning too much.
  • Once baked, remove the cake from the oven and skewer the cake all over with a sharp knife.
  • Pour over the first glaze and allow it to soak into the cake.
  • Remove the cake from the tin and allow to cool completely.
  • Prepare the second glaze by mixing the lemon juice and icing sugar together.
  • Pour over the second glaze and allow it to set before serving.

Watch The Tutorial

Recipe Notes and Guidance

Please see recipe post for detailed tips and guidance. 
  • Spend time removing the liquid from the grated courgette.
  • Make sure there are no clumps of courgette in the batter.
  • Allow enough baking time.
  • Don’t add the second glaze too soon.
  • You can use any size courgettes.

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 663kcalCarbohydrates: 112gProtein: 7gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 187mgPotassium: 186mgFiber: 2gSugar: 76gVitamin A: 146IUVitamin C: 23mgCalcium: 116mgIron: 3mg
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