This pretty summer cake has to be the most satisfying way to deal with a glut of courgettes
300g caster sugar
350ml vegetable oil
11⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
100g pistachio nuts, chopped
80g ground almonds
650g grated courgettes
300g self-raising flour
100g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
11⁄2 tsp mixed spice
for the candied lemon zest
100g caster sugar
for the zesty lemon icing
125g unsalted butter
250g icing sugar, plus extra to dust 1 tsp vanilla extract
40ml whipping cream
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 Preheat the oven to 170C/Fan 150C/ 325F. Grease a 23cm cake tin and line the base with baking paper.
2 In a mixing bowl, beat the sugar, eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla extract until thick, using an electric mixer. Fold in the pistachios, ground almonds and grated courgettes. Sift in the flours, bicarbonate of soda and mixed spice, then stir until well combined.
3 Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
4 To make the candied lemon zest, use a zester to peel the lemon zest into long, thin strands. Transfer to a small saucepan, add the sugar and 300ml water and bring
to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the lemon zest is translucent. Remove the zest using tongs or a slotted spoon, then spread out on a tray lined with baking paper and leave to dry for 10-15 minutes.
5 Make the zesty lemon icing by whisking the butter with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and vanilla and whisk again for 3 minutes. Pour in the cream and whisk for a further 2 minutes, or until the icing is light and creamy. Mix in the lemon zest and juice and, using a spatula, spread the icing over the cake. Garnish with little nests of candied lemon zest, dust with icing sugar, then slice and serve.
Recipe from In the Kitchen by Simmone Logue (Murdoch Books)