Courgette, Pistachio and Lemon Syrup Cake

This is a Thomasina Miers recipe and as she says, it is indeed sticky, squidgy and both decadent and virtuous!

However, I felt that 175g caster sugar for the drizzle was way too much, so I only used half that –I even think that 250g of sugar in the cake is on the sweet side, so next time I’ll use only 200g.

I only had 50g pistachios, so I subsituted the rest with walnuts. Lastly, when preparing the drizzle next time, I will dissolve the sugar in the lemon juice first and then gently heat them together _ otherwise the sugar melts, but it also rapidly caramelises!


100g pistachios
170g olive oil, plus extra to grease
250g golden caster sugar
2 eggs
200g white self-raising flour, sifted
200g courgettes, coarsely grated
Zest of 2 lemons

For the drizzle
175g caster sugar
100ml freshly squeezed lemon juice – about 3 lemons
Zest of one lemon


Heat the oven to 180˚C. Grease and line a 450g loaf tin.

Put the pistachios on a baking tray and roast for seven to eight minutes until they are beginning to turn golden, then remove and leave to cool. Once cool, empty into a food processor and blitz until they are the texture of breadcrumbs. Set aside 30g for garnishing the cake later.

Put the oil and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until thick and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time with the machine running moderately slowly, then carefully fold in 70g of the pistachios, the flour, a pinch of salt, the courgettes and the lemon zest. Do not overmix, or the cake will become heavy.

Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 65-75 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, make the drizzle. Warm the sugar in a pan over a medium heat until dissolved, then add the lemon juice and stir. As soon as you have removed the cake from the oven, prick it all over with a cocktail stick and pour over the warm syrup so it runs into the holes. Scatter over the reserved pistachios, followed by the lemon zest. Leave to cool, then remove from the tin and serve in thick slices with dollops of creme fraiche, softly whipped double cream or a dairy-free substitute.


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