Courgette Cake With Lime And Pistachios


This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

Don’t consider yourself a baker? Impress your friends and family with this unique and delicious courgette cake. The zingy lime and salty, crunchy pistachios combined with the subtle flavour and texture of the courgette are a match made in heaven. The simple cream cheese icing makes it a little like carrot cake – but with a twist!

A slice of pistachio, lime and zucchini loaf on a pretty pink plate on a white wood background with more cake and ingredients in the background.

When I bake, I like to go for super easy, crowd pleasing and fool proof, and loaf cakes generally fit into this category.

Other favourites are this Nutella swirl loaf cake with hazelnuts, this 6-ingredient ricotta lemon loaf cake and a really yummy healthy one – this easy pumpkin and pear loaf cake.

This courgette / zucchini cake is really easy too, but just a little bit different. I think it’s quite a summery cake, perfect for summer BBQs, picnics and more.

What you’re going to love about it

  • It’s very easy to make (no creaming of butter and sugar), but has a touch of class. The cream cheese icing elevates it from good to excellent. It’s pretty too with the pistachios and lime scattered on top.
  • It’s a crowd pleaser with it’s carrot cake-like texture and icing, lime-y zing and crunchy, salty nuts.
  • The cake doesn’t taste of ‘vegetable’, but what a bonus that there are ‘hidden vegetables’ in there! It’s a perfect excuse to have more than one slice.

About the ingredients

Other than the usual suspect cake ingredients – eggs, sugar, oil, flour, baking powder and soda – this is all you need:

  • Greek yoghurt: for some added protein and moisture. Any brand is fine. In a pinch even plain vanilla yoghurt will work.
  • 2 limes: One for the cake, another for the icing. You’ll also use the zest for both the inside of the cake and the top for extra flavour.
  • Grated courgette/zucchini: You’ll need a medium to large sized courgette that weighs around 250 grams or 9 ounces. Don’t worry about getting this absolutely perfect – a little more or less will be fine.
  • Pistachio nuts: To make life easy I’d go for ready shelled! This cake would also work well with chopped hazelnuts, macadamias or brazils, don’t you think?

For the cream cheese icing (don’t skip this part!):

  • Cream cheese: Nothing fancy. A supermarket’s own brand would be fine. You’ll need around 125 grams or 4.5 ounces which I find is usually half a small tub.
  • Butter: Not too much. Just a tablespoon. To be honest you could even skip this if you like.
  • Icing sugar: Around 2 cups.
  • That second lime (the zest and most of the juice!)

Pro tip: Buy shelled pistachios. I know they’re expensive but just buy as many as you need from a ‘Scoop and Weigh’ or similar. Unshelled pistachios can take a while to get out of the shells!

How to make it

There are just 4 simple steps:

Step 1: Whisk all of the ‘wet’ ingredients together, including the lime zest and juice. I use oil instead of butter, so there’s no creaming of butter an d sugar (big win).

Step 2: Squeeze any excess water out of the courgette / zucchini. I do this by pressing it between 2 folded sheets of kitchen paper. Then fold in the grated courgette / zucchini, flour and pistachios.

Step 3: Pour into a loaf tin and bake! While it’s baking, make the topping.

Step 4: Let cool completely. Then top with the yummy cream cheese and lime icing. Sprinkle more pistachios and lime zest over the top for added pizzazz!

A closup of a sliced pistachio, lime and zucchini cake on a wooden board with a wooden handled knife.

Got lots of zucchini to use up? Try these light and crispy zucchini fries as well!

How to serve it

I think that this loaf cake is delicious enough served exactly as it is. You’ll need some little cake forks to scoop up all the yummy icing.

If you want to go all out, top with a little vanilla or pistachio ice cream. But I’ll leave that up to you!

This is a lovely cake for a morning or afternoon tea, for Mother’s day, a summer picnic or BBQ, or any kind of get-together really.

Courgettes/Zucchinis are plentiful and good value particularly in the summer months, but as long as you can get hold of a medium sized zucchini you can make this any time of year.

More things to know (recipe FAQs)

Do I have to squeeze water out of the courgette/zucchini?

I’ve made this many times without doing that. However, some courgettes can be a little more watery so to be on the safe side just blot between two pieces of kitchen paper to remove any excess water.

This is meant to be a moist cake, but you don’t want it to be soggy.

Can I use gluten free flour?

Absolutely! I’d try to use a flour that contains xanthan gum or guar gum though to compensate for the lack of gluten.

Can I freeze it?

Yes, you can! This cake will keep well in the freezer for around a month.

Make sure you let it cool completely, then wrap it tightly in clingfilm/clingwrap and aluminium foil before freezer. I usually pop the wrapped cake into a large labelled freezer bag too. I always think I’ll remember what it is inside a package I’ve frozen but I often don’t!

Freeze the cake un-iced, then make the icing fresh when you’re ready to eat the cake. You can even freeze it in single slices if you prefer.

More cakes to impress with

Here are some of my other go-to cakes:

Or have a browse of all my cakes here.



Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
A courgette loaf with pistachios on it on a wooden board and with a pretty tea cup in the background.
5 from 17 votes

Courgette Cake With Lime And Pistachios

The flavours in this yummy courgette cake are a match made in heaven. The subtle flavour and goodness of moist courgette/zucchini goes beautifully with the tangy lime and crunchy, slightly salty pistachios. This is a really easy but impressive loaf cake that's perfect for summer BBQs, picnics, afternoon teas and more.
Prep: 12 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 12 minutes
Servings: 8



For the loaf

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup oil, (I used rapeseed)
  • cup Greek yoghurt, (6 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 1 courgette, medium to large, grated (US = zucchini) This is about 250 grams or 9 ounces
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ounces pistachio nuts

For the lime-cream cheese icing

  • 4.5 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups confectioners’/icing sugar
  • 1 lime, zest and 2 teaspoons juice


  • Line a loaf tin with baking paper and pre-heat the oven to 170C/340F. Blot the courgette/zucchini between sheets of kitchen paper to remove any excess moisture.
  • Whisk together the eggs, sugar, oil, yoghurt, vanilla essence, lime zest and juice in a large bowl.
  • Stir in the zucchini and then fold in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and most of the pistachios (save a couple of tablespoons).
  • Pour the mixture into the loaf tin, then bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the loaf is risen and golden and a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean. Then cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Meanwhile, make the icing. Beat together the cream cheese and butter, then add most of the lime zest and the juice. Finally, stir in the icing sugar. Keep adding more icing sugar until the icing seems thick enough to sit on top of the cake without sliding off.
  • When the cake is completely cool, spread the icing over the top. Decorate with the remaining pistachios and lime zest.


Credit: Loaf originally adapted from this recipe from cookwithm&s.
How to make it gluten free: Feel free to use gluten free flour instead. Make sure it contains some xanthan or guar gum so that the cake keeps its yummy texture. 
How to remove excess water from the grated courgette/zucchini: What I usually do is grate it, then empty it onto sheets of kitchen paper. Blot it with more kitchen paper until most of the water has been blotted out. 
How to freeze: You can freeze this cake either whole or in individual slices for around a month. Freeze it un-iced, however, then make the icing when you’re ready to serve it. Just let the cake cool completely, then wrap tightly in clingfilm/clingwrap and aluminium foil. 


Calories: 609kcal, Carbohydrates: 79g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 103mg, Sodium: 112mg, Potassium: 438mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 59g, Vitamin A: 500IU, Vitamin C: 11.3mg, Calcium: 134mg, Iron: 1.6mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Helen Schofield

Don't expect to find anything fussy or complicated here. Just QUICK, EASY & (mostly!) HEALTHY recipes from the Mediterranean and beyond. ENJOY!

You May Also Like:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Hi! I loved the flavours of it. However, There’s definitely something off about the oil or moisture in this cake. I squeezed the life out of the zucchini and I used 2 cups of flour. I will give it another shot with 1/4 c of oil instead of 1/2 c. And I will also need to take down some of the g of sugar. Any suggestions?
    Thanks for the lovely flavour combination.
    Best wishes,

    1. Hi Renate! I’m so glad you liked the flavours. This is one of my older recipes. Lately I err on the side of less sugar so I definitely think you could reduce it in this recipe – by at least a quarter or a third. I don’t think it will impact the overall result. As for the moisture, I’ll take another look at the recipe. Zucchini are in season here in Australia soon! Thanks for taking the time to leave your feedback – I really appreciate it! 🙂

    1. Hmmm, that does sound like a long time! Did you squeeze some of the moisture out of the zucchini? Could just be down to this!

  2. I’ve used this recipe and omg the taste! Love how lemony it tastes with a good hint of pistachios. However, while it was in the oven it looked nice and big but once taken out -collapsed. It also came out quite wet I wonder if I didn’t measure flour and courgette ratio. Regardless will be trying again.

    1. Glad you liked it, Vida! Did you squeeze the water out of the zucchini by any chance?

      1. Are we meant to squeeze the water out of the courgette first? Surely this would be in the instructions if it’s meant to be a step? Mine has come out wet and collapsed too. I didn’t squeeze the courgettes out either because the recipe doesn’t call for it.

      2. Hello Laura! Sorry to hear this happened with your cake. I’ve never had this problem without squeezing any water out of the courgette but I’ll add a note to the recipe. It could be an issue is the courgette is on the wetter side or if it’s a larger one. I hope you’ll give it another chance as this generally gets great reviews! Thanks for the feedback – I appreciate it 🙂