Courgette & poppyseed loaf from Veggie desserts + cakes by Kate Hackworthy – book review

I probably shouldn’t admit this, but despite being a blogger myself, I’m pretty bad at keeping up with other people’s blogs. Sorry. But there are a few that I really love, and one of those is veggie desserts, which is written by Kate Hackworthy. It’s just BRILLIANT.

In fact, if you know me in real life, you may well have heard me talking about it or recommending it as a source of unusual, innovative, and delicious sounding recipes, accompanied by utterly beautiful pictures.

Naturally then, I was pretty excited when I heard that Kate was working on a recipe book, and I was even more excited when I got my hands on a copy. And it’s terrific! Veggie desserts + cakes contains 60 amazing recipes and gorgeous illustrations. I was drooling…

veggie desserts + cakes by Kate Hackworthy

What makes Kate’s blog, and her fantastic recipe book, stand out, is that she manages to include vegetables into just about everything – cakes, cookies, desserts, drinks, ice-creams and other sweet treats. The book is subtitled ‘carrot cake and beyond’ and the recipes include everything from kale and spinach to swede, parsnip, avocado and butternut squash. Of course carrots also make an appearance… carrot meringue pie anyone?!

One thing that the recipes definitely are not though, is gimmicky ‘hidden veg’ recipes designed to trick kids into eating their 5-a-day. In Kate’s expert hands cauliflower becomes the star of a pistachio dusted ice-lolly, lemon bars turn a vibrant green with spinach, peas & mint become a cupcake instead of a soup, and beetroots, carrots, peas and sweetcorn colour a natural rainbow cake that looks utterly scrumptious. 

While the veggies may make these cakes slightly more virtuous than their traditional veg-free counterparts, these are certainly proper cakes – sweet, topped with icing, and just begging for a cup of tea alongside and maybe a second slice after all!

It took some effort to decide what to make first, but since my garden is currently producing courgettes faster than we can eat them, I decided to try the Courgette and Poppy Seed Loaf with Lavender Glaze. I made a couple of slight tweaks, as I used margarine instead of butter, to keep the cake parve, and I halved the amount of icing to try and limit Kipper’s sugar intake a bit (a futile task, really). I thought there was still plenty of icing!

Courgette & poppyseed loaf cake - A gorgeously moist and delicious courgette (zucchini) cake recipe from Kate Hackworthy's book Veggie Desserts + Cakes - plus a book review!

The cake was absolutely wonderful – very moist, light, lemony and delicious. The icing is zingy with lemon and has just a hint of summery floral flavour from the lavender. The poppy seeds add an exciting crunch, and the green flecks of courgette throughout the cake look beautiful.

And on the subject of looks, I don’t think I’ve ever made a cake that has come out looking so exactly like the picture in the book! So I’m confident that the other recipes will also work as advertised. I just need to decide which one to bake next…!

Courgette & poppyseed loaf cake - A gorgeously moist and delicious courgette (zucchini) cake recipe from Kate Hackworthy's book Veggie Desserts + Cakes - plus a book review!

Veggie Desserts + Cakes: Carrot Cake and Beyond by Kate Hackworthy is published by Pavillion Books and is available from Amazon and all good bookshops, RRP £14.99. I was sent a complimentary copy of the book to review, but all opinions are my own.

Courgette & poppyseed loaf cake - A gorgeously moist and delicious courgette (zucchini) cake recipe from Kate Hackworthy's book Veggie Desserts + Cakes - plus a book review!

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5 from 5 votes

Courgette and Poppy Seed Loaf with Lavender Glaze

Recipe reproduced with permission from Veggie Desserts + Cakes: Carrot Cake and Beyond by Kate Hackworthy, published by Pavilion Books.
Course Cake
Servings 8


For the cake

  • 200 g courgettes (zucchini) (7 oz)
  • 125 g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing (4½oz/½ cup)
  • 125 g caster (superfine) sugar (4½oz/⅔ cup)
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 175 g self-raising flour (6oz/heaped 1 1⁄3 cups)
  • tbsp poppy seeds

For the lavender glaze

  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • tsp culinary lavender
  • 125 g icing (confectioners’) sugar (4½oz/1 cup)

To decorate (optional)

  • 1 tsp culinary lavender
  • twists of lemon


To make the cake

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas 4. Lightly grease and line a 1kg/2lb 4oz (20 x 10cm/8 x 4in) loaf pan.
  • Leave the skin on the courgette and grate it coarsely. In a clean tea towel, squeeze the moisture from the courgette and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beating each one in well. Beat in the courgette, lemon juice and zest.
  • Sift in the flour and add the poppy seeds. Mix gently to combine.
  • Pour into the prepared pan, level to the edges and bake in the oven for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the lavender glaze

  • Gently heat the lemon juice in a small saucepan. Remove it from the heat, add the lavender and allow to infuse for 10 minutes. Over a bowl, strain the lavender out of the lemon juice. Beat the cooled infused lemon juice with the icing sugar until smooth. Drizzle over the completely cooled cake and decorate with lavender and lemon.

You can read what other bloggers thought of the book (and see some more of the recipes) here:
Kale and apple cake and the Veggie Desserts cookbook by Tin and Thyme
Pumpkin cupcakes with avocado icing {Veggie Cakes + Desserts by Kate Hackworthy} by United Cakedom
Carrot Gingerbread from Veggie Desserts + Cakes by Kate Hackworthy by Ren Behan
Avocado lime tarts + cookbook giveaway by The Veg Space
Carrot Gingerbread – Veggie Desserts by Farmersgirl Kitchen
Beetroot and vanilla sorbet by Natural Kitchen Adventures
Cavolo Nero and Orange Cupcakes from Veggie Desserts by The Hedgecombers
Chocolate cauliflower ice lollies {vegan and veggie desserts + cakes cookbook review} by Recipes From a Pantry


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  2. Pingback:Kavey Eats » Kate Hackworthy’s Veggie Desserts + Cakes | Review, Recipes + Giveaway

  3. Ooh that cake looks so pretty. Love lemon and poppy seed cake and courgettes seem like a perfect addition. I used less icing sugar in my cake too in a futile attempt to curb my sugar intake!

  4. Pingback:Cavolo Nero and Orange Cupcakes from Veggie Desserts - The Hedge Combers

  5. Oooh, that looks so good! Need to take another flip through the book and find my next recipe to conquer!

  6. 5 stars
    What a stunning recreation of Kate’s recipe – and it DOES look very like the book’s picture! I adore Kate’s book so much and have tried two recipes – Avocado Chocolate Cupcakes with Cherry Icing *and* Sweet Potato and Salted Hazelnut Cookies. In fact, I’ve made three different sorts of tweaky batches of the latter! I just know that anyone who buys this book will get a lot of use – and joy – from it.

    • Thanks Kellie 🙂
      The cookies sound amazing, although I’m still getting my head round the idea of avocado in a cake. I have no problem with almost any other veg but for some reason avocado is a step too far!! I need to get over it!

  7. I love using poppy seeds in bakes. We have loads of courgettes so this might be my next recipe from the book to bake!

  8. 5 stars
    Ah, this is the 2nd courgette and poppy seed loaf I’ve seen from Kate’s fab book. Looks lush!

  9. 5 stars
    Your loaf looks so good, it’s a really great book and I love the sound of this recipe.

  10. Pingback:Carrot Gingerbread - Veggie Desserts - Farmersgirl Kitchen

  11. 5 stars
    Oh it looks wonderful – really exactly like the book. I’m so pleased that you like it! Thank you so much for such a lovely review and such kind comments. I feel quite emotional!

    • Thanks Kate! Your book is wonderful and it’s easy to see how much hard work went into it – and it’s paid off. Well done! Thanks for such a terrific addition to the cook book shelf 😀

  12. 5 stars
    This looks wonderful, i love the light crunch of the poppy seeds – i forget to use them often. Another recipe to add to the to make this from this book!

    • Thanks Ceri – it is wonderful! I rarely cook with poppyseeds either, I just have them in to decorate loaves of bread! This is a lovely way to use them and I’ll definitely make it again.

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