A couple of years ago, I saved a recipe for a kale and apple cake. I mean…kale in a cake!? I figured I had to try it.
…I’ve still never tried it. But turns out that kale cake was a gateway to an awesome baking blog. Veggie Desserts is full of creative recipes, from parsnip cakes to cauliflower popsicles. I got hooked on the blog, and dreamt of the day I’d surprise my friends with vegetables in a cake.
And finally, that day arrived! I made four types of cake for my birthday this year, and simply had to include a veggie cake in the mix. As I pored over all the recipes I’d saved from Veggie Desserts, this Lemon Cucumber Cake caught my eye. It sounded intriguing, refreshing and delicious. It also sounded like it’d go well with cocktails—an important consideration when you’re hosting your birthday at a bar.
Making this cake was so much fun. I couldn’t predict quite what it’d taste like, but figured cucumbers are somewhat sweet, and would complement lemon. The cake turned out great, with a really nice texture and a sunny, tangy flavor. There’s a little bite from the lemon, complemented by cucumber puree.
My friends really loved this cake! No one could quite place the flavor, but lots of people said the cake reminded them of a summery cocktail. I also learned that people were very open to the idea of a cucumber cake. That’s not always with the case with my more experimental recipes…and sometimes I just don’t tell people what’s in something before they take a bite 🙂
I only made one layer cake, then got some cupcakes out of the extra batter. The original recipes calls for gin in the frosting, but I omitted it and still thought the lemon frosting came out great.
Lemon Cucumber Cake with Lemon Frosting
Original recipe: Veggie Desserts. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary.
Yield: One 9-inch cake, two 7-inch cakes or three 6-inch cakes
Suggested equipment: Mixer
Total Time: 75 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
For the cake
Half a cucumber, keep the peel on (about 200g)
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2/3 cup butter, softened (150g if you can weigh it)
- Zest of half a lemon
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
For the frosting
Note that this recipe assumes you’re making a “naked cake” with just the tops frosted. If you want to frost the sides, double the frosting.
- 1/3 cup butter, softened (75g or about 6 tbsp butter)
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice OR gin
Make your cake
- Preheat your oven to 325F
- Wash your cucumber, then cut it in half lengthways. Scrape out the seeds inside the cucumber. Then cut the cucumber into chunks, and puree until smooth
- Stir your lemon juice into the cucumber puree, and set that bowl aside
- Use your mixer to cream the butter, lemon zest, sugar and vanilla for a few minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy
- Add your eggs one at a time, beating in between
- In a separate mixing bowl, mix the flour and baking powder together
- Stir 1/3 of your flour mixture into the butter mixture. Then, add in 1/3 of the cucumber puree. Repeat this process until all of your ingredients are combined (puree, wet ingredients, dry ingredients)
- Pour your batter into a lightly greased cake tin
- Bake 25-30 minutes, depending on the size of your cake tin. Mine took 28 minutes for a 9-inch tin.
- Let the cake cool completely before frosting
- Beat the butter, powdered sugar and lemon juice/gin together until it’s smooth and fluffy
- Frost away! Store any extra icing in the fridge until you’re ready to use it