I am a lifelong loather of the courgette (too slimy) but I bloomin’ love this light, moist , nutty chocolate cake. It’s made with olive oil rather than my usual butter as well, so much lower in saturated fat if you care about that sort if thing. Of course you could omit the nuts if you like. I think they help disguise the courgette- with them, you’d never guess this cake’s veggie little secret.
This cake is delicious smothered in ganache as below, or in this chocolate frosting. I had some left over from the cupcakes, so frugal and delicious.


Pointillist Siamese cat optional

    • 175ml olive oil (any kind is fine)
    • 325g golden caster sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 2tsp vanilla extract
    • 500ml grated courgette**
    • 350g self-raising flour
    • 50g cocoa powder
    • 1tsp mixed spice
    • 140g hazelnuts, chopped

For the ganache

  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 100ml double cream

**Measure by volume. This is 2 small-medium courgettes (about 350g by weight). I give the grated courgette a gentle squeeze, then pack it lightly into the measuring jug. The recipe is quite forgiving +/- about 100 ml but be careful if you use extra courgette- the cake will take much longer to bake.

Makes 1 (very large) 20cm cake or about 20 cupcakes


  1. Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan). Lightly grease a 20cm cake tin (I always use springform)
  2. Toast hazelnuts in the oven as it heats for around 10 mins, until they start to smell nutty and take on a golden colour. Watch them carefully from 10 mins as they can burn easily.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla essence and grated courgette.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Add the hazelnuts, chopped. You will end up with a thick batter that will dome up well.
  6. Bake for 60-80mins, until the cake passes the knife test.


Leave to cool completely on a wire rack. Don’t worry if the top looks a bit funky, it’ll be covered. Meanwhile, make your frosting or ganache.


For the ganache, scald the cream in a small saucepan, remove from the heat, fold in your finely chopped chocolate and stir until smooth, glossy and irresistible.

Here is the cake with frosting, but without cat chasing mice motif.

No cracks in sight.
This recipe also works really well as a cupcake.


Yes, I know Christmas was a month ago. Don’t judge me.