Coconut, courgette and lime cake -vegan

I’ve been going a bit baking-mad lately! We’re into September, which is one of my favourite times of year. There’s still a glut of fresh summer produce, opportunity for warm, sunny afternoons, and yet there’s a change in the air. Mornings are cooler, and the light just seems to be that little bit more golden -when the clouds aren’t there at least!! With coconut, courgette and lime, this recipe definitely has a summery taste to it, but I’ve found myself thinking of the Swedish art of Fika, a sort of slowed-down, sociable coffee break, that isn’t constrained by seasons. 

Coconut lime and courgette cake -vegan
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Sweet
Serves: 10 slices
For the cake
  • 400g / 2 cups plain or buckwheat flour
  • 100g / 1 cup ground almonds
  • 100g / 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 300g / 1 1.5 cups brown sugar (I used coconut, but cane is also fine)
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarb powder
  • 2 medium courgettes
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed or chia
  • 500ml plant milk
  • 100g coconut butter, softened
  • Zest of 6 limes, plus juice of 1
  • Flaked coconut chips, for topping
For the lime curd
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 2-3 tbsp icing sugar or sweetener of choice
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric (optional)
  • Juice from the remaining 5 limes
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
For the cake
  1. Grease and line two or three 20cm round cake tins. Preheat the oven to 160C fan / 180C conventional or gas mark 4.
  2. Mix together the flour, ground almonds, desiccated coconut, sugar and raising agents in a large bowl. Use a whisk to remove lumps without needing to sieve.
  3. Finely grate the courgettes and squeeze out some of the excess liquid.
  4. Add the flaxseed/chia to the milk and allow to sit for a moment to absorb some of the liquid.
  5. Reserving a little bit of the zest for the curd, add the courgette, milk, lime zest and juice to the dry cake ingredients and stir together.
  6. Tip the mix into the cake tins. It should be thick and sticky, so you might need to tap the tins of the work surface to smooth out the batter.
  7. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until golden in colour and with the edges pulling away from the tin. If you're using three cake tins, the mix may cook faster.
For the curd
  1. Whilst the cake bakes, heat the coconut milk and sugar in a pan, along with the reserved zest and turmeric. This helps to make the curd more green in colour, so is optional.
  2. Mix the cornstarch and lime juice together in a jug to form a paste.
  3. When the coconut milk is just below boiling, tip it into the lime and cornstarch paste, whisking as you do so. Pour back into the pan, turning the heat to low, and stir for another couple of minutes until thickened. Pour into a sterilised jar. This makes more than you need for the cake, so use the leftovers for breakfast!
To assemble
  1. Allow the cake to cool right down after being removed from the oven. From there, spread the lime curd between the layers and on top of the cake. Sprinkle over the coconut chips (and any extra desiccated coconut that you might have) over the cake, ready to serve.
Coconut butter is a great alternative to oil or milk-based butter in baking. It has a sweeter, richer and creamier flavour than oil, and just requires a little warming to soften or melt. You can find it in the World Food section of your supermarket, or in health food stores. If you don't have it to hand, sub in with a neutral or sweet tasting oil or dairy-free spread.

I hope you like this cake as much as I did! To make it even more decadent, you can make a cashew icing (instructions included in this recipe) and add that between the lime curd and cake layers. Thank you to Coconut Merchant for providing many of the ingredients used in this recipe, including their delicious toasted coconut chips!