Courgette, lemon & lime traybake with cream cheese frosting

This traybake is incredibly easy to make and tastes delicious. Better still my children love it and have zero idea that they’re actually eating vegetables!! It’s based on the recipe from page 18 of Nigella Lawson’s ‘How to be a domestic goddess’, with a few tweaks here and there which I think make life easier.

Prepare: 15 minutes
Cook: 25-30 minutes
Serves: 12-18

1 large courgette (300-350g), washed and dried
2 large eggs
125ml vegetable oil
150g caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 small lemon
Finely grated zest 1/2 lime
225g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder

For the cream cheese frosting:
100g icing sugar
200g cream cheese
Juice of 1/2 lime, plus some zest to serve (optional)
Juice of 1/2 small lemon

1. Preheat the oven to 180C, gas mark 4 and line a 20x30cm rectangular tin. Coarsely grate the courgette and put in a sieve over the sink to drain a little.

2. Put the eggs, oil and sugar in a bowl and beat well until all the sugar has dissolved and you have a creamy batter. Add the lemon and lime zests.

3. Sieve the flour, bicarb and baking powder into the bowl and mix well to combine, then stir in the courgette. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and springy to the touch. Leave in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack and leaving to cool completely.

4. To make the frosting, sieve the icing sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the cream cheese and citrus juices. Whisk thoroughly until smooth and thickened. Spread onto the cake. I like to put the cake into the fridge for at least 1-2 hours at this point but you can eat it immediately.

Cook’s tip: the cake keeps really well in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. I actually think it’s better about 24-48 hours it’s baked.

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Sesame & banana traybake

There’s no added sugar in this easy cake recipe – just honey – and no eggs either. It’s quick to make and if you don’t like sesame seeds, just leave them out.

Prepare: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Makes: 16 squares

30g unsalted butter
3 tbsp clear honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
150g plain flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp mixed spice
Large pinch sea salt flakes
2 large, very ripe bananas
Sesame seeds, to sprinkle

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C, gas mark 5 and line a 20x20cm square tin with baking parchment.
  2. Warm the butter, honey and vanilla extract in a small pan over a low heat until melted. Then set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Meanwhile, put the flour, baking powder, bicarb, mixed spice and salt into a large bowl. Mash the bananas and mix with the butter mixture. Don’t over mix – it should be lumpy, but all the flour should be incorporated.
  4. Pour into the prepared tin, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and bake for 20 minutes until springy to touch. Leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before cutting into squares.

Top tip: you could also spoon the mixture into 12 muffin cases – they might take 20-25 minutes to cook though. Try swapping the sesame seeds for roughly chopped walnuts, or a blend of pumpkin, sunflower and linseeds.

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Tahini, banana & honey flapjack

Tahini, banana and honey flapjack - a fruity flapjack, delicious with a cup of coffee or tea

If you’re trying to sneak some extra fruit in to your diet (or that of your children) without feeling too hard done by, then this recipe is for you.

An extremely easy and quick bake that will satisfy sweet cravings, without any added sugar – just honey. It’s gluten free too!

Meanwhile, banana and apple increase your fruit quota whilst helping to bring the mixture together, so you don’t need so much butter or sugar.

It’s a great recipe for using up ingredients too. I used over-ripe bananas and apples that were on their way out. I can’t bear to let anything go to waste, so this couldn’t be better.

You can also mix things up a bit depending on the dried fruit and seeds you have in the cupboard. Dried apricots, cherries, cranberries, raisins or mixed dried fruit would all work well.

As for the seeds, I used a blend of pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and linseed, but use whatever you have. Poppy seeds are always a good addition to bakes and some chia would taste good too.

You could also try adding a little finely grated orange or lemon zest to the mixture before baking.

Or for something a little more indulgent, try drizzling the cooled flapjack with some melted chocolate – white, dark or milk are all really tasty additions (but might blow all those low sugar and fat intentions out of the water!).

Tahini, banana & honey flapjack - a fruit-filled flapjack with dried fruit and mixed seeds
Tahini, banana & honey flapjack – a fruit-filled flapjack with dried fruit and mixed seeds

Tahini, banana & honey flapjack

Prepare: 10 minutes
Cook: 60 minutes
Makes: 16

50g butter, plus extra for greasing
2 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp honey
2 bananas
2 small eating apples
250g porridge oats
100g prunes
75g currants
75g mixed seeds (eg. pumpkin, sunflower, sesame & linseeds)

  1. Preheat the oven to 160˚C, gas mark 3 and grease a 20cm square tin. Melt the butter, tahini and honey in a small pan over a low heat. Stir to combine.
  2. Meanwhile mash the banana and coarsely grate the unpeeled apple into a bowl (no need to remove the core before-hand, just grate around it, then throw it away). Mix these into the melted butter mixture together with 100ml hot water.
  3. Put the oats into a large bowl. Snip in the prunes using some scissors, to make pieces about the size of a plump raisin. Add the currants and seeds. Mix in the banana mixture until everything is well coated.
  4. Tip into the prepared tin and spread out to level the surface. Bake for 55 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool in the tin for at least 2 hours, before turning out and cutting into squares.

Tip: I found using a serrated bread knife the neatest way to cut this flapjack.

Tahini, banana & honey flapjack - delicious with coffee or a cup of tea
Tahini, banana & honey flapjack – delicious with coffee or a cup of tea
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