Wading in the surf, lounging in the sand and reading three pages of your novel between sunscreen applications—a lazy day at the beach can work up quite the appetite. That’s why we’re hitting the shore this summer armed with a cooler full of flavourful, no-fuss, picnic- perfect bites. (And if you get a little sand in that watermelon salad? That’s just the sign of a life well lived.)

Zucchini is a summertime garden staple. In this easy, hard-to-resist snack cake, the addition of zucchini makes for a moist and tender crumb. For the chocolate lovers, try adding a handful or two of chocolate chips to the batter and forgoing the icing and lemon curd.

Zucchini, Lemon and Pistachio Cake

15 servings

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 35 minutes

1¼ cups shelled, unsalted pistachios,
plus extra for garnish

1½ cups light brown sugar

¾ cup + 2 tbsp unsalted butter,
at room temperature, cut into chunks

2 cups all-purpose flour

1¼ tsp baking powder

1¼ tsp baking soda

½ tsp fine sea salt

3 large eggs

½ cup plain yogurt

1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest, divided

½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided

1 cup packed coarsely grated zucchini
(about 1 medium zucchini)

2 cups icing sugar

¾ cup homemade or store bought lemon
curd (optional)

How to Make:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Place pistachios and light brown sugar in a food processor and combine until the nuts are sandy in texture. Add butter, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, eggs, yogurt, 2 tsp lemon zest and 5 tbsp lemon juice. Combine until batter is smooth.

Stir in grated zucchini with a rubber spatula before tipping batter into prepared pan. Smooth into an even layer and bake until cake is golden brown on top and a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean (about 30 to 35 minutes). Let cake cool in baking pan on a wire rack to room temperature. At this point, cake may be stored uniced in an airtight container, refrigerated or at room temperature, for up to 3 days.

While cake is cooling, sift icing sugar into a bowl. Add remaining 1 tsp lemon zest and gradually whisk in enough of the remaining 3 tbsp lemon juice, one tablespoon at a time, to make a thick yet drizzle-able icing. Spoon over cooled cake in thick lines and sprinkle with a scattering of roughly chopped pistachios. Let icing set for 20 minutes at room temperature before cutting and placing in an airtight container for transportation.

When ready to serve, cut cake into squares and, if desired, drizzle or dollop with some lemon curd.

Recipes and Food Styling: Lawren Moneta

Photos: Seth Stevenson

Prop Styling: Ryan Louis

This story was originally published in the July/August 2023 print issue of Western Livingfind the digital issue here.