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Spinach Cake with Lemon – My Super Simple Version of Le Gâteau Vert

Spinach Cake with Lemon aka Green Cake aka Le Gâteau Vert

My spinach cake with lemon is a super simple version of le gâteau vert or green cake and it tastes delicious too. I was inspired after seeing this week’s episode of Great British Bake Off. I’ve made it with wholemeal spelt, but you can use whatever flour you prefer. The batter is made with spinach puree and the icing is coloured with spinach too. I’ve filled it with lemon ricotta and topped it with pistachios.

Turkish Spinach Cake

Spinach cake (ispanakli kek) seems to be a bit of a thing in Turkey. I remember years ago buying a slice at a farmer’s market back home in Cornwall and being intrigued. You can see the picture I took of it just below. That was back in the day when I never thought to put greens in my cake. Now of course it’s a bit trendy and likely to become more so since le gâteau vert featured on this week’s episode of Great British Bake Off.

Turkish Spinach Cake

Turkish Spinach Cake or Ispanakli Kek

Great British Bake Off

Yes, just in case you’ve missed it. Great British Bake Off is back. This Tuesday saw the second episode and the theme was cake. There were stunners, there were disasters and of course there were tears. I can’t bring myself not to watch it, but I’m not a fan since it moved from the BBC to Channel 4 and the new ‘Mel and Sue’ just don’t work for me. Apart from anything else, the adverts break any dramatic tension and are just plain annoying. Anyway, Prue Leith set the technical challenge this week and to the shock of many it was for her version of Le Gateau Vert.

 Spinach Cake with Lemon Ricotta Filling aka Le Gâteau Vert or Green Cake

Monet’s Green Cake

The famous impressionist painter, Claude Monet, who died in 1926, liked his food. His garden at Giverny was not just about water lilies it seems; he also grew lots of organic produce, kept chickens and employed a cook. He also possessed a substantial collection of recipes that became known as his cooking journals. In 1990, the wife of his great grandson published a selection of them: Monet’s Table: the cooking journals of Claude Monet by Claire Joyes*. Le gâteau vert-vert is one of the recipes in that book. It’s a green cake made with pistachio nuts and kirsch and has bright green icing which uses spinach as the colouring agent.

Spinach Cake with Lemon Ricotta Filling aka Le Gâteau Vert or Green Cake

Spinach Cake with Lemon

My spinach cake with lemon is totally different to either Monet’s cake or le gâteau vert made on Bake Off. It’s not only simpler to make, but it’s a lot cheaper too. Pistachio nuts are so expensive, you’d need to have a very special occasion to justify the quantity used in either of these versions. I opted for just a scattering over the top.

The spinach is briefly cooked then blitzed to make a purée. I used my super duper Optimum Vac2 Air Vacuum Blender* to do that bit. As regular readers will know, I try to use less sugar than the norm in my cakes which not only means they’re not quite as bad for you as they could be, but they’re usually a lot tastier. I find too much sugar can often overwhelm flavours. I only used a relatively small amount of fat in the cake too, but because of the spinach, it still had a lovely soft texture. Ricotta is a naturally low fat cheese, though I did add a little cream to it. But all in all, with the reduced amount of sugar and fat along with the the wholemeal spelt and addition of spinach, it’s pretty good as cakes go.

Spinach Cake with Lemon Ricotta Filling aka Le Gâteau Vert or Green Cake

I don’t want to make you green with envy, but I’m really pleased with my spinach cake. It’s a substantial but not heavy sponge and it tastes fantastic. There’s a hint of lemon and a certain something interesting that’s hard to identify. CT told me that it reminds him of matcha cake. I don’t think anyone would actually taste the spinach though.

It’s by no means a sweet cake, but it’s a very satisfying one and the icing punctuates the underlying umami notes very effectively. The creamy ricotta and lemon filling complements the other components and the pistachios turn it into something a bit more luxurious. It was hard to stop CT from devouring the lot on day one, but luckily there was plenty left and we found it to be just as good on day two. I suspect it will still be in good shape on day three, tomorrow.

Spinach Cake with Lemon – The Recipe

5 from 3 votes
Spinach Cake with Lemon aka Green Cake aka Le Gâteau Vert
Spinach Cake with Lemon
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins
 
A super simple version of le gateau vert or green cake. The cake is made with spinach and sandwiched together with lemon ricotta, then topped with spinach icing and pistachio nuts.
Course: Afternoon Tea
Cuisine: French, Turkish
Keywords: cake, green, lemon, ricotta, spinach
Servings: 8 large slices
Calories: 498 kcal
Author: Choclette @ Tin and Thyme
Ingredients
Spinach Cake
  • 150 g spinach - trimmed if necessary
  • 200 g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 125 ml rapeseed oil I used cold-pressed
  • 1 lemon - zested & juiced for the filling & icing
  • 260 g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 125 g kefir, buttermilk or sour milk
Lemon Ricotta Filling
  • 250 g ricotta cheese
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • 25 g icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
Lemon Spinach Icing
  • 50 g icing sugar
  • 1-2 tsp spinach juice
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 25 g pistachio nuts - roughly chopped
Instructions
Spinach Cake
  1. Wash the spinach, give a brief shake and place in a pan. A little water clinging to the leaves is needed so the spinach doesn't burn. Cook over a medium heat for 3-5 minutes until wilted.
  2. Blitz in a blender until smooth, then leave to cool - I used my Optimum Vac2 Air Vacuum Blender*.

  3. Turn the oven on to 180℃.
  4. Using a hand whisk or electric beaters, whisk the sugar and eggs together until well combined and slightly thickened. Add the oil and whisk again. Stir in the lemon zest.
  5. Sieve in the dry ingredients and fold in.
  6. Add the kefir and stir gently until just combined.
  7. Strain a splash of the spinach puree through a sieve and put aside. Reunite any pulp remaining in the sieve with the rest, then gently stir into the cake batter until everything is nicely green.
  8. Pour the batter into two 20cm / 8" round silicon moulds or lined cake tins and bake in the centre of the oven for about 40 minutes or when an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  9. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes or so. Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
Lemon Ricotta Filling
  1. Beat all the ingredients together until combined and smooth.
  2. Spread over one of the cooled sponge halves and place the other on top.
Lemon Spinach Icing
  1. Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl.
  2. Add the lemon juice and a little of the spinach juice that was set aside from the puree. Mix until the icing is thin enough to spread over the cake, but not so much that it will pour off.
  3. Spread over the top of the cake, then scatter over the pistachio pieces.
Recipe Notes

Oven temperatures vary, so you're cake may need a bit more or a bit less time.

 

Will keep for a couple of days if you're kitchen isn't too hot.

Nutrition Facts
Spinach Cake with Lemon
Amount Per Serving
Calories 498 Calories from Fat 209
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23.2g 36%
Saturated Fat 4.6g 23%
Cholesterol 78mg 26%
Sodium 184mg 8%
Potassium 299mg 9%
Total Carbohydrates 59.8g 20%
Dietary Fiber 3.7g 15%
Sugars 35.9g
Protein 11.8g 24%
Calcium 12%
Iron 6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Other recipes for green cakes you might like

For other recipes and ideas on how to use vegetables in sweet bakes, head over to my Sweet Vegetable Bakes board on Pinterest.

Linkies

#GBBOBakeoftheWeekI’m sending this spinach cake with lemon off to #GBBOBakeoftheWeek hosted by Mummy Mishaps and Casa Costello.

 

I’m also sharing my green cake with #BakingCrumbs hosted this month by Jo’s Kitchen Larder and alternately with Only Crumbs Remain, #CookBlogShare, hosted by Recipes Made Easy this week and #CookOnceEatTwice with Searching for Spice.

Don’t Miss Out

If you make this spinach cake with lemon ricotta filling, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or via social media. A photo would be good too. For more nutritious and delicious recipes, follow me on TwitterFacebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

Lemon Spinach Cake. PIN IT.

Lemon Spinach Cake with Lemon Ricotta Filling aka Le Gâteau Vert or Green Cake. Simple to make and totally delicious. #spinachcake #vegetablebake #greencake #gateauvert #monet #recipe #cake #baking #spinach

This post contains affiliate links to Froothie Optimum products and Amazon. Links are marked with an *. Buying through a link will not cost you any more, but I will get a small commission. Thanks to my readers for supporting the brands and organisations that help to keep Tin and Thyme blythe and blogging. 

32 Comments

  1. Jenny Paulin

    6th September 2018 at 7:47 pm

    This cake looks delicious. I did think to begin with that adding spinach was a strange thing (not your cake the one featured on GBBO) , but then I remembered that I have made one from cucumber and another from flower sprouts!!!
    Your cake sounds lovely actually, the lemon ricotta filling must be so good.
    thank you for linking up x

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th September 2018 at 9:01 pm

      Thanks Jenny. I’ve got quite used to green cakes, but this is the first spinach cake I’ve made. It was fun to be inspired. Thanks for hosting your #GbboBloggers2018 linkie too.

      Reply
  2. Rebecca Beesley

    6th September 2018 at 8:26 pm

    I love your healthy swaps you’ve made – definitely sounds like my kind of cake! I couldn’t justify the volume of pistachios needed to bake with either – they really are sooo expensive these days. #gbbobloggers2018

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th September 2018 at 8:59 pm

      Thanks Rebecca. Just those few pistachios I used gave it enough of a boost I felt. It was delicious, whatever.

      Reply
  3. Lucy

    6th September 2018 at 10:31 pm

    Your green cake looks really delicious, the green colour is wonderful and I would rather eat this with your lemon ricotta filling and lemon spinach icing than the one in GBBO!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      7th September 2018 at 6:57 am

      Thanks Lucy, but don’t let Prue hear you say that 😀

      Reply
  4. angiesrecipes

    7th September 2018 at 5:21 am

    Such a great and fun cake recipe…love the beautiful green from spinach and the cake has a perfect texture too.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      7th September 2018 at 7:01 am

      Oh the texture was just perfect Angie. Dry crumbly cakes are not my favourite. Love the colour too.

      Reply
  5. Kavita Favelle

    7th September 2018 at 7:38 am

    Now I want green cake for breakfast!!!!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      8th September 2018 at 4:30 pm

      We had green cake for breakfast. It was superb 😀

      Reply
  6. Shell Louise

    7th September 2018 at 7:56 am

    I love the colour. If I made this here I’d have to tell them all it was made green by food colouring until they’d eaten it; if I told them before eating that it was made from spinach they’d tell me they didn’t fancy cake after all!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      8th September 2018 at 4:32 pm

      It’s a great colour. The spinach gives it such a bright green hue. Maybe just ask your lot to guess what’s in it – which they can’t do until they taste it. You can’t taste the spinach, so they probably won’t guess – unless they’ve seen Bake Off of course 😉

      Reply
  7. Corina Blum

    7th September 2018 at 1:24 pm

    Your cake sounds lovely! I would never have though to put spinach in a cake before GBBO but I am rather tempted now and that lemon ricotta icing sounds perfect too. Thanks for sharing with #CookOnceEatTwice!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      8th September 2018 at 4:32 pm

      Well I’ve made green cakes with kale and nettles before, so it wasn’t that strange a thing for me. But it was the first time I’d used spinach. It won’t be the last.

      Reply
  8. Jane

    8th September 2018 at 5:06 pm

    Looks awesome Choccy! Gorgeous pics too x

    Reply
    • Choclette

      8th September 2018 at 6:39 pm

      Aw,thanks Janey. It’s a fab cake.

      Reply
  9. Anca

    10th September 2018 at 9:08 am

    Your spinach cake looks great. I haven’t heard of it, but after seeing your cake, I know I’d like to try it. Turkish cuisine is really good, I’ve tried a few recipes and all turned out yummy.
    I was thinking of the cost for the pistachios when I made the Vert-Vert. But, even with those, it is still the price for a couple of desserts at a coffee shop, so it’s not that bad.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      10th September 2018 at 11:35 am

      Thanks Anca. I’ve just hopped over to have a look at your amazing cake. I bet that pistachio marzipan is good. I do like pistachios, but to justify the amount used in Prue’s cake, it would have to be a special occasion.

      Turkish cuisine is delicious, but I was surprised to find spinach cake was a thing.

      Reply
  10. Cathy @ Planet Veggie

    10th September 2018 at 10:43 am

    That looks beautifully moist – I’m happy to have spinach in anything though! How can you not love Noel Fielding? He’s my celebrity crush 🙂

    Reply
    • Choclette

      10th September 2018 at 11:25 am

      Oh noooooooo Cathy! He’s such a light wait and trying far too hard to be funny.

      Reply
  11. Jenny Walters

    11th September 2018 at 11:55 am

    What a fantastic cake!I bet the lemon brings it all together and the ricotta icing sounds divine!Very clever.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      11th September 2018 at 7:54 pm

      Thanks Jenny. You’re absolutely right, the lemon is central to the whole thing.

      Reply
  12. Candace

    11th September 2018 at 4:38 pm

    This cake looks amazing! I’ve tried a spinich cake before and was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t actually taste of spinich! I’m certainly going to give this cake a go

    Reply
    • Choclette

      12th September 2018 at 8:38 am

      Yes, you’d think with so much spinach in there, you’d taste it, but it’s not at all obvious. Let me know what you think if you do try it.

      Reply
  13. Ceri Jones

    12th September 2018 at 8:49 am

    LOVE the idea of green cake, it looks so fun. I’d love to make a green cake with the kids I teach, hurrah for spinach!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      12th September 2018 at 4:22 pm

      I remember Elizabeth making a naturally coloured rainbow cake once. I bet the kids would love that.

      Reply
  14. Jo Allison / Jo's Kitchen Larder

    13th September 2018 at 7:43 pm

    Your green cake looks fantastic Choclette! I really love the natural green hue throughout and the ingenious icing coloured with spinach juice – simply brilliant! I must admit I haven’t been watching GBBO this year, it has run its course for me so haven’t seen their Le Gâteau Vert but I somehow don’t think it would appeal to me as much as yours! Another thing is this lovely lemon and ricotta filling which sounds like it compliments the cake beautifully! This one is super high on my list to make soon! Thank you for sharing with #BakingCrumbs 🙂

    Reply
    • Choclette

      15th September 2018 at 3:31 pm

      Aw, thanks Jo. Do let me know if you do try it. I was really pleased with it, one of the best cakes I’ve made for a while. I know what you mean abut Bake Off. It’s definitely not as good as it used to be, but when it comes to it each year, I can’t bear to think I’m missing out.

      Reply
  15. Kat (The Baking Explorer)

    21st September 2018 at 9:36 am

    Love the look of this cake and definitely much more simple to make than the Bake Off version!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      23rd September 2018 at 10:50 am

      Thanks Kat. I’m all for simplicity, though I did like the sound of that pistachio marzipan.

      Reply
  16. Angela / Only Crumbs Remain

    24th September 2018 at 12:28 pm

    What a fabulous cake Choclette, it looks and sounds so interesting and packed with flavour rather than too much sugar – I muchprefer your version of it – the colour is truly amazing too. I’m so glad that it’s not just me who’s not getting on with GBBO now that it’s migrated to channel 4 without the lovely Mary, Mel & Sue.
    Angela x

    Reply
    • Choclette

      24th September 2018 at 7:52 pm

      Aw thanks Angela. It turned out to be one of the best cakes I’d baked in a while. I think it was the texture that was especially good. Will have to bake with spinach more often 😉 Such a shame the BBC felt it had to sell GBBO off.

      Reply

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