River Cottage Australia Paul West’s zucchini cake with candied garden leaves

A mouth-wateringly sweet twist

With a background that ranges from volunteering as an organic fruiterer to working as a professional chef, Paul West was a perfect fit to host TV series River Cottage Australia. The show chronicles his journey to transform this former dairy property on the NSW south coast into a sustainable and self-sufficient farm.


Candied leaves & petals



To crystallise flowers; lightly brush petals and leaves with eggwhite, then sprinkle with caster sugar until coated. Set aside on a tray for 2 hours, or overnight, to dry.


Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease 2 x 20cm round sandwich cake tins and line with baking paper. Cream butter in an electric mixer. Add lemon zest, sugar and vanilla seeds and beat well until light and creamy. Add eggs and beat well.


Sift the flours and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in salt and poppy seeds. Fold in the butter mixture until well combined. Using your hands, squeeze grated zucchini over a bowl to remove excess moisture and pat dry with kitchen towel. Fold zucchini and lemon juice into cake mixture. Divide mixture evenly between tins and bake for 20-25 mins, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let sit in tins for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


To make icing; combine icing sugar, lemon juice and zest in a medium bowl and beat together well. When cakes are completely cool, pour half the icing onto the middle of one cake. Run a knife under hot water and carefully smooth icing over cake, letting it run down the sides a little. Top with second cake and pour over remaining icing, spreading slowly with the hot knife. Arrange leaves and petals on top of cake to serve.


Paul has shared a selection of River Cottage recipes with us, click below for

Vegetable terrine with tomato jelly

Seared kingfish with crunchy salad

Pocket baked fish with tomatoes & lemon


Read about Paul’s journey here or visit The Lifestyle Channel for more information on The River Cottage Australia.

Slice and serve

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