Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


Vegetables are delicious… when they are blended into a cake. I actually do love plain sauteed zucchini but I like really really love zucchini when it’s blended into a sweet, perfectly spiced cake and covered in a rich cream cheese frosting! I originally shared this recipe three years ago but I really needed an excuse to make a cake and I really wasn’t a fan of my old pictures for this recipe so problem solved. I needed updated pictures therefor I needed to remake this cake. Really I just make cake all the time for no reason but sometimes it’s nice having an excuse :).

Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting | Cooking Classy

I am head over heels crazy about this perfect summer cake! This Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting tastes so much like carrot cake which is why I think it’s so good (carrot cake is my favorite)! Plus it’s got to be one of the moistest cakes I’ve ever made! It was so funny, when I was mixing up the batter for this cake I told my daughter it had zucchini in it and she went on saying she’s not even going to eat a bite when it’s done and that’s so disgusting it has zucchini in it. Well, of course she couldn’t resist a taste because it is cake after all, then she proceeded to polish off the rest of the half slice I gave her. No one will be able to resist this cake! Besides the zucchini is finely shredded so you don’t really notice it much anyway. It just adds in some natural little green sprinkles.

It was really fun making the sunflower icing decorations for these. I will be honest though it wasn’t a walk in the park for me. It’s not that piping the sunflowers was hard (this was the first time I’ve done it and they turned out ok), getting the right colors was more the hard part. Getting that dark rich brown tinted the right color took some time, again though I’m new to flowers. If you wanted I’ve seen people use one layer of a mini Oreo as the dark center instead of icing. If you have some time though I’d recommend trying out the flowers, I just skimmed through a youtube video on how to do it (not sure exactly which one can’t find it but there are a few out there if you just google it). I did pipe them directly on the cake and I just cheated and used a store bought decorative icing because I didn’t want to make two kinds (the cream cheese frosting obviously wont work with it’s consistency). With or without the decoration this is still one incredible cake and I highly highly recommend you make it at least once this summer! Zucchini cake is a summer must!


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Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 2 cups (283g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup (150g) packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup (120g) applesauce
  • 1/3 cup (83g) plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups (344g) finely grated unpeeled zucchini (grate on small holes of box grater. About 2 - 2 1/2 medium zucchini)
  • 1/2 cup chopped , toasted pecans or walnuts (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese , softened slightly
  • 1/2 cup butter , softened (preferably 1/4 cup salted and 1/4 cup unsalted)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (228g) powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger for 30 seconds, set aside. In a separate large mixing bowl stir together granulated sugar and light-brown sugar (break up any clumps with your fingertips). Whisk in vegetable oil, applesauce and Greek yogurt until well blended. Add in eggs and vanilla mix until well blended. Stir in grated zucchini. Add flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon just until combined. Pour mixture into a buttered 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Bake in preheated oven 32 - 35 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs (no batter). Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting (cover with plastic wrap leaving a small opening on one corner after about 30 minute of cooling to seal in moisture). Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting sprinkle with nuts if desired (or decorate as desired) and cut into squares.
  2. For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
  3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whip together cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until smooth, occasionally scraping down sides and bottom of bowl. Blend in vanilla. Add powdered sugar and mix until light and fluffy.
  4. Recipe Source: Cooking Classy


  • Linda Hyams: So pretty..I am making this tomorrow! Your photos are beautiful. June 22, 2013 at 4:51pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Linda! I hope you love it! June 22, 2013 at 10:24pm Reply

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks: This looks awesome! I made a zucchini pudding cake about a year ago and also have a zucchini banana bread recipe. Your cake is perfect. I can literally SEE how moist it is. Which is why I love baking with zuke!

    And you are BEYOND ambitious to take pics outside. Grass, bugs, ants, wind, shadows, trees blowing causing shadows – there are like 20 things right off the bat why I just.couldn’t.deal. You are brave and ambitious and your pics are so pretty! June 22, 2013 at 5:12pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Averie :) I’d love to learn more about outdoor food photography it would be so fun to do a lot of outdoor pics especially during the summer. The lighting just seems so hard to deal with and all the other things like you said. I had ants climbing up for cake after being there like 5 minutes. I just love all the different setting possibilities outside (I’m getting really bored of the same thing over and over). June 22, 2013 at 10:24pm Reply

  • Elizabeth: Looks delicious! I’m trying to cook/bake as many zucchini recipes as possible the summer (chocolate zucchini cake in the oven right now) as a way of dealing with my husband’s zealous gardening. I’m adding yours to the list! June 22, 2013 at 6:04pm Reply

  • Mimi @ Culinary Couture: Beautiful photography! I love the outdoor shots! Very magazine-esque! June 22, 2013 at 9:07pm Reply

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious: Love these shots out on the grass! June 22, 2013 at 9:35pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Chung-Ah! June 22, 2013 at 10:19pm Reply

  • sally @ sallys baking addiction: Loving this cake Jaclyn – so moist! And your frosting job looks perfect. Single layer cakes are always so awkward to frost but you did a wonderful job. Love the outside pics – reminds me of a picnic… and now I’m hungry for cake! June 23, 2013 at 7:12am Reply

  • Eat Good 4 Life: Oh wow, awesome. I have never used zucchini for baking. I have carrots but not zucchini but I need to give it a try. I think I will love it. Your zucchini cake looks awesome. Time to give this a try :-) Great looking picts by the way! June 23, 2013 at 1:18pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much! June 26, 2013 at 3:45pm Reply

  • Liz: Looks so good and I’m sure it is. I just had to copy and plan to make later. So many different recipes for zucchini cake and some of the older ones are the best ones. Thank you. June 23, 2013 at 1:28pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’re welcome Liz! I hope you love them! June 23, 2013 at 10:03pm Reply

  • Angie@Angie’s Recipes: One of best zucchini cakes I have seen! Beautiful clicks! June 23, 2013 at 8:30pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much Angie :)! June 23, 2013 at 9:58pm Reply

  • Steph @ SeeStephRun.com: Oh wow- I love this! This would be perfect for a summer picnic! I am dying to try this now! June 24, 2013 at 6:40am Reply

  • Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking: This is beautiful, Jaclyn! I love the flavor, and I’ve never seen a zucchini cake look SO moist and irresistible. I’ve got to try this for myself! Thanks for sharing. June 24, 2013 at 3:02pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Georgia! June 24, 2013 at 7:45pm Reply

  • Julie @ Table for Two: This cake looks so moist and what a great way to use the summer surplus of zucchini!! June 24, 2013 at 6:36pm Reply

  • Rachel @ Bakerita: Such a perfect, easy summer cake (especially when keeping your kitchen cool enough to frost a layer cake is a challenge!). Definite must try! June 24, 2013 at 7:05pm Reply

  • James Engbloom: I have made this cake and it is great. Doesn’t last long around our home. We all love it and stays moist. July 2, 2013 at 5:20am Reply

  • Kate T.: This recipe is amazing. I actually did it with a combination of whole wheat and white whole wheat flour. The only change I made to the frosting was to use vanilla paste instead of straight vanilla. My husband was a skeptic but says the cake it great and the cream cheese frostings is one of the best he ever had. July 2, 2013 at 5:55pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you and your husband enjoyed this cake! Next time I’ll have to try some white whole wheat flour too. Thanks for your comment Kate! July 2, 2013 at 8:09pm Reply

  • Misty S: I made this cake last night and OHMYGOODNESS!! So yummy!! We have an abundance of zucchini, and I’ve had your recipe in the back of my mind since I first got the email, well on a whim last night I decided to throw this together and boy am I glad I did. Thank you so much for the recipe. July 16, 2013 at 9:16am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked it Misty and had remembered it :)! Thanks for your comment! July 16, 2013 at 9:48am Reply

  • Terry Knill: Made this yesterday and it is delicious! Thanks for a great recipe! I had to share some of it so I wouldn’t eat it all…LOL!
    I plan to make it again this weekend for a family reunion. August 2, 2013 at 6:57am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked it Terry! I’m the same way with a lot of baked goods, I have to share and get it out of the house or I just want it to myself :). I hope it’s enjoyed at the reunion. Thanks for leaving a comment! August 3, 2013 at 8:51am Reply

  • Terri: I have your cake made, but I dare not touch it (believe me, that is difficult with the yummy smell). I made it for my brother for his Birthday. Do you think he will notice if part of it is missing? August 5, 2013 at 9:35am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Haha no – definitely not :). I’m the same way, it’s so hard to resist a piece. I hope your brother has a wonderful birthday! How nice of you to make him a cake. August 5, 2013 at 11:50am Reply

      • Terri: It was heavenly! I changed the icing up since I am going as low carb as possible. Instead of powdered sugar I used one packed cup of brown sugar. I do believe I have found my new favorite icing! I am making this again for a cookout at my Dad’s on Sunday! YUM and thank you! August 5, 2013 at 3:40pm Reply

        • Jaclyn: You’re welcome Terri! I’m so glad you liked it! August 6, 2013 at 9:34am Reply

  • Terri: btw… I used Arrowhead Mills Organic Oat flour instead of all purpose. Love this flour! August 5, 2013 at 3:43pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I love love love oat flour. I use it for my favorite buttermilk pancakes. Glad to know it turned out well in this recipe! August 6, 2013 at 9:35am Reply

  • Becky: Do you think you could substitute yellow squash for the zucchini? I have an over Bundance and I’m looking for a recipe. August 11, 2013 at 5:16pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I have actually never added yellow squash to a cake and have been wondering how it would turn out in a cake myself. Anyone else tried it? August 11, 2013 at 6:14pm Reply

  • ang: WOW Jaclyn, this looks amazing! Love your photos and added this to my zucchini board :)
    Ang August 12, 2013 at 7:27am Reply

  • abby: This looks great! I plan on giving it a shot today, but had one question. I have never actually baked with zucchini before and was wondering as far as grated – do you just use a self grater? or place it in the food processor? Dumb question I know, but I’m clueless. August 14, 2013 at 9:18am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I just used the self grater but the food processor would work great if you hooked on the grater attachment. August 14, 2013 at 10:24am Reply

  • Amy @ swiss miss in the kitchen: Aw now I found your second zucchini cake recipe and I can’t decide which one I’m gonna make!! :) Both look fantastic!! Which one would you suggest for a child? I’m visiting my niece and she loves sweet treats!
    xox Amy August 15, 2013 at 9:03am Reply

  • Ashley Delano: I made this cake last night with two zuchini’s my mother wanted me to bake her something with.

    I didn’t change a single thing, and it turned out PHENOMENAL! I am not even a fan of cake, or sweet things in general – but this cake (and frosting) was perfect.

    Thank you so much for sharing your recipe! August 21, 2013 at 5:56am Reply

    • Jaclyn: That’s so great to hear Ashley and you’re welcome! I’m so glad you liked this recipe even though your not a sweets fan :). Now I’m craving some for a bedtime snack. August 26, 2013 at 8:49pm Reply

  • Cynese: This looks delicious, thinking about baking it for my husband. Do you have to squeeze moisture out of the zucchini after grating? Thanks for sharing September 14, 2013 at 11:47am Reply

    • Jaclyn: No you don’t have to squeeze any of the juices out it gives the cake moisture. I hope you love it Cynese! September 14, 2013 at 3:30pm Reply

  • Besma: Hi. I looked on the web for Zucchini Cake and after reading many recipes I liked yours. I tried it with a couple of changes. I used one cup of barley four and one cup all purpose flour. I also skipped the apple sauce simply cuz I didn’t have it… And it still turned out perfect! Thank You! January 11, 2014 at 8:30am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked this cake Besma! Thanks for your comment :)! January 22, 2014 at 9:18pm Reply

  • Sara: I made this cake today when the family came over to celebrate my dad’s birthday. Absolutely everyone raved about it! I made the cake just as instructed, but used the extra yogurt I had in place of the butter in the frosting and cut out some of the powdered sugar. It turned out incredible…plus, we all felt a little less guilty when we passed the bowl of frosting around and ate it plain! September 14, 2014 at 9:10pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad to hear it Sara! September 29, 2014 at 2:27pm Reply

  • Sydney Sun: I haven’t had the chance to bake with Zucchini before but I’ve had zucchini cake before and it was incredible! Pinned:)

    Sydney Sun November 4, 2014 at 3:50pm Reply

  • Megan: This was delicious. Thank you. We enjoyed it while cheering the Seahawks on to victory today. :) January 18, 2015 at 10:01pm Reply

  • Zucchini Cupcakes | squatsforcookies: […] adapted the recipe from Cooking Classy, added a little ground flax seed and played with the cooking time to get my final product. I dare […] January 23, 2015 at 8:14pm Reply

  • Yolanda Lopez: Thank you very much for the recipe!! It is so delicious! One of my husband’s favorite cake. I just want to ask you if I can use this recipe to make carrot cake, o apple cake?
    Thank you in advance.
    My best regards. February 26, 2015 at 3:34am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I think it should work just fine with carrots or apples. Please let me know if you do try. I’m so glad you both like the recipe! March 19, 2015 at 10:08pm Reply

  • Martha in KS: You had me at cream cheese frosting – but this Kansas girl loves the sunflowers. I’ll have to make this for my nieces’ birthdays in Sept. Thanks! July 17, 2016 at 10:47am Reply

  • Nathalia: This looks so cute! Perfect for summer! Definitely want to make when I have people over to my new house! (Hope it looks as nice!)
    The flowers look great, I wouldn’t have guessed it was your first time. :) July 18, 2016 at 1:42pm Reply

  • Lauren: This cake looks awesome!! Just wondering if I can use sour cream in place of the yogurt? Also, what piping tip did you use to pipe the petals on the sunflowers? July 19, 2016 at 5:24pm Reply

  • Francesca: This looks so yummy! I was telling my (Italian) colleagues about zucchini bread/cake the other day and the idea intrigued them (vegetables in dessert, besides carrot cake, is not so common here). I will have to make this for the office. Thanks! July 20, 2016 at 8:16am Reply

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