The best homemade Zucchini Cake recipe! It’s a a deliciously spiced, soft and tender cake studded with fine shreds of fresh zucchini. and it’s covered with a rich cream cheese frosting. I’d say it’s easily the best way to enjoy zucchini!
Homemade Spiced Zucchini Cake
Vegetables are delicious…when they are blended into a cake right? Plain sautéed zucchini is good but zucchini is taken to a whole knew level when it’s blended into an old fashioned, perfectly spiced, sweetly delicious cake and covered in a decadent cream cheese frosting!
This homestyle zucchini cake tastes very similar to carrot cake, which is why I love it so much (carrot cake is one of my favorites)! Plus it’s got to be one of the moistest cakes you’ll ever make. Not a dry crumb in site.
It’s easy breezy to make (you don’t even use a mixer for the cake portion), and it’s sure to satisfy those cake cravings.
I highly recommend finishing it with pecans or walnuts for some textural contrast. I haven’t ever been a big fan of nuts swirled into cake but I love them as a finishing touch on a spiced cake like this. They complement it beautifully.
Store the cake in the fridge and from there you can even enjoy it cold.
Zucchini Cake Recipe Ingredients
For the zucchini cake itself, you’ll need:
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder and baking soda
- Spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg)
- Granulated sugar and light brown sugar
- Vegetable oil or canola oil
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Vanilla extract
- Toasted pecans or walnuts (optional)
And for the homemade cream cheese frosting, you’ll need:
- Cream cheese
- Unsalted butter
- Vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar
How to Make Zucchini Cake from Scratch
- Preheat oven and grease a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
- Whisk dry ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
- Mix wet ingredients: In a separate mixing bowl, stir together both kinds of sugar, applesauce, oil and yogurt. Then stir in vanilla, zucchini and eggs.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients, then stir to combine.
- Pour zucchini cake batter into prepared pan and spread it out even.
- Bake until set: This will take about 35 minutes.
- While cake cools, make cream cheese frosting.
- Frost cake and sprinkle with toasted nuts, if using.
Do I have to wring excess moisture from zucchini for baking?
Nope! Some zucchini cake or bread recipes ask you to dab the shredded zucchini with paper towels to soak up extra moisture or even ring it out, but you don’t want to do that with this cake. The moisture from the zucchini is what makes this zucchini cake so delicious!
Can I bake it in a bundt pan, bread pans or cupcake pans?
- Yes, this cake batter could also be baked in either a bundt pan, bread pans or cupcake pans.
- Just fill pans 2/3 full. Adjust bake time according to pan being used.
- Keep in mind it’s not as dense as zucchini bread so you’d want to cut thicker slices if baking in bread pans.
- If making cupcakes I recommend using cupcake liners in the standard size muffin pans (reduce bake time to about 20 minutes for cupcakes).
Should I peel the zucchini first?
No, zucchini doesn’t have to be peeled for zucchini cake unless you want to avoid little green flecks in the cake (just appearance preferences, maybe the little kids wouldn’t want to eat it).
Is zucchini cake healthy?
No. I know it would be nice if it were but zucchini cake is still cake and still filled with sugars and fats. If you wanted to make more of a smarter choice you could opt to omit the frosting, reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup and use olive oil in place of vegetable or canola oil.
Can I substitute yellow squash for zucchini in cake?
Although they’re two very similar vegetables, I do not recommend using yellow squash in zucchini cake. It has a different texture, often larger seeds, and flavor and would give you a different result.
How to Store
- Zucchini cake should be stored in the fridge.
- Cover cake or store in an airtight container.
- It will keep in the fridge for about 4 days.
- Cake can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
Tips for the Best Zucchini Cake
- Don’t worry about peeling the zucchini before grating it.
- Wait until the cake is completely cool before you try frosting it. This will take at least 2 hours to cool.
- The zucchini should be finely grated for the best texture to the cake. I do this on the small holes of a box grater, or a food processor with the smaller grater attachment should also work.
- The butter needs to be room temperature before making the frosting, cream cheese doesn’t need to be quite as warm. You can add it colder.
- If cream cheese frosting gets runny chill it. You can even freeze it in 5 minute intervals, stirring between each, before adding to the cake.
More Zucchini Dessert Recipes You’ll Love:
- Chocolate Zucchini Cake
- Zucchini Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Lemon Zucchini Bread
- Zucchini Carrot Bread
- Spiced Zucchini Cupcakes
- Zucchini Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
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Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 cups (283g) all-purpose flour, scoop and level to measure
- 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 (140g) 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 1/4 cups (314g) finely grated zucchini (grate on small holes of box grater. About 2 - medium zucchini)*
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans or walnuts (optional)
For the Zucchini Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, 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 35 to 40 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.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 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.