This easy zucchini cake is both light and richly flavorful. Topped with a healthy cream cheese frosting, it’s the ideal summer dessert that’s sure to be a hit at any gathering.
This time of year signals the peak of zucchini season and all the zucchini recipes. Take advantage of this abundance with a healthy zucchini cake that’s both simple to prepare and boasts a perfectly fluffy texture with just the right touch of sweetness.
The inviting warmth of cinnamon and nutmeg complements the zucchini beautifully. Finish it off with a simple yet luscious cream cheese frosting.
This zucchini cake recipe is a breeze, even for baking beginners. Simply mix the batter, stir in the zucchini, and bake until it’s golden. Once cooled, slather on a layer of light cream cheese frosting. The result? A delectably moist and flavorful cake that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser!
You may also love this zucchini bread which is a great recipe that is equally delicious and gluten-free with rave reviews!
*See the recipe card located at the bottom of this post for the complete list of recipe ingredients, instructions, and nutrition.
Ingredients you will need
- Fresh zucchini: About 2 medium-sized shredded zucchini to infuse moisture and nutrients.
- Almond flour: A gluten-free alternative to regular flour, made from finely ground almonds.
- Eggs: 3 large eggs, essential for structure and moisture.
- Maple syrup: A natural sweetener derived from maple trees, adding a delicate sweetness to the cake.
- Vanilla extract: An aromatic extract enhancing flavor depth.
- Cinnamon and nutmeg: Warm and fragrant spices that introduce a cozy touch to the cake.
- Coconut oil: A healthier fat option that imparts subtle coconut flavor and ensures a moist texture.
- Baking soda + baking powder: Leavening agents that help the cake rise and become fluffy.
- Salt: A pinch to balance the flavors and enhance the overall taste.
- Cream cheese frosting (optional): use homemade healthier frosting or store-bought.
Substitutions and variations
- Add in some chocolate chips for a chocolate chip zucchini cake.
- Brown sugar or coconut sugar can be used in place of maple syrup.
- You can use butter or olive oil in place of the coconut oil.
- Gluten-free all-purpose flour can be used in place of almond flour.
- Fold in some chopped pecans or walnuts for even more crunch and nutty flavor and texture to the cake.
- Add a pinch of ground cinnamon to make a cinnamon cream cheese frosting.
How To Make Zucchini Cake
Step one: Use a box grater or food processor to grate the zucchini, then place it into a clean towel and wring out the extra water.
Step three: Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix until a smooth batter forms, then fold in the shredded zucchini.
Step four: Pour the zucchini cake batter into the lined pan.
Step five: Bake until golden and cooked through about 35-40 minutes. Then remove and let cool.
Step six: Mix up healthy cream cheese frosting by adding all ingredients to a bowl and mix using a stand or hand mixer.
Step seven: Let the zucchini cake cool for at least 30 minutes.
Step eight Spread the cream cheese frosting over the cake.
Step nine: Cut into individual slices and enjoy! Add a pinch of cinnamon for even more flavor!
Pro tip: make sure to line the baking pan with parchment paper to allow you to easily remove the cake from the pan after it cooks. This will help it cool faster as well. But let it cool for at least 10 minutes in the pan before you remove it.
Here are the tools needed to make this recipe
- Measuring cups/Measuring spoons
- Box grater
- Mixing bowls
- 8×8 baking pan
- Parchment paper
- Hand mixer
- Rubber spatula
How to store zucchini cake
- For longer storage, up to about a week, the refrigerator is ideal.
- Place the cake in an airtight container. If you don’t have a container large enough, place the cake on a plate and cover it with a large inverted bowl or tightly wrap it in plastic wrap.
- Let the cake sit at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes before serving if you’ve stored it in the fridge, as this will enhance its flavor and texture.
- Zucchini cake freezes well for longer storage (up to 2-3 months).
- Wrap the unfrosted cake tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil or place it in a freezer-safe bag. If your cake is frosted, freeze it uncovered first until the frosting is solid. Then wrap as described above.
- Label the cake with the date and type so you can keep track of its storage time.
- To thaw, place the cake in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. If you’re in a hurry, you can also thaw it at room temperature for a few hours.
- For the best texture and flavor, consider frosting the cake after thawing if you’ve frozen it without frosting.
Tips for the best results
- Properly Prepare the Zucchini:
- Shred/grate: Use your box grater for a more even texture that’ll seamlessly integrate into the cake batter. You can also add chopped, unpeeled zucchini to a food processor and pulse it a few times.
- Drain excess moisture (but not all): Zucchini holds a lot of water, and while this moisture can help in making your cake tender, too much can make it soggy. After grating the zucchini, gently squeeze out the extra moisture over the sink or a bowl by placing the zucchini in a clean kitchen towel, then twist and wring out the water.
- Adjust Your Spices and Add-ins: Zucchini itself is quite bland, so it’ll easily take on the flavors you add to your cake. Feel free to adjust the typical cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla flavorings according to your preference. Additionally, consider mix-ins like chopped nuts, chocolate chips, or raisins to add an extra layer of flavor and texture.
- Test for Doneness: Because zucchini cake can be moister than other cakes, it’s crucial to ensure it’s baked through. Use a toothpick or a thin skewer to test the cake. Insert it into the center, and if it comes out clean or with just a few crumbs (and no wet batter), it’s ready. Remember, baking time may vary depending on your oven and the size of the pan you’re using, so start checking a bit earlier than the recipe suggests. Especially if this is your first time making a cake.
- Top it off: Pair your zucchini cake with a creamy frosting, like cream cheese or vanilla buttercream, to elevate its flavor and make it a hit with everyone who tries it!
No, it is not necessary to peel the zucchini.
This zucchini cake was tested in an 8×8 baking pan as well as a 9-inch cake pan so either will work.
Yes, you can. Replace half of the almond flour with unsweetened cocoa powder and top the cake with chocolate frosting.
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Check out all of my healthy desserts on PMG!
Did you try this Zucchini Cake? if you did, then please leave a rating and comment below. I would love to hear how yours turned out!Print