Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This zucchini cake is moist, filled with spices, and topped with a homemade cream cheese frosting. It’s the perfect way use up zucchini!

Zucchini cake is one of those wonderful desserts that feels rustic, comforting & home-y all at the same time. I like to think of it as carrot cake‘s delicious cousin. And if you like spice cakes, then you’ll definitely love this recipe too.

Zucchini cake topped with frosting and walnuts

Moist and Flavorful Zucchini Cake

If you like cake that’s perfectly moist, filled with flavor, and topped with cream cheese frosting – then this zucchini cake is definitely the recipe for you. It’s my favorite way to use fresh zucchini, and it’s definitely a cake that every baker should have in their recipe book. (PS – it’s Fiona stopping in from Just So Tasty).

As a kid, I hated the idea of putting vegetables in desserts. I thought my parents were trying to secretly force me into being healthy, so on principle I didn’t like zucchini cake. But luckily, I came to my senses and realized just how delicious it is.

I love that zucchini cake is packed with flavor and it’s perfectly moist. The flavor comes from a combination of cinnamon, a little nutmeg, and a hint of ginger. It also has a delicious caramel undertone from the brown sugar, and the grated zucchini makes the cake extremely moist with a super soft cake crumb.

Zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting on a white plate

How to Make Zucchini Cake

PREP. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Butter and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan.

BATTER. In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg & ginger. In a separate large bowl, beat together the oil, sugars, vanilla extract & eggs until well blended.

Turn off the mixer and stir in the sour cream and shredded zucchini. With the mixer on low speed, slowly beat in flour mixture until combined. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

(NOTE: You can also add chopped walnuts or raisins to zucchini cake – but I’m more of a plain Jane, so I left them out.)

BAKE. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Oven times vary, so I’d recommend checking first at 35 minutes.

Bowl of cream cheese frosting for zucchini cake recipe

The Frosting

After the cake is baked and cooled, it’s ready to be topped with cream cheese frosting. I love how the tangy frosting isn’t too sweet. It’s smooth, creamy, & pairs perfectly with the cake flavor.

My only hint for making cream cheese frosting is to make sure your butter and cream cheese are soft before getting started.

BEAT & FROST. In a large bowl beat together the butter and cream cheese until well combined. Then slowly beat in the powdered sugar about 1 cup at a time, followed by the vanilla. Then, frost the cake using a flat edge knife.

Close up of zucchini cake with a missing bite

Baking & Storage Tips

When baking with zucchini, make sure to follow these tips!

  • Pick medium sized zucchini with a shiny green coat.
  • 1 medium zucchini yields about ⅔ c shredded zucchini. 
  • Most recipes account for, and even rely on, the extra moisture that a zucchini will provide. Pay close attention to see if you need to remove excess moisture or not. 
  • You do not need to peel the zucchini, but can if you don’t want to see any green. 
  • Use the small side of a box grater to shred the zucchini.

Different Baking Pans: If you want to change things up a bit you can try using a different baking pan. Since all ovens seem to bake a little differently watch carefully and check for doneness 5 minutes before the suggested time. Use a toothpick or wooden skewer and insert it in the center of the cake. If it comes out clean you’re done, otherwise bake it a bit longer. 

  • Cupcake: 350°F bake for 18-22 minutes
  • Two 9” Round pan: 350°F bake for 25-32 minutes
  • Sheet cake pan: 350°F for 28-30 minutes
  • Bundt cake pan: 350°F for 50-55 minutes

To store your zucchini cake, keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. You can also freeze unfrosted zucchini cake by wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap and putting it in the freezer. Thaw in the fridge overnight and then frost when you’re ready.

Zucchini cake topped with frosting and walnuts on a white plate

I think zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting is always a favorite. And if you’re looking for a great way to use all the zucchini that’s coming into season, then this recipe is for you!

For more sweet zucchini recipes, try:

Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Two slices of zucchini cake on white plates next to a fork.
5 from 3 votes
Moist, fluffy Zucchini Cake is the perfect way to use up fresh zucchini! This easy dessert is filled with warm spices and topped with rich and creamy homemade cream cheese frosting.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 47 minutes
Servings 15
Calories 438 kcal
Author Lil' Luna

Ingredients

Zucchini Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar lightly packed
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream room temperature
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini

Cream Cheese Frosting

Instructions
 

Zucchini Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Butter and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.
  • In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg & ginger.
  • In a separate large bowl beat together the oil, sugars, vanilla extract & eggs until well blended. Then Turn off the mixer and stir in the sour cream and shredded zucchini.
  • With the mixer on low speed, slowly beat in flour mixture until combined. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Oven times vary, so I'd recommend checking first at 35 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Once the cake is cooled, make the frosting. (You can speed this up by cooling the cake in the fridge).
  • In a large bowl beat together the butter and cream cheese until well combined. Then slowly beat in the powdered sugar about 1 cup at a time, followed by the vanilla.
  • Then frost the cake using a flat edge knife.

Notes

  • Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
  • Unfrosted cake can be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen. Then thaw in the fridge overnight.
  • This recipe was originally shared by Fiona at Just So Tasty.

I love zucchini cake and can’t wait to try this! Thank you Fiona for sharing this amazing recipe. Go check out more delicious recipes from Fiona at Just So Tasty

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About Fiona

My name's Fiona and I love to bake and blog. I share homemade, from scratch, classic recipes for desserts & sweet treats including cakes, cupcakes, cookies and more.

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Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    This looks so cute! Perfect for summer! Definitely want to make when I have people over to my new house!

  2. Nice! Had the same aversion to zucchini-anything (bread usually) growing up and for the same reason! This takes me back in a good way now though, since I’ve reconciled with zucchini so was happy to see this wonderful recipe, haven’t delved into the zucchini-cake side of things before, so thank you!