Zucchini Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

zucchini spice cake recipe collage
easy zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting recipe pinterest pin

Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting . . . This recipe for zucchini cake is always a hit. The cake is spiced with cinnamon, and it pairs just beautifully with the cream cheese frosting. A must try recipe!

If zucchini spice cake isn’t your thing, check out my recipes for Coconut Chocolate Zucchini Cake and Orange Zucchini Bundt Cake. You’ll love them!

slice of Cinnamon Zucchini Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting on a plate with zucchini in the background

We had this old fashioned zucchini cake for dessert tonight. I actually tried a new recipe, because I couldn’t find my recipe for zucchini spice cake. We were all pleased with the results.

It is really moist and delicious, and is perfectly spiced. And of course the tangy cream cheese frosting takes it over the top!

If baking with zucchini is new to you, you may be wondering “why do people put zucchini in cake?” Well there are several reasons.

  • First up, it makes for one of the moist cakes you will ever try. Think carrot cake, but with shredded zucchini instead.
  • Secondly, it is actually a great way to add a bit of nutrition. Now of course this cake is full of sugar, so it isn’t health food, but the zucchini does add vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  • Lastly, because zucchini is such a prolific grower, it is hard to consume all of it before it spoils. Adding zucchini to baked goods is a way to use it up!

If you love carrot cake, you should really try this recipe.  The texture and flavor are pretty similar. Both are absolutely delicious of course, especially with cream cheese frosting. We think it is the best old fashioned zucchini cake recipe out there!

Why is zucchini used in baking?

Since zucchini is so easy to grow, people often have an excess of the green vegetable. Because it is so mild flavored, it can be paired with anything from lemon to chocolate in baking recipes.

Like applesauce and bananas, it adds extra moisture to baked goods. But instead of adding extra sugar, it adds a boost of nutrition. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber (especially the skin).

So not only does it make a great side dish, it is a perfect ingredient in dozens of baked goods! We even use it to make Mock Apple Crisp, which may sound strange, but is always a hit!

How do you shred zucchini for baking?

Wash and dry your zucchini, then cut off the two ends. Then simply shred it with a box shredder or hand grater. Or if you prefer you can use a food processor with a shredding attachment.

Unless the recipe specifies, you do not need to squeeze the shredded zucchini dry, just use it as is. The water in the zucchini is what keeps cakes and breads moist.

zucchini cinnamon cake on a plate with a fork

This cake is so moist and yummy, and has just the right amount of cinnamon. And it is so easy to whip up – you don’t even need to pull out a mixer for the batter. A whisk is all you need!

HOW DO YOU MAKE ZUCCHINI CAKE FROM SCRATCH?

INGREDIENTS NEEDED:

  • all purpose flour
  • baking soda and baking powder
  • salt
  • ground cinnamon
  • eggs (I used large eggs.)
  • oil (I used canola oil, but you can use any oil that is liquid at room temperature.)
  • granulated sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • grated zucchini (I don’t usually squeeze my zucchini dry, but if yours is really juicy, you may want to squeeze out some of the liquid with a paper towel.)
  • chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

DRY INGREDIENTS: In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients.

WET INGREDIENTS: In a small bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Stir into the flour mixture with the zucchini and nuts if desired.

BAKE: Pour the batter into a greased 9×13″ pan and bake for about 40 minutes. Let cool, then frost. That’s it!

HOW TO MAKE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

INGREDIENTS NEEDED:

  • cream cheese (Full fat makes for a thicker frosting, but I have also used light cream cheese with good results. It is best to let it come to room temperature on the counter for a couple of hours.)
  • butter, softened to room temperature (I use regular salted butter.)
  • powdered sugar (also known as confectioners sugar)
  • vanilla extract 
  • milk (You may not need to add milk to your frosting, especially if you use light cream cheese.)

Use a hand mixer to beat cream cheese and butter till soft and creamy. Beat in the remaining ingredients, adding milk as needed. Spread over the cooled cake. Enjoy!

How long does zucchini cake last?

You can store leftover cake in the refrigerator for up to a week. And yes, I do recommend storing it in the fridge because of the cream cheese frosting. Just make sure it’s covered well.

We like it best at room temperature though, so I like to take it out of the fridge and hour or two before serving. It will be fine at room temperature for several hours. 

ZUCCHINI CAKE VARIATIONS:

  • In addition to, or in place of the chopped nuts, you can add shredded coconut.
  • Sprinkle chopped nuts or shredded coconut on top of the frosted cake.
  • Feel free to alter the spice to your liking. We like it best with just cinnamon, but you can add nutmeg, cloves, ginger, or allspice.
  • Add a cup of very well drained crushed pineapple.
  • Add a generous pinch of cinnamon to the frosting.

fork full of cake with frosting on it

Doesn’t that just look amazing? I better go grab a fork!

piece of cake on a plate with a bite taken out of it

LOOKING FOR MORE ZUCCHINI RECIPES?

MORE 9×13″ CAKE RECIPES:

EASY ZUCCHINI CAKE RECIPE

Yield: 16 servings

Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This Zucchini Cake is always a hit at potlucks. The cream cheese frosting makes it extra yummy!

Perfectly spiced zucchini cake with tangy cream cheese frosting.

Prep Time
10 minutes

Cook Time
40 minutes

Total Time
50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup soft butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp milk (if needed)

Instructions

  1. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, whisk eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla; add to dry ingredients with zucchini and nuts. Stir till well combined, then pour in greased 9×13″ pan.
  2. Bake at 350° for about 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  3. Cool completely and frost with cream cheese frosting.
  4. For frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl till smooth. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla. I don’t usually need to add any milk, but you might. Add as much as you need to get a creamy, spreadable consistency.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:

Calories: 456Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 338mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 2gSugar: 40gProtein: 5g


Did you make this recipe?

Leave a comment below and pin the recipe to Pinterest!

(originally published 10/14/08, post updated June 2021)

Easy to whip up, this zucchini cake recipe is perfect for potlucks, summer picnics, and family dinners. Everyone loves the extra moist spiced cake topped with cream cheese frosting!

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