Zucchini Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

My Zucchini Cake with Browned Butter Frosting is moist, rich with nuts, and crowned with the most decadent frosting —- zucchini never had it so good!

This is a luscious little zucchini cake. And you can take that to the bank because I’m becoming a connoisseur of little snack cakes. I love the deep rich color of this one, the threads of green running through it, the chunky walnuts, and the  moist springy texture. But if I’m honest, it’s really all about the frosting. The frosting is amazing and the frosting is why I couldn’t limit my ‘taste testing’ to a reasonable percentage of the whole. There’s nothing else going on with it, just pure bold browned butter flavor. It’s very good, and I couldn’t stop eating it.

That’s the browned butter on the left. It’s a very easy process, as long as you stand right by it, because it happens in a flash. The little brown specks are the solids in the milk, and they turn a rich brown as you heat the butter on the stove,   I have to say my experience with browned butter as an ingredient has been iffy at best, though. I find that you can’t always detect it in a finished dish, especially in baked goods. That’s why I’m so pleased  with the pronounced nutty, buttery flavor of this frosting, I know I’m going to come back to it a lot.

TIP: Don’t leave the stove while you are browning butter, it can go from nutty brown to burned in an instant.





3.35 from 137 votes

Zucchini Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

My Zucchini Cake with Browned Butter Frosting is moist, rich with nuts, and crowned with the most decadent frosting ---- zucchini never had it so good!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Yield 9 servings
Author Sue Moran


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla paste or 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup packed shredded and drained zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

for the frosting

  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • heavy cream to thin


  • Set the oven to 350F
  • Toss together the flour, baling powder, soda, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Beat the eggs well and then beat in the sugar. Stir in the oil and vanilla.
  • Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts.
  • Spread the batter into a greased 9" square baking pan. I lined mine with a parchment paper 'sling' to make it easy to remove the cake for frosting, but this is optional.
  • Bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it.
  • Cool on a rack before frosting.
  • Make the frosting by melting the butter over low to medium heat in a small pan on the stove. It helps to have a light colored pan so you can see the color change. Continue to heat the butter until you notice it starting to turn brown. You may need to lower your heat at this point to have more control over the process. You will see the milk solids turn into little brown specks. Be extra careful not to let the butter burn, but let it get to a rich deep brown color. This happens quickly, so don't walk away.
  • Let the butter cool a bit before adding to the sugar. Then thin with the cream until you get a spreadable consistency. Beat it until it is smooth and glossy.
  • Spread it on the cake and enjoy.

notes and variations

  • After grating the zucchini, lay it out on a double layer of paper towels. Let it sit while you make the batter, and then gather up the towels and gently squeeze out any excess moisture from the zucchini.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Zucchini Cake with Browned Butter Frosting pin


more luscious snacking cakes…


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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    August 25, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    4 stars
    This was a very moist but my edges were way overdone. One of my eggs had a double yolk and I used jumbo sized eggs. Not sure if that made a difference in the baking time. I also sqeezed the zucchini first and then measured it. I made penuche icing too just because it is my husband’s favorite. I will definitely try again and check it 5 minutes earlier. Thanks so much.

    • Reply
      August 28, 2020 at 7:15 am

      5 stars
      I made the pumpkin walnut cake in a bunt pan and used the brown butter spice glaze. Excellent reviews from family and friends I’ll definitely make this again.

  • Reply
    July 19, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    Made this yesterday. It is delicious. Cake was not dense at all. Very tasty and excellent frosting. Will definitely make again.

  • Reply
    February 2, 2020 at 3:19 pm

    5 stars
    I’ve been making this cake for years. It’s always delicious and it never fails to turn out the same way. So moist and light – I use the brown butter frosting on everything these days. So good.

    • Reply
      February 2, 2020 at 5:54 pm

      Thanks Madeleine, I’m glad it’s worked out so well for you 🙂

  • Reply
    Marti Klinger
    October 25, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    For the zucchini cake, what can I substitute for vanilla paste?

    • Reply
      October 25, 2019 at 3:45 pm

      You can use regular vanilla extract in its place Marti.

  • Reply
    May 28, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    If you squeeze out the moisture from the zucchini, do you remeasure to make sure you have 1 cup of Zucchini?

    • Reply
      May 28, 2019 at 12:53 pm

      No, just go ahead and use it.

  • Reply
    September 27, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    5 stars
    Wow! Good cake! Love the moistness that the zucchini brings. I did add a little less sugar then recipe calls for. The icing is sweet enough for me so don’t need that much sugar in the cake.
    Turned out really well. I did double the recipe, I needed to use up my zucchini. And I put it in a 9×13, but I also made 6 cupcakes because I didn’t want the cake so thick. I added choc chips instead of nuts just because my family is not so much for nuts. Lol. But considering with the changes I made still turned out really well!

    • Reply
      September 27, 2018 at 1:37 pm

      Well, you can never go wrong subbing in chocolate chips 😉 Good to know it can be doubled like that.

  • Reply
    Brandi Woodford
    September 19, 2016 at 8:46 am

    5 stars
    This is a SUPER YUMMY recipe! What is the best way to store the cake?

    • Reply
      September 19, 2016 at 8:58 am

      I like to store cake on the counter, covered with foil, Brandi.

  • Reply
    September 9, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Just made this can you double the recipe for 9×13???

    • Reply
      September 9, 2016 at 5:38 pm

      I think that should work fine, Lynette.

  • Reply
    August 12, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    So you cook the zucchini first then drain and shred it ?

    • Reply
      August 12, 2016 at 8:30 pm

      No, the zucchini is raw, Darla.

  • Reply
    July 14, 2016 at 5:26 am

    5 stars
    The entire family loved it !!

  • Reply
    Linda Kruse
    June 20, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    It’s very heavy for cake. Not my favorite by any means. The brown butter frosting is the best part of the cake.

    • Reply
      June 20, 2016 at 3:18 pm

      It’s kind of a cross between a cake and a blondie, I think, with a dense moist texture.

  • Reply
    September 24, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    very delicious topping idea! i’ve decided i’m quite enamored of browned butter. 🙂

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    September 20, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Yes please to brown butter frosting!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    September 20, 2013 at 12:28 am

    Pinned straight away – not even a second thought!

  • Reply
    September 19, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Oh, my. If I only had a straw… 😀
    This cake is gorge! It would be the perfect late Thursday night snack!

  • Reply
    tiffany rose
    September 19, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Oh my goodness. Moist, springy cakes are my downfall and did you say browned butter? I am drooling as I imagine this. I’ll be trying this really, really soon.

  • Reply
    [email protected] is How I Cook
    September 19, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Like this! A lot! Browned Butter is King! Or Queen! Or just plain good!

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