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.
Zucchini Cake with Browned Butter Frosting
- 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.
more luscious snacking cakes…