Gluten Free Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

A slice of zucchini cake on a plate with a fork taking a bite.

My gluten free zucchini cake is a moist, grain-free cake lightly spiced and generously topped with my best cream cheese frosting. It’s the perfect cake to ease you into fall baking-mode.

A slice of gluten free zucchini cake with a bite taken out of it and a fork on a white plate.

This gluten free zucchini cake is all about texture!

Even though I don’t personally need to follow a gluten free diet, some of my favorite recipes over the years have been flourless or gluten free cakes. But I don’t use elaborate gluten free baking mixes or unpronounceable ingredients; I keep it natural.

By using ingredients like ground nut meals and even whole fruit pulps like like lemon and tangerine, I get amazing textures that you just don’t find in regular cakes. The shredded zucchini, almond flour, and chopped walnuts in this cake don’t disappoint in the texture department ~ its got a fabulous moist crumb.

Gluten free zucchini cake on a baking rack being frosted with cream cheese frosting.

Almond ‘flour’ replaces regular grain flour in this cake

Almond ‘flour’ is simply finely ground almonds.

  • It looks like flour, it feels like flour, and you can bake with it like flour, but it contains no gluten like actual grain flours do. It has wonderful flavor and brings the protein rich nutrition of nuts to a recipe.

There are several different varieties: almond meal, almond flour, and super fine almond flour.

  • The meal is made with almonds that still have their skins, and it’s a little bit coarser than almond flour, which is made from blanched almonds. Finely ground almond flour is the most like all purpose flour in texture. All three are interchangeable but will give you slightly different results.

You can make your own almond flour

  • Grind blanched almonds in your food processor or blender ~ just be careful not to go too far or you’ll wind up with almond butter. Homemade almond flour will generally not be as fine as commercially made.

Almond flour keeps best in the refrigerator or freezer

  • The oils in nuts spoil easily. I keep a bag in the freezer at all times, there’s no need to thaw it out before using, so it’s super convenient.
Side view of gluten free zucchini cake topped with cream cheese frosting on a backing rack.

Tips for perfectly cooked gluten free cakes ~

Flourless gluten free cakes are often very delicate. This is because gluten provides structure and stability to baked goods, and when you remove it the result is very tender and soft. Definitely not a bad thing, but something to be aware of. For this recipe, I recommend:

  • Prep your pan ~  When I bake a gluten free cake I almost always use either a springform pan or a nonstick cake pan lined with a round of parchment paper on the bottom. If you’re using a regular cake pan, like for this recipe, the parchment paper will keep the cake from sticking to the bottom and help you ease it out.
  • Make sure your cake is fully cooked ~ gluten free cakes are moist by nature, and don’t rise like regular cakes, so normal visual cues, even the toothpick test, aren’t always accurate.

Make sure your oven is at the accurate temperature when you bake gluten free. An oven thermometer is a must.

Make sure that when touched lightly in the center the cake bounces back rather than leaving an indent. If your cake is getting too brown on top as it cooks, tent it with a piece of foil for the remainder of the baking time.

Err on the side of slightly over baking rather than risking under baking, this insures the excess moisture has a chance to fully cook out.

A slice of zucchini cake being pulled out with a cake server.

A great cream cheese frosting is all about striking that perfect balance between sweet and tangy ~

I use a mixture of cream cheese and butter in this frosting, along with the perfect amount of sugar to make it smooth, creamy, sweet, and deliciously tangy. But, really, I think of making frosting as a “taste-as-you-go” kind of thing, so I encourage you to do just that, and adjust the amount of sugar to your liking.

Make it your own. If you feel like your frosting is a little too sweet, try adding a touch of lemon juice to bring back the tartness. I also like to add a pinch of salt to almost all my frostings to make the flavors come alive.

A slice of zucchini cake, and a piece of cake on a fork on a white plate..

My favorite gluten free cakes ~

A slice of zucchini cake on a plate with a fork taking a bite.
Print
4.77 from 17 votes

Gluten Free Zucchini Cake

Gluten Free Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is a moist, grain-free zucchini cake lightly spiced and generously frosted. It's the perfect cake to ease you into fall baking-mode.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Yield 8 servings
Author Sue Moran

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted and partially cooled
  • 2 1/4 cups almond flour or meal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For the frosting

  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F and lightly butter an 8 inch round cake pan. I place a circle of parchment paper at the bottom of my pan, as well, for easier removal.
  • In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or with electric mixers, beat the eggs and the sugar until very pale and thick, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the melted butter and vanilla extract, and briefly mix to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.
  • Gently fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture. I like to do this by hand with a silicone spatula.
  • Gently fold in the zucchini and chopped walnuts just until everything is combined, don't over mix.
  • Pour the batter into your prepared baking pan and bake for about 45 minutes. The cake should be risen and golden brown, and the top should spring back when touched lightly. If the cake is getting too brown on top before it is done baking, tent it with tinfoil.
  • Allow the cake to cool for a few minutes in the baking pan, then gently turn it out onto a baking rack to cool completely before frosting.
  • To make the frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese together in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until smooth. Beat in the salt and vanilla, and then the sifted powdered sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time.
  • If the frosting seems too loose, put it in the fridge for 15 minutes or so to thicken up before frosting the cake.
  • Add the frosting to the top of the cooled cake, and enjoy immediately or keep refrigerated until ready to eat.

Cook’s notes

 
 
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.
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24 Comments

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    Please rate this recipe!




  • Reply
    Jude
    August 6, 2022 at 11:22 am

    I would like to make this recipe but need the Nutritional Info on it. Do you have it?

  • Reply
    Denise
    July 5, 2022 at 12:21 pm

    My gluten free friend ( Im making this for her birthday) is allergic to walnuts and pecans
    Can I use almonds or even coconut to replace the walnuts?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      July 5, 2022 at 1:25 pm

      You can definitely switch out the nuts, or leave them out. Coconut should work as well.

  • Reply
    jerry aalfs
    February 15, 2022 at 7:31 pm

    cupcakes?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      February 15, 2022 at 7:46 pm

      Not sure, I haven’t tried!

  • Reply
    Christy
    August 10, 2021 at 6:56 pm

    4 stars
    How many calories in cake?

  • Reply
    Debster
    June 13, 2021 at 4:39 am

    4 stars
    This recipe tasted great and I will try it again even though a few things went wrong.
    I used an 8” cake pan per the recipe but I should have known I was going to have a problem, when the batter filled the entire pan (to the top). But I went ahead and baked it anyway
    I baked it for 45mins but was still moist so baked anther 15 and seemed okay (I thought).
    Since so much batter it was very hard to get out of pan and since still a little moist started to fall apart. Outside edges of top of cake were browned and crunchy. So so good
    I will try this again and maybe squeeze zucchini a bit and will use 9” springform or a couple 4” springform pans. Definitely springform to avoid the broken cake syndrome
    Again texture around outside of pan was great and top was great just he middle was problem

  • Reply
    Anne Trapani
    June 4, 2021 at 4:36 am

    3 stars
    Perhaps it was the brand of almond flour I used, but my cake was a bit dry and rather grainy in texture?

  • Reply
    Nkechi Ajaeroh
    October 13, 2020 at 4:14 am

    5 stars
    OKAY, I am making this goodness! We love fruit cakes, and I have been looking for a perfect holiday cake. This looks delicious and nutritious!
    Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Reply
    Erica
    September 4, 2020 at 6:43 am

    5 stars
    This is beautiful and of course I still have some zucchini in my garden. I love that it’s also gluten free! 🙂

  • Reply
    Babs
    August 30, 2020 at 11:42 am

    Thank you for this delicious recipe! I’ll be making this on repeat. I appreciate all of the gluten free recipes you have, especially using almond flour instead of multiple flours. I had ingredients for everything but the frosting. I’m sure it is a great addition, but it was perfect even without! I used coconut sugar, since it was all I had on hand and crushed the cardamon seeds rather than using ground. It is outstanding! Thinking of trying it out with grated apple instead of the zucchini.

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 30, 2020 at 3:29 pm

      I’m already planning a grated apple version, we’ll see how it turns out!

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