Old Fashioned Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is a classic for a reason ~ this moist zucchini walnut cake is delicious even without the generous layer of fluffy cream cheese buttercream!
zucchini cake is a tried and true favorite
Some people can’t control themselves around ice cream, others have issues with chocolate…for me, it’s old fashioned zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting. If nobody is watching I
might will eat the whole pan. It’s one of those one size fits all desserts ~ wherever hungry people are gathered, zucchini cake just works.
what you’re gonna need
- vegetable oil
- baking powder, baking soda, and salt
- vanilla extract
- cream cheese
- confectioner’s sugar
- lemon juice
zucchini is the star of this cake
Who doesn’t like to grate zucchini? Unlike those knuckle busting nuggets of Parm, zucchini slides across the grater with ease and before you know it, you’ve got a big pile of feathery green shreds. I like to use small zucchini when I bake because the extra peel equals more color and flavor. Large zucchini with their vast white interiors can be bland and watery.
this is an easy one bowl recipe
- Choose a large mixing bowl and whisk the wet ingredients together. This recipe uses oil so it’s super quick.
- Fold in the dry ingredients.
- Fold a couple of cups of shredded zucchini into the simple batter, along with a cup of nuts. I think walnuts are key to a great zucchini cake, but you can absolutely leave them out if you like, or substitute pecans.
- Turn into a greased pan and bake!
can we talk about that cream cheese frosting?
The crowning glory of this zucchini cake is the tangy cream cheese buttercream frosting. It’s made with softened cream cheese, softened butter, sugar, vanilla, and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Gob. it. on.
zucchini cake tips and faqs
No! The peel is nutritious, beautiful, and tasty!
No, I use the zucchini as is. I like to grate it shortly before I add it to the batter, though.
I have tried this and don’t love the result, but you can use golden zucchini, which works great.
The cake itself will freeze perfectly, but I would plan to frost it after thawing.
Moist zucchini cake keeps well, but because of the cream cheese rich frosting, I would refrigerate any leftovers of this cake.
This is most likely because you didn’t start with soft cream cheese. See my post on how to bring cold ingredients up to temperature quickly for tips.
more zucchini recipes
- Blue Ribbon Zucchini Pie
- Zucchini Parmesan Crisps
- Blueberry Zucchini Snack Cake with Lemon Buttercream
- Gluten Free Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Blueberry Zucchini Muffins
- Lemon Poppy Seed Zucchini Bread
Other old fashioned cakes to try ~
My Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake has been one of the most popular cakes on the blog this summer and I’m not surprised, it disappeared from my kitchen in record time…I think it has something to do with that thick caramel frosting.
Strawberry Buttermilk Cake ~ this simple cake can be changed up with different fruits, and has become another reader favorite.
Apple Cider Doughnut Cake ~ is it fall yet? Because I can’t wait to make this pillowy soft bundt cake again.
Old Fashioned Zucchini Cake
- 9×13 baking pan
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups lightly packed shredded zucchini
- 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 8 ounces cream cheese completely soft
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, soft
- 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
- lemon juice about 1 Tbsp
- Preheat oven to 350F Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and cinnamon until smooth.
- Toss together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and add the bowl. Mix just until completely blended. Fold in the zucchini and the nuts.
- Turn the batter into your prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out without wet batter clinging to it (moist crumbs are fine.) Some ovens run hot or cool, so check carefully.
- Let the cake cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting beat the cream cheese and butter together until fluffy. Add the lemon juice and the sugar, one cup at a time, while beating. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add more sugar if the frosting is too thin, and a little more lemon juice or milk if it is too thick.