Old Fashioned Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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old fashioned zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting in a glass pan with forks

Old Fashioned Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting ~ a classic that’s a classic for a reason, this moist zucchini walnut cake is delicious even without the generous layer of fluffy cream cheese buttercream!

A pan of old fashioned zucchini cake with piece removed

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.

A zucchini sheet cake is a welcomed sight at any time of year, it’s one of those one size fits all desserts ~ wherever hungry people are gathered, zucchini cake just works.

grating zucchini for old fashioned zucchini cake

And anyway, 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.

Mixing the batter for old fashioned zucchini cake

Fold in 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.

Old fashioned zucchini cake cooling on a rack

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.

Luxurious view of cream cheese frosting on an old fashioned zucchini cake

Moist zucchini cake keeps well, but because of the buttery cream cheese frosting I would refrigerate it if you plan to keep it for more than a day.

A pan of old fashioned zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting

This luxe zucchini cake knocks it out of the park, I hope you give it a try, and be sure to let me know how it goes in the comments!

Old fashioned zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting ~ an easy sheet cake that everyone loves. #cake #sheetcake #homemade #easy #fromscratch #withcreamcheesefrosting #dessert #potluck #recipe #creamcheesefrosting #cinnamon #snackcake


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.

A piece of old fashioned peanut butter cake with fork

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake ~ this simple cake can be changed up with different fruits, and has become another reader favorite.

Girl holding a slice of Strawberry Buttermilk Cake

Apple Cider Doughnut Cake ~ is it fall yet?  Because I can’t wait to make this pillowy soft bundt cake again.

apple cider doughnut bundt cake with slice removed



Old Fashioned Zucchini Cake
Rate this recipe
2 ratings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Category: dessert

Cuisine: American, Southern

Yield: serves 12-16

Old Fashioned Zucchini Cake

Old Fashioned Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting ~ a classic that's a classic for a reason, this moist zucchini walnut cake is delicious even without the generous layer of fluffy cream cheese buttercream!


  • 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
  • 3 ounces (6 Tbsp) unsalted butter, soft
  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar
  • lemon juice, about 1 Tbsp


  1. Preheat oven to 350F Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and cinnamon until smooth.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Let the cake cool completely before frosting.
  6. 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.



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  • Reply
    August 30, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    I would love to make this cake, only thing is I am on Weight Watchers and 1 slice would be alot of my points. Too bad you don’t have a less fat and sugar recipe. I would try it then. Do you know the sat fat, sugar, calories and protein in this recipe

  • Reply
    August 29, 2018 at 7:03 am

    I look forward to trying this. Can the oil be split with half unsweetened applesauce and for a different flavor, may unsweetened cocoa be added for a chocolate version? If so, about how much. Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply
      August 29, 2018 at 7:23 am

      I think you can make the applesauce substitution without a problem Elizabeth. And I’m guessing you could substitute cocoa powder for an equal amount of flour. I’d start with maybe 1/3 ~ 1/2 cup cocoa? (maybe even add some chocolate chips.) Sounds like a nice idea!

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    July 30, 2018 at 9:54 pm

    Bring on the zucchini cake (and all the swirls of frosting!!).

  • Reply
    Linda Steiger
    July 30, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    Wish I’d known about this recipe years ago when we grew so many zucchini we fed them to the hens! Sent my husband to the farm stand today to buy some just to try this recipe! Sounds delicious!

    • Reply
      July 31, 2018 at 10:54 am

      Oh gosh, this is a much better use for all that zucchini ;)

  • Reply
    July 30, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    this is the BEST cake! only change i made was to brown the butter for the frosting and used toasted nuts in the cake and on top! thanks for the great recipe!!

    • Reply
      July 30, 2018 at 2:03 pm

      You’ve made it even better!

  • Reply
    Laura Bodnar
    July 28, 2018 at 8:56 am

    The old fashioned zucchini cake was wonderful. I threw it together for an impromptu visit from my husband’s Michigan cousins. After tasting it the general consensus was everyone was going home to buy zucchini! I’ll send them home with some from our garden. Thank you – this is a keeper <3

    • Reply
      July 28, 2018 at 9:11 am

      Thanks Laura ~ I love the idea of serving this cake and then sending your guests home with the zucchini to make it, I’m glad it was a hit.

  • Reply
    Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
    July 21, 2018 at 6:54 am

    Grabbing my zucchini today at the local farm stand!! Happy weekend Sue!

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    July 21, 2018 at 2:33 am

    I think you and I could fight over this cake, Sue! It looks crazy delicious with that thick, beautiful layer of fabulous icing. But if you invite me over for zucchini cake I promise I will try to behave.

  • Reply
    2 Sisters Recipes
    July 20, 2018 at 10:52 am

    I love this zucchini cake and the cream cheese frosting sounds wonderful!
    I am making this cake this weekend – thanks for the recipe !!

  • Reply
    July 20, 2018 at 9:00 am

    Hi Sue the zucchini cake sounds delicious especially since I’m growing organic zucchini from seed this year and they just flowered. I’m allergic to walnuts. Is there another nut that I can substitute? Thanks

    • Reply
      July 20, 2018 at 10:09 am

      You can definitely use pecans, Darlene, if you aren’t allergic to them, and of course you can leave the nuts out altogether without any problem…enjoy your harvest!!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    July 20, 2018 at 8:05 am

    Fabulous and so perfect for all the zucchini around right now :)

  • Reply
    July 20, 2018 at 7:28 am

    I am only getting a few zucchinis from my plant but I don’t mind buying some to make this delicious looking cake. Pinned!

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    July 20, 2018 at 7:03 am

    Perfect for the zucchini season! The cake looks marvelous with that silky smooth frosting.

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    July 20, 2018 at 6:10 am

    This makes me want to plant more zucchini just so I can make this wonderful cake. I bet it is so moist and tasty. Have a lovely weekend Sue!

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