Zucchini Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting
With an August birthday and a garden that cranks out zucchini in the summer heat, this has become my favorite birthday cake.
And it was never planned! I had a favorite zucchini bread recipes and wondered how that bread would taste baked in a cake pan. Plus, a reader passed along a wonderful brown sugar cream cheese frosting recipe with a deep, rich flavor, and I knew that frosting was destined for the zucchini bread/cake crossover.
It’s a little like the magic created by a carrot cake, only better. Now, I just need to find someone each August to bake me this cake. And if that’s not possible, then I just bake it myself!
ZUCCHINI CAKE WITH BROWN SUGAR FROSTING RECIPE:
Makes: 12 servings | Prep: 45 to 50 minutes | Bake: 30 to 35 minutes
For the cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans (see Note)
2 packed cups grated zucchini (about 1 pound)
Brown Sugar Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
8 tablespoons (1 stick) lightly salted butter, at room temperature
1 firmly packed cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mist two 9-inch round cake pans with vegetable oil spray and dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour and set the pans aside.
Place the flour, cinnamon, soda, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl and stir to combine well. Set aside.
Place the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and blend with an electric mixer on low speed until they are combined. Increase the mixer to medium and blend until lemon colored, 2 minutes. Add the oil and vanilla and blend 1 minute, until combined. Fold in the dry ingredients and walnuts, if desired. Fold in the zucchini. Stir with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are well combined. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans, and place the pans in the oven.
Bake until the cake layers test done by pressing the top lightly with your fingers so they spring back, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the layers from the oven, and let them cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and shake the pans gently to loosen the cakes. Invert the cakes onto racks to cool right-side up. Let cool 30 minutes before frosting.
For the frosting, with an electric mixer, blend the cream cheese and butter together until fluffy. Add the brown sugar and vanilla and beat until well combined, 2 to 3 minutes.
To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a plate, and cover with about 1/3 cup frosting, spreading to the edges. Place the second layer on top. Place about 1 cup frosting on top of the cake, and spread decoratively. Use the rest of the frosting to thinly frost the sides of the cake in smooth strokes. If desired, press toasted walnuts or pecans around the sides or on top of the cake. Slice and serve.
Note: Instead of folding chopped walnuts or pecans into the cake batter, you can lightly toast them at 350 degrees F for 3 to 4 minutes, then press them onto the top or sides of the cake as garnish.