This Spiced Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is what sweet dreams are made of, y’all. The most perfect little snacking cake full of warm spices, hidden veggies, and slathered with luscious cream cheese frosting. Wanna use up that garden zucchini or love zucchini-forward recipes? This cake is calling your name!

spiced zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting cut into squares on parchment paper

I love a good baking session for any occasion but especially for special events and/or holiday’s. With the start of Spring here, I’m fully in my baking element. Yours truly is working on a few new sweet treats to bring to you that are absolute bangers. First up, this zucchini cake. And if you celebrate Easter, it’s the ultimate little dessert to add to your lineup. It’s my newest obsession.

Spiced Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting 😍 (ily, ily!)

Oh my gah, I have a lot of desserts on the site that make me weep, and this new one right here is the latest one to do so. Friends, this zucchini cake is such a delight! It’s super moist, laced with warm spices like cinnamon and cardamom, filled with zucchini goodness, and slathered in fluffy cream cheese frosting, yasss. It has that “snacking cake” vibe that you can serve up as a full-on dessert or enjoy it with a warm cup of coffee/tea. ⇢ The best zucchini cake, ever!

If you’re new here, I don’t play when it comes to sweets. Listen, just take a look at my reader-fave, lemon sweet rolls or this rum cake, and these funfetti pudding cookies or lemon sheet cake– desserts are my specialty mmkay 🫶🏾

closeup of zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting on parchment paper

What You’ll Need To Make This Spiced Zucchini Cake Recipe

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • All-purpose flour: I use this traditional flour. Please know that no other types of flour have been tested for this recipe except for gluten-free 1:1 baking flour.
  • Baking soda: The leavening agent of choice here.
  • Warm spices: Ground cinnamon and cardamom add such a nice, warm depth.
  • Salt: To help balance all the other flavors.
  • Eggs: For structure and texture, eggs provide exactly that in baking.
  • Coconut oil: I love using melted coconut oil for this cake. Although, feel free to use vegetable oil or any other unflavored oil of choice.
  • Coconut sugar: This cake is naturally sweetened because of coconut sugar, adding a feel-good, chef’s kiss element to this recipe that sings. However, packed brown sugar will also be clutch, too!
  • Maple syrup: Another flavor bomb is pure maple syrup in this cake as it provides additional yumminess and contributes to moisture.
  • Vanilla extract: Classic baking flavoring, check.
  • Milk: For consistency and overall cake texture, I use whole milk. Feel free to use 2% milk and even alt milks like almond and oat milk.
  • Zucchini: The star of the show, zucchini! I love this signature summer squash, it adds so much fiber-packed goodness and huge moistness to baked goods. And guess what, you barely even notice that it’s in the cake, ha! 🤣
  • Walnuts: For texture, it adds a nice little crunch- or pecans work as well.
  • For the frosting: butter, cream cheese, vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract), pinch of salt, and powdered sugar. This frosting tho…so fluffy, so dang good!
ingredients for spiced zucchini cake laid out on beige surface

Recipe Highlights & Why You’ll Love This Zucchini Cake

  • SIMPLE & EASY– This spiced zucchini cake recipe is very much straightforward with no frills and no fuss at all. The zucchini cake batter comes together in a pinch and so does the luscious cream cheese frosting.
  • MOIST CAKE, MMM– There’s so many ingredients in this cake that yields a super moist cake. The eggs, oil, maple syrup, milk, and zucchini all work together and bake up beautifully into one deeply-plush, moist af cake.
  • HIDDEN GOODNESS– That’s right, zucchini is packed with an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. At the forefront is its fiber-packed content that you can appreciate here. And pssst, if you’re not a fan of zucchini (or side-eyeing the very ingredient itself in this cake), you really don’t even realize that it’s baked in there, real talk.
  • COZY, INTIMATE DESSERT– This cutie lil’ spiced zucchini cake bakes up in a 9×9-inch baking pan which makes it great for a smaller crowd. It’s the perfect sweet tooth situation for a cake that cozily serves just a few folks.

How To Make This Spiced Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting:

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9×9-inch square baking pan with nonstick baking spray. Then line the pan with parchment paper with a bit of overhang on the sides, and spray again. Get the zucchini ready by grating it using a box grater. Then place the shredded zucchini in a paper towel or cheesecloth to squeeze out the excess moisture.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt. Whisk the dry ingredients well to combine and set aside. In a large bowl, add the eggs, oil, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and milk. Carefully whisk the wet ingredients well until fully combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in the grated zucchini and walnuts until the cake batter is just combined. Then pour the cake batter into the prepared baking pan, smoothing the top if needed.
  3. Bake the cake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Then move the cake onto a wire rack to continue cooling. Let the cake cool down completely before frosting.

Finishing This Zucchini Cake 🤩

  1. For the cream cheese frosting: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a medium bowl using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Then add the vanilla bean paste (or extract) and salt, and continue beating until combined. Add the powdered sugar and continue beating until the frosting is well combined and silky smooth.
  2. Spread the cream cheese frosting over the cooled cake. Garnish the cake with more chopped walnuts (or pecans), if desired. Then go on and slice your spiced zucchini cake into wedges and serve immediately. Enjoy!
spiced zucchini cake slices on parchment paper

Tips + Tricks, FAQs & More

You may have additional questions about this zucchini cake recipe. Like other recipes, I always advise sticking to the recipe as it is written in the recipe card directly below. However, here’s some extra info you might find helpful:

  • Baking with zucchini– This vegetable has a high water content. So, squeezing out that excess moisture is crucial for your cake to have the right texture. Wrap the grated zucchini in paper towel and squeeze as much moisture out from it as you can (or use a cheesecloth to do the same).
  • Gluten-free needs? Swap the all-purpose flour for any gluten-free baking flour as a 1:1 ratio (we love Bob’s Red Mill gf flour!).
  • Can I make this cake vegan? I haven’t tested this spiced zucchini cake using flax eggs as an egg substitute. However, it just might work (peep my friend, Jessica’s recipe!). Obvi, use alt milk (in the cake batter), and vegan butter + vegan cream cheese (for the frosting) as well. Let me know if you try ♡
  • Zucchini cake variations– This cake, as written, is a tasty dreamboat. But grated carrot, as a 1:1 ratio, can also be used in place of zucchini for a carrot cake moment if you’d like (no need to squeeze grated carrot).

How To Store This Spiced Zucchini Cake

This zucchini cake will keep fresh when stored inside of an airtight container (those cake domes are excellent!) for 4-5 days in the refrigerator. If you’d like, you can keep it on the counter (covered for freshness) for a day or two. You can even freeze this cake with or without the frosting, too!

To freeze, wrap leftover cake in plastic wrap, first. Then cover the plastic wrapped cake completely in foil. It will keep in the freezer for about 2 months. Allow the cake to thaw overnight in the fridge, and then make sure it’s at room temperature prior to frosting (only if the cake is unfrosted). Serve!

spiced zucchini cake slices with cream cheese frosting and walnuts on top

I know this Spiced Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is one y’all will absolutely love. I adore this cake so much! Be sure to tag @butterbeready in your BBR recipe creations, I sure love to see it when you do. Until next time! 🤟🏾

More desserts & sweets you’ll enjoy:

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spiced zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting cut into squares on parchment paper

Spiced Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 15m
  • Cook Time: 30m
  • Total Time: 45m
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Desserts & Sweets
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Spiced Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is what sweet dreams are made of, y’all. The most perfect little snacking cake full of warm spices, hidden veggies, and slathered with luscious cream cheese frosting. Wanna use up that garden zucchini or love zucchini-forward recipes? This cake is calling your name!


Ingredients

Scale

For the zucchini cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil (or any neutral oil)
  • 1 cup coconut sugar (or packed brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (we use whole milk)
  • 1 medium zucchini, shredded & then squeezed of excess moisture with a paper towel or cheesecloth (about 1 cup grated zucchini, packed)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans), plus more for garnish

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces block-style full-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9×9-inch square baking pan with nonstick baking spray. Then line the pan with parchment paper with a bit of overhang on the sides, and spray again. This ensures that the parchment paper adheres well to the pan and acts as a double measure to prevent any sticking- then set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt. Whisk the dry ingredients well to combine and set aside. In a large bowl, add the eggs, oil, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and milk. Carefully whisk the wet ingredients well until fully combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in the grated zucchini and walnuts until the cake batter is just combined. Then pour the cake batter into the prepared baking pan and use an offset spatula to smooth the top, as needed.
  3. Bake the cake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Then move the cake onto a wire rack to continue cooling. Let the cake cool down completely before frosting.
  4. For the cream cheese frosting: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a medium bowl using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Then add the vanilla bean paste (or extract) and salt, and continue beating until combined. Add the powdered sugar and continue beating until the frosting is well combined and silky smooth.
  5. Spread the cream cheese frosting over the cooled cake. Garnish the cake with more chopped walnuts (or pecans), if desired. Slice the spiced zucchini cake into 9-12 wedges or into 16 wedges for a cutie lil’ snacking cake vibe, and serve. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. For best recipe success, please read the blog post & notes in its entirety with video tutorial before beginning.
  2. Gluten-free needs? Swap the all-purpose flour for any gluten-free baking flour as a 1:1 ratio (we love Bob’s Red Mill gf flour!).

Keywords: zucchini cake, spiced zucchini cake, zucchini, cream cheese frosting, sheet cake, zucchini desserts, baking with zucchini