Lightened Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Lightened Zucchini Cake

A lot of kids tend to turn up their noses at zucchini. I like green zucchini, especially when it's turned into Zucchini Coins, but admittedly it's one of those vegetables that can taste limp and bland if not prepared with some extra love.

My mom used to take pounds of grated zucchini and create a rockin' cake with it when I was a kid. Moist with a tender crumb, it was one of those treats I always looked forward to eating.

A few weeks ago I received an email from a reader requesting a lightened up version of her family's cherished Zucchini Cake recipe which had been passed down over the years. She sent me the recipe to see if I could figure out a way to reduce the huge amounts of sugar it called for, 3 cups to be exact.

I cut out the white sugar, swapping it out for just a half cup of brown sugar to sweeten it up, and what resulted was almost like a tea cake. With the addition of whipped cream cheese frosting swirled on top of each square I was really happy with how it turned out. This is a recipe that will hopefully stay in your family's recipe box for years to come!

Lightened Zucchini Cake 2

Zucchini Cake 2

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Lightened Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (makes 1 8-inch square cake)

Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 40 mins


  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated zucchini (3-4 small zucchini)
  • 3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • Cream Cheese Frosting: greek yogurt
  • 1 cup whipped cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons honey


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In the bowl of a standing mixer, or with an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

4. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture, until just combined. Fold in the zucchini, coconut and walnuts.

5. Pour batter into a greased 8-inch square cake pan.

6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

7. Serve as is or allow to cool completely and then frost.

8. To make the cream cheese frosting: combine ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine well.

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Hi, I’m Catherine. Mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.