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Zucchini Cakes with Brown Sugar Icing

By Chef Megan Joy / July 17, 2012

It happened every summer growing up. At some point in July, behind all the leaves and growth in the garden, a zucchini squash or two would go unnoticed for awhile.

With each passing day they would grow larger in size, turning into mammoth zucchinis the size of small baseball bats.

And then one day, watering the plants or picking other vegetables, we’d find them. We’d proudly twist them off the plant and plop them on the kitchen counter. “Mom! Check this out!”

Zucchini squash of any size are great for this recipe because they solely contribute moisture. So you can save the smaller, tender zucchini squashes for cooking.

My mom would bake these cupcakes when we were younger, and always during the summer (for obvious reasons). But nobody complained, as these are soft, tender, delicious spice cakes topped with an addictive brown sugar icing.

For me, they’ll always be a flavor associated with childhood summers.

How to bake this high altitude adjusted recipe:

Zucchini Cakes with Brown Sugar Icing (adapted from Taste of Home)

Zucchini Cakes with Brown Sugar Icing
Recipe type: High Altitude
  • Zucchini Cakes:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ canola oil
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1⅔ cup shredded zucchini
  • Brown Sugar Icing:
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cubed
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½-2 cups powdered sugar
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. To make the cakes, whisk together the eggs, sugar, canola oil, orange juice, and vanilla extract.
  3. In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk until almost combined.
  5. Add the shredded zucchini and fold until just mixed.
  6. Portion into lined or well-greased baking cups.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the tops spring back when lightly touched.
  8. Cool completely then top with Brown Sugar Icing.
  9. For the icing melt the brown sugar, butter, and milk together in a pot over medium heat.
  10. Bring to a boil and let bubble until it thickens slightly, about 2 minutes.
  11. Add the salt and vanilla. Cool to lukewarm.
  12. Beat in the powdered sugar until it reaches a spreadable consistency and frost cakes.
  13. Makes about 1½ dozen standard size cupcakes.

Note: This recipe was adjusted for making and baking at high altitude. To make at sea level, increase the sugar to 1 1/3 cups, baking powder to 2 teaspoons, and baking soda to 1 teaspoon. Reduce the zucchini to 1 1/2 cups. Increase the baking time to 20-25 minutes.

About the author

Chef Megan Joy

kelley {mountain mama cooks} - July 17, 2012

I love these! What kind of pan did you use? I’m sure I could just use my muffin pan for cupcakes but yours are so much cuter. (I just called a muffin cute.) And that frosting? Stop me now!

Deb - July 19, 2012

Zucchini glut is a sure sign summer has arrived! Your enticing petite cakes are a festive ode to summer’s bounty. The brown sugar frosting is just irresistible!

Cheryl - August 1, 2012

I just cannot wait to make these! They look sooooo fabulous!

Tabitha - September 24, 2014

Any idea how this batter would hold up as a sheet or bundt cake?

    Chef Megan Joy - September 28, 2014

    Hi Tabitha, this batter would work great baked into a sheet cake. I’m always hesitant to bake certain batters not intended for bundt pans at high altitude since they have a higher likelihood of collapsing in such a deep pan, but hey, you can always try it out! Happy baking 🙂

Ubtoblem - February 20, 2016

Sounds like you had a great and productive time! We did have a pick your own farm about a mile away from where we live and we would go faillfuthy ever couple of weeks. My son really enjoyed being able to pick his own but unfortunately,they ended up closing last summer due to lack of business. It always seemed busy to me but apparently a big commercial type farm basically stole all of their business. Now we have to pay 40-50% more than we did when we picked our own. 🙁

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