Zucchini Crumb Cake

Adapted from my award-winning zucchini bread recipe, this zucchini crumb cake is moist, cinnamon-spiced, and hidden with summer’s favorite green vegetable inside. Topped with a buttery brown sugar crumb topping and sweet vanilla icing, veggies for breakfast never tasted so good!

piece of zucchini crumb cake on a green plate

If you’re in the mood for sweet, there’s nothing better than cake topped with brown sugar cinnamon crumbs and a shower of vanilla icing. Unless that cake sneaks in a green vegetable that not only adds nutrition, but the moistest texture ever. (Please don’t let the nutritious zucchini fool you. This is not a healthy breakfast food!) I love baking with summer’s favorite ingredient– it adds flavorless moisture, so it’s delicious in a wide variety of recipes from chocolate zucchini cake and zucchini bread to zucchini oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and today’s zucchini crumb cake.

I made the pictured cake a couple weeks ago and had I not used the last zucchini for zucchini fritters, this coffee cake would’ve been on the weekend agenda, too. Let’s do this!

stack of 2 zucchini crumb cake pieces on a green plate

Why Bake with Zucchini?

I love baking with zucchini because:

  1. There are only so many zucchini side dishes to make. Zucchini is abundant in the summer months, and it’s fun to incorporate this vegetable when baking, too.
  2. Zucchini adds flavorless moisture– pure moisture with zero vegetable flavor. I wouldn’t bake a cake with a green vegetable if I could taste it. You bake carrot cake, right? It’s delicious, right? Well zucchini is even better. It’s truly a magical ingredient in your baked goods! By the way, have you tried my cream cheese zucchini muffins yet?

Since zucchini crumb cake doesn’t taste like vegetables, what does it taste like? Buttery cinnamon-spice cake with tender/crunchy/sweet crumb topping. Think of regular crumb cake but with more texture. We inhaled it. Reserving this for only the morning hours is a terrible idea. Zucchini crumb cake should be an any time and every time cake!

So here’s the real question: why NOT bake with zucchini?

Shredded zucchini on a white cutting board

Behind The Recipe

For today’s zucchini crumb cake, I used my crumb cake for inspiration and my zucchini bread as the recipe’s starting point. We make this bread several times each summer because it’s not only the best zucchini bread, but it’s also quick and freezes wonderfully.

I made a few changes to the original bread recipe for today’s crumb cake version:

  • Reduced the sugar because we’re topping the cake with crumble and vanilla icing.
  • Increased the baking powder so there’s a little more lift.
  • Reduced the cinnamon because there’s plenty in the crumb topping.
  • Swapped oil for melted butter because I can’t imagine a crumb cake without butter!!

Everything else stays the same: quick prep, simple ingredients, no mixer. You’ll need basic baking ingredients like flour, butter, cinnamon, sugar, egg, plus shredded zucchini.

Zucchini crumb cake batter in pink mixing bowl

Zucchini Crumb Cake Ingredients

We’ll use the same ingredients in the cake and the crumb topping, so it’s an extremely convenient recipe. Here’s what you need to make zucchini crumb cake:

Cake

  • Flour: Sturdy all-purpose flour is the base of this crumb cake.
  • Baking Powder & Baking Soda: Both leaveners help the cake rise.
  • Cinnamon & Nutmeg: Cinnamon adds warm, cozy flavor while nutmeg adds traditional bakery-style flavor.
  • Butter: Butter creates a wonderfully moist crumb.
  • Sugar: Use a combination of brown sugar and granulated sugar for more moisture and best taste and texture.
  • Egg: 1 egg binds everything together.
  • Salt & Vanilla Extract: Salt and pure vanilla extract add flavor. Try using homemade vanilla extract.
  • Zucchini: We’ll use 1 cup of shredded zucchini– about 1 medium. I recommend a box grater to shred the zucchini.

Crumb Topping

  • Flour: Flour adds substance and helps bind the topping together.
  • Brown Sugar: Brown sugar promises a soft, moist, sweet, and flavorful crumb topping layer.
  • Cinnamon: We can’t have crumb topping without cinnamon! Because we use cinnamon in both the cake and topping layers, this crumb cake is perfectly cinnamon-y.
  • Butter: Butter binds everything together and adds flavor.

Crumb cake topping in a glass bowl

overhead image of zucchini crumb cake in a glass pan after baking

Zucchini crumb cake with vanilla icing

Optional Icing

Zucchini crumb cake is delicious on it’s own, but we never say no to a little something extra! I like to add a drizzle of sweet vanilla icing while the cake is still warm so it seeps into all of the nooks and crannies. You can also use maple icing from my maple brown sugar cookies, brown butter icing from my brown butter apple blondies, or simply leave it plain.

Print
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piece of zucchini crumb cake on a green plate

Zucchini Crumb Cake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
  • Yield: serves 9-12
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Adapted from my award-winning zucchini bread recipe, this zucchini crumb cake is moist, cinnamon-spiced, and hidden with summer’s favorite green vegetable inside. Topped with a buttery brown sugar crumb topping and sweet vanilla icing, veggies for breakfast never tasted so good!


Ingredients

Crumb Topping

  • 1/2 cup (63g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, melted

Cake

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (188g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (115gunsalted butter, melted + slightly cooled
  • 1/3 cup (65g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (65ggranulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini, no need to blot dry)
  • optional: vanilla icing

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease an 8-inch or 9-inch square or round baking pan, springform pan, or pie dish or line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Make the crumb topping: With a fork, mix the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Mix in the melted butter. Don’t over-mix; you want the flour-y crumbles!
  3. Make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. Whisk the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg, and vanilla extract together in a medium bowl, then whisk in the shredded zucchini. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Batter will be thick. Pour/spread into prepared baking pan, then sprinkle the crumb topping evenly on top.
  4. Bake for 35-38 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out mostly clean with no wet batter. (A few moist crumbs are ok!) If you find the top of the cake is browning too quickly in the oven, loosely cover it with aluminum foil.
  5. Remove the cake from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to slightly cool for a few minutes before slicing. I suggest drizzling with vanilla icing while the cake is still warm!
  6. Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Freeze baked and cooled cake for up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature and drizzle with vanilla icing, if desired, before serving.
  2. Special Tools: Glass Mixing Bowls, Box Grater, Whisk, and Glass 8×8 Baking Dish
  3. 9×13-inch Crumb Cake: Doubling the recipe will be too much batter for a 9×13-inch cake pan. I recommend doubling the recipe, filling the pan halfway, then using any extra batter for muffins. Bake time for 9×13-inch crumb cake will be around 45-50 minutes, but use a toothpick to test for doneness. Instructions for baking zucchini muffins are below.
  4. Zucchini Crumb Cake Muffins: Make the crumb topping and batter as written. Grease a 12-count muffin pan or line with liners. Spoon the batter evenly into each liner, filling each all the way to the top. Press crumb topping into each. Bake the muffins for 5 minutes at 425°F (218°C) then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C). Bake for an additional 13-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total time these muffins take in the oven is about 18-21 minutes, give or take. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the muffin pan, then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling. Yield: about 12-14 muffins.

Keywords: zucchini crumb cake

slice of zucchini crumb cake on a green plate

67 Comments

  1. My 7 year old daughter triumphed with this recipe today. So delicious! We may have 1.5x on the topping 🙂

  2. This is an exhausting recipe. If you make one, your husband will demand another; be prepared for mass distribution of this recipe, to anyone who has the good fortune to swipe a slice before its gone.

    …Thank you!! Made with salted butter (didn’t have unsalted on hand), didn’t change anything else, and it was fantastic. I don’t normally bother printing off recipes, but I will for this one to make sure it is safe in my recipe box.

  3. These are delicious & so scrumptious! Thank you for another great recipe. I didn’t change anything, I only added 1/4 cup of walnutS & a pinch of salt to the crumb topping. The muffins were moist, just sweet enough & you can taste the butter, the cinnamon & nutmeg. I don’t think the icing is necessary, but if you’ve got a really sweet tooth, don’t leave it out.

  4. Love this recipe! It’s my go-to zucchini recipe. I make it exactly as you posted and sometimes I do 1.5x crumb topping because we need extra crumb topping some days. Today I replaced the white sugar for Stevia to reduce sugar. Thank you for another fantastic recipe!

  5. This was AMAZING! A total winner in my book, the entire family loved it! Definitely will double it and share next time! Yum!

  6. This recipe is AMAZING! It turned out really well and was well received. I left off the icing and added 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries to the batter. So good! Love your recipes Sally!

  7. Absolutely perfect! The entire cake disappeared faster than brownies typically do here…think that says something. Lol

    We’re tight on freezer space so it would easier to freeze shredded zucchini than another cake. Can I measure out the needed amount and then freeze or would you recommend measuring out after thawing?

    Thank you!!!!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Suzie, Either way should work, but freezing pre-measured portions might be easier so that you don’t have to defrost all of it at once. When you thaw the zucchini before using, just discard the excess water. Enjoy!

    2. Easy and extremely delicious. I used frozen shredded zucchini and it worked really well.

  8. This recipe is SO GOOD! I actually ended up making THREE of them this past weekend. One for us and two for friends. The best crumb cake I’ve ever had. I made it exactly as published, including the icing. My new go-to zucchini recipe! AMAZING!

  9. Giving this another 5 star review! I’ve made it as written, as muffins, and as a 9×13 cake and it is a huge hit every time! I didn’t have any extra batter when doubling the recipe for a 9×13 glass Pyrex – it actually fit perfectly. I could eat this cake everyday it is that good!

  10. Great recipe! Not just a good zucchini coffee cake, but a great coffee cake period. The family loved it, so this recipe will be going in the file too.

    My only regret is that our zucchini season is almost over and that I won’t get to taste this cake for another year.

  11. You had me at “seeps in all of the nooks and crannies”!! I will certainly make this very soon–especially after reading all of the positive comments.

  12. Merle Solomon says:

    This is my very favorite muffin recipe. I recently had to go low fodmap so just subbed better batter (gluten free) flour exactly and upped the zucchini and they came out wonderfully!

  13. This is the best crumb cake EVER. I can’t get enough of it. The recipe is great as written.

    I have also made this recipe using 3 ripe mashed bananas in place of the zucchini – and it was also delicious. I highly recommend trying this, too, if you have ripe bananas to use.

  14. Amazing! Made this as a loaf rather than a cake and it came out perfectly! Perfectly moist and sweetened. Thank you!

  15. WOOHOO!!! Also added carrots!! This recipe slaps

  16. I did this many times in a loaf pan & I found it even better with 2 modifications:
    – cut 1/2 cup of the flour from the cake
    – cut half the amount of crump

    The rest the same 🙂 enjoy

  17. One of the best baking recipes I’ve ever tried! It turned out exquisite in every single way that matters: appearance, texture, taste, and smell! It rose evenly, the crumb was delightful, and it was especially lovely paired with a cup of coffee! The results were so satisfying and delicious, it was reminiscent of a first class bakery treat (but better because it was fresh and homemade)! I added the suggested vanilla icing to make it extra pretty for visiting guests, and I’m glad I did because it disappeared light lightening over the weekend! Everyone loved it-and it remained as fresh and tasty on day 3 as it was on day one!! Will make this yummy masterpiece over and over, especially when our fresh garden zucchini comes in! Thank you for the PERFECT recipe, and keep up the great work, Sally!

  18. This is incredible! I usually make your Greek yogurt zucchini bread as muffins when I have extra zucchini lying around but I wanted to try something different this time, so I gave this cake a try and I’m so glad I did! Something happened to the edges of mine, they were quite hard so I was worried it got over baked but when I bit into the crispier/harder edge it almost tasted caramelized? Amazing!! I’m planning on making a couple this weekend for a coworker who’s helped me tremendously the last little while and also our landlord. Yay! Thank you for always giving me the tastiest zucchini recipes so I’m not wasting this delicious green vegetable.

  19. Suggestion: Since the butter and egg need to be ‘warm’, please note that as step one. They could sit on counter… Thanks

  20. Diana Seebode says:

    Made it this morning and just ate my first piece. Delicious!

  21. This is a delicious recipe and perfect to serve with coffee! Followed all directions without altering a thing, though we chose not to use the optional vanilla icing…the cake is sweet enough and perfect without it. Covered it with plastic wrap and warmed up slices of it in the morning with our coffee. Mornings can’t get much better than this!

  22. This was really good. I subbed coconut oil for butter and the crumb and I don’t recommend doing that. Next time I will skip the crumb part, as I found the cake to be so delicious in its own.

  23. Thanks For Sharing this amazing recipe. My family loved it. I will be sharing this recipe with my friends. Hope the will like it.

  24. Ok, I had to leave another comment because I have now made this cake about 6 times since I have an abundance of zucchini in the garden. I now add 1 and 1/2 cup of zucchini and it is also great. It is so moist and light and so addicting with a tea or coffee! I don’t make the crumb or icing and find it perfect without. Great recipe!!

    1. Hey Christine! I felt like it could’ve used a little more zucchini. I may try to add that same amount next time!

  25. Definitely one of the best crumb cakes I’ve made! The cake was very moist. The topping added the perfect amount of crunch. I went a little crazy with the vanilla drizzle so next time I may leave it off or do less as it overpowered some of the other flavors. I will make this again and again!

  26. Hi, Can I replace the egg with flax seed egg replacer ? Which is 1 Tbsp flax seed powder mixed with 3 Tbsp water.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ritu! We haven’t tested that substitution but let us know if you do!

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