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Adapted from my award-winning zucchini bread recipe, this zucchini crumb cake is moist, cinnamon-spiced, and packed with summer’s bountiful green vegetable. Finished with a buttery brown sugar crumb topping and velvety vanilla icing, everyone will beg to have veggies for breakfast!

Reader Susie says: “Absolutely perfect! The entire cake disappeared faster than brownies typically do here…think that says something.”

piece of zucchini crumb cake on a green plate

This zucchini crumb cake doesn’t taste like vegetables at all, and that’s a promise!

Zucchini Crumb Cake Details

  • Texture: Today’s breakfast dish is soft, moist, and cakey just like my original crumb cake recipe.
  • Flavor: Expect a flavorful cinnamon-spice cake with extra goodness from the sweet, buttery crumb topping. 
  • Ease: This recipe can be prepared ahead of time and then whipped out the next time you’re hosting a special breakfast or brunch. You can freeze the baked and cooled cake for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy it, bring it to room temperature first and then drizzle with fresh vanilla icing, if desired, before serving.

And bonus: You don’t even need a mixer to make it!

stack of 2 zucchini crumb cake pieces on a green plate

Zucchini’s Magical Disappearing Act!

I enjoy zucchini in many baked goods beyond classic zucchini bread and zucchini muffins and I know you will too– have you tried zucchini oatmeal cookies and chocolate zucchini cake yet? 

Here’s why you should bake with zucchini:

  1. Zucchini adds pure moisture with zero vegetable flavor. I wouldn’t bake a cake with a green vegetable if I could taste it. It’s like using carrots to make a delicious carrot cake, except that zucchini hides even better. It’s truly magical in its disappearing act in baked goods.
  2. There are only so many zucchini side dishes to make! (Zucchini Fritters, anyone?!) Zucchini grows abundantly in the summer, and it’s fun to incorporate this vegetable when baking during its peak season. Would your neighbors prefer you show up at their door with fresh zucchini from your garden or a homemade zucchini crumb cake?
Shredded zucchini on a white cutting board

Key Ingredients You Need & Why

  • Flour: Sturdy all-purpose flour is the base of this crumb cake.
  • Butter: It creates a wonderfully moist crumb.
  • Sugar: A combination of brown and granulated sugars in the cake batter adds more moisture and the best taste and texture. Using only brown sugar in the crumb topping ensures a soft, sweet crumb.
  • Zucchini: We’ll use 1 cup of shredded zucchini, which is roughly equivalent to 1 medium-sized zucchini. I recommend a box grater to shred the vegetable.
  • Cinnamon: We can’t have crumb topping without cinnamon! Because we use cinnamon in both the cake and topping layers, this zucchini crumb cake is perfectly cinnamon-y.
Zucchini crumb cake batter in pink mixing bowl
Crumb cake topping in a glass bowl
Zucchini crumb cake with vanilla icing

Optional Icing

Feel free to dress the zucchini breakfast cake up with a drizzle of vanilla icing. I like topping the cake with icing while it’s still warm, so it seeps into all of the nooks and crannies. You could also use maple icing from my maple brown sugar cookies, brown butter icing from my brown butter apple blondies, or simply leave the cake plain—that crumb topping is delicious all on its own!

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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 912 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Adapted from my 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

Scale

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

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. This is the best thing I have ever baked to date! Sally’s done it again! If you are a crumb cake lover and have a lot of zucchini from your garden, this is the recipe you NEED to use. I’ve made 3 cakes so far, and they’ve come out perfectly every time. I highly recommend making and pouring Sally’s vanilla icing over the top for some extra sweetness 🙂 11/10 !!!

  2. Made this into muffins today is a big hit with elderly where I LIve thanks for recipe

  3. Your web site really sucks on smart phones. Pop up ad after pop up ad, and you can’t really see the recipe at all. At one point I had 4 pop up ads almost completely obscuring the recipe.

    Fire your web devloper

  4. This is a great recipe. I made some additions as follows, and I think it really elevated it into a *really* special late summer / fall cake:

    Double the crumb mixture and add 3/4 cups chopped pecans. YES, DOUBLE IT.

    Add more cinnamon to all of it.

    Add 3/4 sour cream to the cake batter. A huge dollop with do.

    Thin slice a peeled apple or two and layer the slices between two layers of cake batter. (Cake batter, apple slices, cake batter, crumb topping)

    Definitely make and use the icing but add 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon to it.

    If you follow these suggestions, you MUST use a 9 by 13 pan. DON’T double the cake batter, just the crumb, it bakes up perfect in 35 – 40 minutes.

  5. Delicious!Making multiple batches as muffins and freezing them to enjoy through the winter. I added an extra 1/2 cup of zucchini to each batch to use up the volume of zucchini we’re blessed with this season. Thank you for all of the explanations with your recipes!

  6. What would be the best size pan for this as it says an 8 or 9inch pan. I have both, so a bit unsure what would yield the best results..

    thank you.

    1. Hi Heather! Either will work. We love the nice thick cake that an 8×8 pan yields!

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