Zucchini Crumb Cake

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Zucchini crumb cake is moist, spiced with cinnamon, topped with brown sugar crumble, and sweet vanilla icing! You can't even tell you're eating your veggies! Delicious coffee cake recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

It was one of those perfect summer weekends I didn’t want to end. I was a student in a French pastry class* with my assistant Stephanie, Kevin and his buddy went for a long bike ride, we went swimming in our neighbor’s pool, Noelle loved kicking and splashing in our arms, we followed the pool with some BBQ and homemade no-bakes, then we finished it with a lazy Sunday.

The ONLY thing that would’ve made the weekend even sweeter is a giant piece of zucchini crumb cake. I made the pictured cake a couple weeks ago and had I not used the last zucchini for zucchini fritters earlier in the week, this coffee cake would’ve been on the weekend agenda.

*I’ll share more about the French pastry class soon!

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Zucchini crumb cake is moist, spiced with cinnamon, topped with brown sugar crumble, and sweet vanilla icing! You can't even tell you're eating your veggies! Delicious coffee cake recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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!!!)

BEHIND THE RECIPE

I used the award-winning family zucchini bread recipe as a starting point. My husband grew up making this zucchini bread with his family, who entered it into the Maryland State Fair… and won! We make it several times each summer because not only is it LITERALLY THE BEST ZUCCHINI BREAD, it’s quick and freezes like a dream.

Here’s what I changed for the crumb cake version:

  • I reduced the sugar because we’re topping it with crumble and vanilla icing.
  • I increased the baking powder so there’s a little more lift.
  • I reduced the cinnamon because there’s plenty in the crumb topping.
  • I 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’re using the same ingredients in the cake as you are the crumb topping, so it’s an extremely convenient recipe. All basics like flour, butter, cinnamon, sugar, egg, plus shredded zucchini. I recommend a box grater to shred.

Shredded zucchini for zucchini crumb cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Why Bake with Zucchini?

I received this question a lot last summer, so it’s worth bringing up again.

There are 2 reasons why you should bake with zucchini:

  1. Because summer = plenty of zucchini! And there’s only so many zucchini side dishes you can make.
  2. Two words: 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!

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

Zucchini crumb cake batter in pink mixing bowl on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Crumb cake topping for zucchini crumb cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Zucchini crumb cake is moist, spiced with cinnamon, topped with brown sugar crumble, and sweet vanilla icing! You can't even tell you're eating your veggies! Delicious coffee cake recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Since it doesn’t taste like vegetables, what does zucchini crumb cake taste like? Buttery cinnamon-spice cake with tender/crunchy/sweet crumb topping. Think of regular crumb cake but with more flavor, more moisture, and more texture. All the good stuff. 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!

Zucchini crumb cake is moist, spiced with cinnamon, topped with brown sugar crumble, and sweet vanilla icing! You can't even tell you're eating your veggies! Delicious coffee cake recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Zucchini crumb cake is moist, spiced with cinnamon, topped with brown sugar crumble, and sweet vanilla icing! You can't even tell you're eating your veggies! Delicious coffee cake recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Zucchini Crumb Cake

Ingredients:

Crumb Topping

  • 1/2 cup (60g) 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 (185g) 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 (115g) unsalted butter, melted + slightly cooled
  • 1/3 cup (65g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (65g) granulated 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)
  • vanilla icing (optional)

Directions:

  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.

Make ahead tip: Freeze baked and cooled cake for up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature and drizzle with vanilla icing, if desired, before serving.

Recipe Notes:

9x13-inch crumb cake: Doubling the recipe will be too much batter for a 9x13-inch cake pan. I recommend doubling the recipe, filling the pan halfway, then using any extra batter for muffins. Bake time for 9x13-inch crumb cake will be around 45-50 minutes, but use a toothpick to test for doneness. Instructions for baking zucchini muffins are below.

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.

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Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

Glass Mixing Bowls | Box Grater | Whisk | Glass 8×8 Baking Dish | Green Plates

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

61 Comments

  1. You know how obsessed I am with your Raspberry Almond Crumb Cake, Sally, having made it 9 times in a month! I don’t see how anything can replace it but since you posted this, I’m going to give it a go. Do you think using fresh blueberries and the same crumb topping from the raspberry cake would work here?

  2. Sally, I was so excited to see this recipe today! I actually have so much zucchini on my kitchen counter now and my husband keeps bringing in more from the garden.
    I make your chocolate zucchini bread and or muffins continually and freeze them. This is a family favorite and wonderful “gifting” food.
    I’ll be making this coffee cake tonight and many more times after that. Thank you so very much for all the time and effort you put into your recipes and then sharing with us.
    Blessings upon you and your family,
    maureen

    1. Hi Maureen, Thank you for such a kind comment! I’m thrilled that you have been using my recipes with your bounty of fresh zucchini!

  3. Got this giant zucchini that no one want to eat maybe shredding part of it for the crumb cake will get it off my counter!

  4. I can’t believe I still haven’t made the zucchini bread!! Had to go grocery shopping this morning and when I saw you posted this recipe this morning zucchini immediately went on my grocery list. I am with Joyce above. That Raspberry crumb cake was superb, although I haven’t made it 9 times yet!!!

      1. Absolutely delicious!! I made this in a 9″ square pan and I love that this cake had a little crispiness to the edges and yet the cake was moist and delicious. I added just a pinch of cinnamon to the vanilla glaze and it was beyond good! Thank you for yet another great recipe!!

  5. Gah!!!! This brings back memories of my childhood. My mom always had zucchini growing in her garden & we always seemed to have more zucchini then we knew what to do with. Naturally much of it went into zucchini nut bread which mom then froze so that we could enjoy throughout the winter. Loving your addition of the crumble & glaze. It really sends it over the top.

  6. Ahh! Two summers ago my garden produced a zillion zucchinis and I tried at least 15 new zucchini recipes—I was putting those bad boys in EVERYTHING. Then last year, after I’d looked forward to doing it again, no zucchinis grew! Huh?! We had a theory about what happened and thought we solved the problem, but again, not a single zucchini yet (but if you need a cucumber, hit me up…) Whyyyyyy???? This recipe looks DElicious. I guess I’m going to have to break down and buy some at the farmer’s market instead because this I’ve gotta try!

  7. Can I make muffins out of this recipe? If so, what size, how long to bake? I just got a request from a friend to make her a crumb topped muffin using her home grown zucchini.
    Of course when I saw your recipe in my email today I got excited…I am UP to the challange! Can you help?

  8. This sounds amazing!! they don´t sell zucchini where I live, there is something similar, I am going to post a picture of it on your blog and hope someone can tell me if I can use that variation of zucchini. I did your raspberry almond crumb cake yesterday for the first time and it is out of this world!! BUT… I seem to not master the crumb!! I never get those beautiful pieces of crumb. Do you think that in the future you could do one of those short videos showing us how to make a perfect crumb??? thank you!

    1. That’s a great idea. I’ll work crumb topping into a video we film in the future. Sorry you have trouble with it! My number one tip, though, is to under mix.

  9. Can this be baked in a loaf pan for a crumb-topped zucchini bread? I wondered if it would be to loose or crumby?

  10. Sally I love to try this recipe and let you know ! Of course I already love it and a note I like bigger zucchini haha 🙂

  11. I made this last night at 9:30pm! I was so excited to bake it! It turned out sooo yummy and had a great crunchy topping. Definitely a keeper!

  12. This is wonderful! I am overrun with zucchini this summer and I was so happy to see that you posted this recipe. I printed it out right away and baked it the same day. I picked blueberries last week so I also added a couple of handfuls of those to the batter and I can highly recommend that. I gave a piece to my 2.5 year old daughter and she ate off the crumb topping and left the rest. Maybe I shouldn’t let her do that, but clearly she has the same priorities as her mother (crumb topping is life!!), plus then I got to eat more cake 🙂

  13. Oh my gosh, this is so good! My house smelled wonderful while it was baking, and I could barely wait for it to cool before I dove in for a bite. I love the crunchy topping.

  14. I am a fan & have made many of your recipes, but this is my first time commenting 🙂 Made the muffins yesterday and my 13 year old son and my husband both have already asked for more!! They turned out great!! Thank you for your recipes

  15. I’m a bit confused because you suggest using pans that are of all different volumes but with the same bake time. If I use a smaller pan, the cake will be much thicker and I assume will need longer to bake. If I use a larger pan, the cake might be inappropriately thin. What volume of pan is actually idea for this recipe? Thanks!

    1. Hi Megan! I don’t understand your question. The directions for a 9×13 inch cake use a little more batter and a longer bake time. The muffins take less time. The pictured cake, a 9×9-inch, is what is instructed in the recipe and takes 35-38 minutes.

      1. The original recipe reads, “Grease an 8-inch or 9-inch square or round baking pan, springform pan, or pie dish…” Those are all REALLY differently-sized pans. I was going to use a 9″ square pan (approximate volume of 8 cups), but the volume of batter was so low that I changed to a 9″ round pan (approximate volume of 6 cups) and the cake was already quite thin in there. So, not sure how a recipe which generates a fixed volume of batter can be accommodated by pans of different volume.

  16. Hi Sally!
    I’d like to try the receipt, but planning to make a layer cake. What do you think about it? Will it be possible to assemble the cake with the layers from this receipt? Or is it too crumby?
    Thanks!

  17. I made the cake this afternoon as specified; however it was a tad too salty so I will decrease the salt to 1/8 tsp as opposed to the suggested 1/2 tsp. The variance may be due to my preference as it was not overbearing and the overall cake was delicious. The spices were spot on and the cake had a moist tender crumb. Note that I did not use the vanilla icing as the cake was sweet enough without it

  18. While this looks absolutly delicious it sure is not the solution to an abundance of zucchini as it only calls for 1 cup. That’s hardly the solution

  19. Well, I tried to convert this recipe to gluten free. I found a gf recipe that was similar but yours looks very different from mine. The taste was great, but when you use gf flour for a crumb topping it just doesn’t work as well. It did rise well and tasted great! Thanks for the recipe.

  20. I wentnto make this today… bought zucchini Saturday… I guess my house is humid.. because all 3 of them were rotted! So I tossed them and shredded a granny smith and a gala apple.. and made apple crumb cake! Smells so good. Hope it tasts as good as it smells.

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