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!

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!) 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 to zucchini bread 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!

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

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!

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 for zucchini crumb cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Behind The Recipe

For today’s zucchini crumb cake, I used my crumb cake for inspiration and my award-winning 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 on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 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

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.

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

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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

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 (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)
  • 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

93 Comments

    1. Made this the other day and my family absolutely loved it! Have some old bananas on hand and wondering if i could use those as a replacement, if so how would I alter the recipe?

    2. Wish I was in that good smelling kitchen with you….thank you for simple recipes….keep up the good work …God bless

  1. Made it yesterday and it’s yummy! No one knew about the zucchini. It cooked really quickly in a 9 inch pan-glad I kept an eye on it. Thanks again Sally for the best recipes.

  2. This was amazing! We had a bunch of zucchini and yellow squash from our garden and I wanted to try making something new. I made it for the first time for my family. We devoured it. The next day I made two more; one as a welcoming gift for some new neighbors and one for my husband to share with his coworkers. They raved about it and said they devoured it. A few days later I made it for a party. Again, it was devoured. One lady told me her teen son ate multiple pieces and didn’t believe there was zucchini in it. This is definitely a keeper! I did choose to decrease the amount of crumble on the smaller cakes, and I also omitted the icing. In the future if I do add the icing it will be a light drizzle. Absolutely delicious though!

  3. This is the BEST! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made it in the last month! But I’ve tried, muffins, an 8×8 and 9×13. I’ve subbed in a mashed banana for about 1/3 of the sugar. My son can’t tell and he gobbles the cake down. Thanks so much for another spectacular recipe!

  4. Hi Sally, can i use this recipe to make donuts following your crumb cake donuts bake time? Also can i halve this recipe? Thank you!

    1. You can certainly cut the recipe in half and I bet it would be delicious baked as donuts. Let me know if you try it!

      1. Sally I’ve tried it and it was a success! Everyone complimented that the donuts were so soft and delicious! 😀

  5. I made this today, but wanted a bit of a healthier version, so I substituted some of the flour for whole wheat flour. I also substituted some of the brown sugar for Coconut palm sugar. I also added walnuts. This was delicious regardless of the healthier changes I made! It was also easy to make. Just a few bowls and a spoon. Everyone who tried it was pleased with it. Thanks Sally.

  6. THIS CAKE IS EXCEPTIONAL .. It was perfect. I will share it on my instagram account as soon as possible.

  7. Hi Sally! I really want to make this cake for my friends, but I can’t decide what to make for dinner that would pair well with it. Any suggestions?
    P.s. I love your blog!!!

    1. Hi Hannah, Since this is a dessert you don’t have to worry about pairing anything particular with it! I don’t have as many savory recipes but you can search the site by category if know you want chicken, seafood, pasta, etc.
      https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/recipe-index-categories/

  8. This cake was easy, fast to make and absolutely delicious. Thank you for sharing. Going to make it again!

  9. Hi there! I have frozen zucchini that I will be using for this recipe and the bread, do I need to thaw the zucchini and if so, do I drain the excess water? Thanks

  10. I haven’t baked with Zucchini in years. I have no idea what’s been wrong with me!!! This is so flavourful and moist. My 11-yr old daughter made it with very little help from me. She did try it but doesn’t like cinnamon so isn’t a fan of it. I asked her to add raisins and next time we are definitely doubling this! I’d love to send you a picture of her and her finished product but can’t add to this comment page.

  11. Hey Sally, I wasn’t sure which one of your recipes I should comment on since me and my partner have made mostly all, but I’m choosing this one as a staple favorite. I just wanted to let you know that before discovering this page I would have never called myself a cook/baker. My partner and I moved in together and in between finding jobs I decided to spend all my time going through your recipes. It has been such a fun time and learning experience for me. 6 months later and your site is still our favorite. We have tried others for baking and various recipes but always end up saying, “Does Sally have a recipe for this, or what does Sally’s site say”. I just wanted to let you know how much joy your sharing of recipes and baking has meant for us. Keep it up, we appreciate you!

    1. This is so nice to read!! Thank you so much for sharing and for taking the time to leave this comment, Madeline. So appreciated!

  12. Sally, this recipe looks delicious. I’m trying to find out how much carbs are in the cake and the icing. Thanks.

    1. Hi Elise, I’m unsure of the nutritional info of this recipe, but there are many great online calculators like this one: https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

    1. Hi Josie, for best results, I recommend sticking with all-purpose flour. If you try any gluten free substitutions, let me know.

      1. I will. Do you have any recipes that are keto friendly. I am trying to stick to my diet and be able to eat something sweet every so often.

      2. I don’t. I’m not well-versed in keto recipes. My website is traditional baking– sorry I can’t help!

  13. I made this recipe today and was amazed with the outcome. The cake rose beautifully and the crumble topping was perfectly cooked. I made the icing and drizzled it on the cake after it had been cooling on a rack for 5 minutes. I then made a cup of tea, cut a piece of the cake and devoured it in record time. It was absolutely delicious. What fun I had preparing this cake while self isolating. Many thanks, Sally. ❤️

  14. I eat low carb for medical reasons but I still love to bake for my family. I had a bite of this cake and thought, “Omg, this is dangerously good”. I had to wrap up the cooled cake and chuck it in the freezer before I devoured half of it by myself. The cake itself is buttery and slightly sweet with a beautiful soft, fluffy, and just barely chewy texture. The crispy crunch of the crumb topping brought it over the top. I did add a little salt to the crumb topping to offset the sweetness and a handful of rolled oats for more texture. I used slightly cooled browned butter in the batter and for the icing. It added a nice toasty, nutty depth of flavor. I know how big of a fan of browned butter and brown sugar you are, Sally, and this recipe is an excellent example of it!

  15. I made this cake today and used a 9X13inch pan – after reading your comments I decided to make 1 and 1/2 times the mix and it fit the 9x13inch pan perfectly. I followed the recipe by weight and found that the crumb turned into a bit of a paste so added a bit more flower and it turned out super crunchy and delicious (next time I’ll add the butter more slowly and maybe leave a little out)! I also tried some lemon zest and did a lemon icing as I was really craving lemon – it’s the first time just a little zest was really noticeable in cake, I wonder if the zucchini did that? It’s got me thinking of lemon and zucchini possibilities – my boyfriend ate half the cake in an afternoon so it’s definitely been a hit in my house! thank you for the recipe

  16. Making it for the first time, I decided to double the recipe and make some cupcakes with the excess. Delicious and a nice consistency to it as well.

  17. Hello from Spain!! I baked this cake yesterday and I had to freeze half of it because I couldn’t stop eating. It’s delicious!!! My 8 year son said it was the best cake I’ve made this week… and I’ve been baking a lot!
    I love your recipes, Sally!

  18. This was amazing! I subbed 1/2 the butter for applesauce and it tasted great. Also used mostly brown sugar + cinnamon for the crumb topping as I prefer it that way.

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