This Zucchini Cake is like an incredibly moist carrot cake with a cream cheese frosting you’ll want to use over any spice cake! Made from grated zucchini and carrots, these zucchini bars are then baked in a sheet-pan to easier feed a crowd!
Love all-spice, cinnamon, or nutmeg? Try these incredible Cinnamon Rolls or our new favorite Pumpkin Waffles that you can easily use any winter squash in! As well as our one of a kind Oatmeal Raisin Cookies!
Best Zucchini Cake Recipe With Carrots
I love these bars! If I ever want to make a cake with grated zucchini, this is the spice cake I turn to. It’s the perfect way to use up some garden veggies (mind you I freeze my zucchini that I grate and freeze in 2 cup increments so, I can enjoy it any time of the season!) And if you want to skip the carrots and make plain zucchini bars that will work too! Zucchini adds moisture to a cake, like applesauce, bananas, or carrots in muffins, a carrot cake, and banana bread. It’s the ingredient hard to detect in a dessert so tasty and moist as this one!
My love for this cake struck, when Mary Beth brought this delicious spice cake to a Church Fellowship meal. The original recipe was called Shredded Zucchini Bars, which is a recipe from a Mennonite cookbook that won many compliments. The original recipe is amazing, but when I was craving a carrot cake and zucchini, the creativity arose and I ended up with this concoction! It is no doubt the most tender zucchini cake you can make from scratch! So, I’m sharing it with my readers because who doesn’t like a spice cake with cream cheese frosting? Make this into zucchini bread, muffins, or sheet cake but try these bars out, they’re incredible and healthy!
How To Freeze Zucchini for Cakes?
Garden Zucchini freezes very well. Once frozen simply thaw and use in recipes calling for grated zucchini. Keep all the excess liquid with shredded zucchini for cake recipes or muffins!
- How to freeze zucchini; wash and trim the zucchini.
- Using a box grater, grate the zucchini into shredded pieces. You can use the fine side or the coarser side (I used the coarser side with big holes.)
- Divide zucchini (with any excess liquid) into 2 cup portions using freezer bags.
- Freeze. Thaw as needed and use with the liquid for zucchini cake recipes or muffins.
Should I Drain the Liquid from Zucchini?
Cakes, muffins, and certain loaf desserts need the extra moisture for a tender crumb. Whenever you are using grated zucchini for desserts, you DO NOT have to drain or press out the liquid with paper towels. However, if you are making Zucchini Fritters, you may want to drain the liquid off to prevent soggy fritters.
Can I use Butter For The Cream Cheese Frosting?
Yes! The frosting calls for margarine but softened butter will work just as well. Keep in mind, butter hardens more once refrigerated so you may end up with a stiffer frosting once chilled.
Why Is My Frosting Runny?
Runny or Soupy frosting could be a result of melted margarine (or butter) or not enough powdered sugar. You want to soften the fat so it’s not in liquid form, and use the amount of icing sugar called for in successful results.
How to Quickly Soften Butter or Margarine in the Microwave:
- Place a stick of butter or margarine with the wrapper into the microwave (make sure it’s not foiled!)
- Microwave for 30 seconds in 5-second increments, rotating all sides. Margarine will take less time.
- Use in recipes calling for room temperature butter or margarine!
Can I omit The Carrots?
Yes! The original Zucchini Bars recipe I was inspired from had no carrots in the recipe. I was craving carrot cake and wanted to use shredded zucchini from my freezer to create this recipe. Regardless, it will still be moist and incredibly delicious!
Can I use Whole Wheat Flour?
The zucchini cake in my photos was half white flour and half freshly milled hard white wheat flour. As far as using 100% whole wheat you probably could, but the texture might be a little grittier from the whole grains.
Can I use melted Coconut Oil?
Yes! Go for the cooking kind that is preferably unscented, unless you want a coconut flavor (yum!)
Tips for The Best Zucchini Spice Cake:
- Freeze all your zucchini at the peak of its harvest, by grating and portioning into 2 cup portions. Then use throughout the year to make desserts by simply thawing and using with the liquid in recipes.
- Add chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts for additional texture.
- Throw in some raisins for extra flavor.
- Make into muffins by baking in a muffin tin.
Zucchini Cake with the Best Cream Cheese Frosting:
Zucchini Cake Recipe
- 10x15 sheet pan
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup canola oil
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups flour (used half white and half whole wheat)
- 1 tsp cinnamon (heaping)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 cup zucchini (grated)
- 1/2 cup carrots (grated)
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 3 oz cream cheese (softened)
- 1/2 cup margarine
- 1 tsp milk
- 2 cups powdered sugar
How To Make Zucchini Cake:
- Beat the oil and sugar. Mix in the eggs. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients.
- Fold in the grated zucchini (with liquid if using frozen) and carrots.
- Bake in a greased 10x15 sheet pan at 350°F for 25-30 minutes. Cool.
- Make the frosting by beating all the ingredients together. Frost over cooled cake and cut into 30 small bars.
- Zucchini- use freshly grated or frozen. Be sure to not drain any excess liquid from either when using.
- Chopped Nuts- use up to 1 cup of your favorite nuts.
- Margarine or Butter can be used for the frosting.
- Vanilla Flavoring- can be added.
- Oil- use any mild-flavored oils like vegetable, canola, and unscented coconut oil.