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Zucchini Cake with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

Zucchini and Lime Cake

Zucchini is great for baking because it can add a whole lot of moisture to a baked good. It can show up in cakes and quickbreads, just as carrots can. It is often paired with chocolate and over time I’ve noticed why: green is not a color that blends into a cake that easily (nor is it one that you expect to see in a cake) and chocolate can easily disguise it. Zucchini doesn’t add much flavor to a cake – again, like carrots in a cake – so there really is no need to hide its color if you don’t mind it. I don’t mind it at all, and you can see plenty of zucchini in this Zucchini and Lime Cake with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting.

This sheet cake uses up a lot of zucchini. Depending on what size your squash are, you should be able to fit in about 4 or 5 of them – which is quite a feat during zucchini season! The cake is ultra-moist and tender, and while you can see all those little green flecks in the cake, the hint of lime flavor both in the cake and in the frosting makes you think of lime, not just of zucchini, when you see them. The cake uses melted butter and can be mixed up in one bowl.

I cooled my cake right in the pan and put the frosting in a nice, thick layer on top. The sweet cream cheese frosting goes amazingly well with the moist, not-too-sweet cake and everything is tied together with the lime. Be sure to use fresh lime juice in the frosting, as that is what will bring in the most dramatic source of lime flavor and you want it to be bright. This is a great cake for making at home and muching your way through on a lazy, end-of-summer weekend, but it is the kind of cake that would also be a big hit at a barbecue or potluck if you want to serve a crowd. And, just like carrot cake again, you can always tell yourself that you’re getting an extra serving of veggies when you reach for that second slice.


Zucchini Cake with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp lime zest
4-oz (approx. 1/3 cup) unsweetened applesauce
3-4 cups shredded zucchini (4-5 medium)

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-in baking pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, eggs, melted butter, vanilla, lime zest and applesauce until very smooth. Stir in flour mixture and mix only until just combined, with no streaks of flour remaining. Stir in shredded zucchini.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
Bake for 28-31 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Cool cake on wire rack (cake can be cooled in the pan).
Frost top of cake (not sides) once it is completely cooled.

Serves 20

Lower Fat Lime Cream Cheese Frosting
8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups marshmallow creme (7-oz)
1 tbsp lime zest
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy. Spread on cooled cake.

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20 Comments
  • Lisa
    September 1, 2010

    I’ve been on a lime kick myself. I recently made your lime and coconut crumble bars. They were excellent!

  • Maria
    September 1, 2010

    We love lime! Great frosting to this moist zucchini cake!

  • Sues
    September 1, 2010

    I was JUST thinking (literally, 2 minutes ago) about how I wanted to make zucchini cake. I LOVE the idea of lime cream cheese frosting. This sounds fabulous!

  • The Blue-Eyed Bakers
    September 1, 2010

    Delicious!! We love zucchini! And lime cream cheese frosting!? That sounds like such a fabulous combo!

  • Betty @ scrambled hen fruit
    September 1, 2010

    I don’t mind the green at all! I love zucchini and this one with lime is different from the zucchini cake recipes that I have. Thanks!

  • Lora
    September 1, 2010

    This looks wonderful!

  • Patricia Scarpin
    September 2, 2010

    That is something I have never tried, Nic – baking with zucchini! I definitely should – that lime icing is calling out my name. 😀

  • Caroline
    September 2, 2010

    Looks delicious – I love zucchini cake in all forms because, like carrot cake, I can ALMOST convince myself I’m eating ‘healthy’ 🙂

  • Beth Pollock
    September 2, 2010

    Your cake looks wonderful, and I love the twist of lime. Yum!

  • Sue
    September 2, 2010

    Love the LIME cream cheese frosting…something different!

  • Melissa
    September 3, 2010

    That cake looks and sounds so great! the LIME cream cheese frosting…fabulous! I can’t wait to try it.
    Thanks so much.

  • Deborah
    September 3, 2010

    The frosting on this totally sets it apart from other zucchini cakes – I’ve got to try this!!

  • Annabel Green
    September 3, 2010

    Not only tasty, but uniques as well. I love it.

  • ebby
    October 4, 2010

    Looks ok but honestly i’d love to see a banana zucchini bread recipe rathern than lime!!! Maybe even a low fat recipe

  • ebby
    October 4, 2010

    Looks ok but honestly i want to see something like a banana zucchini bread recipe not lime!!! maybe even a lowfat one!!

  • seems
    October 7, 2010

    wat a wonderful site and wat an awesome recipe!

    I have a v gud zucchini bread recipe… my question is what is the difference between a zucchini bread recipe and zucchini cake recipe. All the ingredients are exactly the same.

  • Didem
    November 27, 2010

    Another great recipe and flavor combination.!! i made several zucchini cakes before but this one is the best so far.. I was hesitant to use the cream cheese frosting since it has marshmallow cream but I made the cake with it eventually and it was a instant hit!! Lime zest makes it so refreshing.. my husband loved it!!!

  • Yatee
    August 17, 2011

    Wow, good thing this uses a massive amount of zucchini! This is the first year I started growing zucchini at home & it just erupted. I honestly don’t know where they come from anymore.

    I might try subbing oil for the butter. Or do half and half of each .. that applesauce amount looks like it could come perfectly from one of those applesauce cups! Good to keep in mind for when I go back to college ..

  • Susan
    August 28, 2011

    Yatee: Remember you can freeze zucinni just like any other squash. Just cut it into chunks or half inch slices, put in boiling water for about 3 minutes. Be sure to have the cold bath ready before boiling the squash. The middle of the squash will turn bright green after 3 minutes or before. Quickly drain it and put it into the cold bath (water and lots of ice). Let it sit until cold. Drain well and freeze. We put on cookie sheet in freezer before bagging it does not lump together in the freezer bag, or have too much moisture for the sealer machine.

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