This Zucchini Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is a moist zucchini cake with pecans and cinnamon spice. It’s light and fluffy, and it pairs perfectly with the tangy cream cheese frosting.
Zucchini Sheet Cake
I’m a big fan of shredded zucchini dessert recipes, because not only is it a great way to use up some summer squash, it adds so much moisture to cakes and breads without adding much flavor.
Also, it can’t hurt to shove some extra greens into a sugary dessert, right? Of course I know all of the zucchini doesn’t cancel out all of the sugar…but… I mean, extra greens is extra greens. 😉
Most recipes for zucchini cake are for chocolate zucchini cake, as zucchini and chocolate pair really well together, but today’s recipe is for a white zucchini cake. It’s incredibly moist, as it’s a zucchini cake with brown sugar (and granulated sugar), sour cream, and oil. It’s light and fluffy, and it’s filled with flavor.
Easy Zucchini Cake Ingredients
- Canola Oil: You can use vegetable oil in this recipe instead of canola oil. Oil adds moisture without adding any flavor. It also makes a very fluffy cake.
- Granulated Sugar
- Brown Sugar
- Half & Half: Using Half & Half (which is half heavy cream and half whole milk) adds flavor and richness.
- Sour Cream: This is one of my favorite cake ingredients, because it makes cake really tender and moist. If you don’t have sour cream, you can use greek yogurt.
- Vanilla Extract
- All Purpose Flour
- Baking Powder
- Baking Soda
- Ground Cinnamon: Cinnamon and zucchini go very well together.
- Shredded Zucchini: You do not need to squeeze any liquid out of the zucchini. Just shred it and add it to the cake.
- Toasted Pecans or Walnuts: This is an optional ingredient, but both pecans and walnuts add an extra depth of flavor and texture. Toast the nuts first, because it brings out their flavor.
- Cream Cheese
- Unsalted Butter
- Powdered Sugar
How To Make Zucchini Sheet Cake From Scratch:
- Step 1: Toast pecans or walnuts at 350 in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Let them cool, then chop them into small pieces.
- Step 2: Whisk oil (canola or vegetable), granulated sugar, and brown sugar together.
- Step 3: Add the eggs to the batter, whisking well after each addition.
- Step 4: Whisk wet ingredients together (half & half, sour cream, and vanilla extract). Set aside.
- Step 5: Sift dry ingredients together (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon).
- Step 6: Alternately, add dry ingredients and wet ingredients to the oil mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
- Step 7: Add in shredded zucchini and toasted nuts.
- Step 8: Pour into a greased sheet cake pan and bake at 350.
- Step 9: Mix cream cheese and unsalted butter together with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add in powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix until combined. Spread over cooled cake. Sprinkle with chopped nuts.
Due to the cream cheese frosting, leftovers of this cake do need to be refrigerated.
However, you can leave the cake unfrosted at room temperature, if desired. When ready to serve, top it with the cream cheese frosting.
You do not need to drain or dry the zucchini after it’s been shredded. Yes, the zucchini will be wet. No, it won’t affect the cake’s texture.
Just shred it and add it into the batter.
- Half & Half: If you can’t find half & half in the dairy section of your grocery store, you can make it yourself by mixing half heavy whipping cream and half whole milk together. Moreover, you can make this with whole milk or buttermilk.
- Sour Cream: If you don’t have sour cream, you can use greek yogurt.
- Oil: You can use vegetable oil or canola oil—whichever you have on hand.
Other Zucchini Recipes To Try Next:
- Lemon Zucchini Bread
- Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
- Zucchini, Pineapple, Carrot Loaf
- Lime Coconut Zucchini Bread
- Zucchini Apple Crumb Bread
Sheet Cake Recipes To Try Next:
Quick and Easy Zucchini Sheet Cake Tips & Tricks:
- Toasted Nuts: Keep an eye on the nuts as they toast, because they an go from lightly toasted to burnt very quickly. Pro tip: Toast a few extra to add to the top of the cake after it’s frosted.
- Zucchini: Shred zucchini with a box grater or in a food processor. You do not need to try or drain the zucchini—just add it straight to the batter.
- Spices: Cinnamon is the only extra spice, but if you’re looking for something more like a spice cake, feel free to add a little nutmeg, ginger, or cloves.
The best way to get veggies? 100% in a cake. 😉
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs, large
- 1/2 cup half & half
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 cups shredded zucchini
- 1 cup + 1/4 cup pecans or walnuts, optional
- 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 - 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease a 9x13 baking dish.
Spread pecans or walnuts on the baking sheet in an even layer, and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the nuts are lightly toasted. Allow to cool before chopping into smaller pieces. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk canola oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together until combined.
- Add in the eggs, whisking well after each addition.
- In a separate bowl, whisk half & half, sour cream, and vanilla extract together. Set aside.
- Next, in a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together.
- Alternately add the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients into the oil mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix after each addition.
- Lastly, add in the shredded zucchini and 1 cup of toasted, chopped nuts. Gently mix until combined.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking dish, and spread into an even layer.
- Bake for 38-40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before adding cream cheese frosting.
- With a hand mixer or standing mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese together until they are light and fluffy (about 1-2 minutes).
- Next, add in the vanilla extract and mix until combined.
- Lastly, add in the powdered sugar, beginning with 2 1/2 cups. If the frosting seems too thin, add in the remaining 1/2 cup of powdered sugar.
- If desired, add in a pinch of salt. (Salt helps offset the sweetness of the frosting.)
- Spread the frosting over the top of the cooled cake. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of toased nuts on top of the frosting.
- Cut and serve, and store leftovers in the fridge.
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