Kristin and I are up in Vermont again this year, and it seems that we're developing a trend for baking with zucchini while we're here. Last year, we made Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins. They were fantastic. So tasty, in fact, that Kristin agreed to marry me. We can't exactly repeat the proposal, but this year my birthday was one of our first days in the cabin, so we decided to make some zucchini cake.
I started off searching for a recipe for chocolate zucchini sheet cake, but found a recipe for a pineapple zucchini cake, instead, and decided to shake things up. We made a number of changes to that recipe, but the end result was killer - a super-moist, flavorful cake with sweet and tangy icing that everybody loved both on the night of my birthday and over coffee as breakfast the next day.
Here's what you'll need for the cake portion (the icing will come later): flour, sugar, vegetable oil, zucchini, crushed pineapple, sweetened coconut, eggs, baking soda, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.
Start by combining the flour, sugar, coconut, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl. Give them a good stir.
In another, somewhat smaller mixing bowl, beat the eggs, then add the oil and vanilla and mix well.
Stir the wet stuff into the dry stuff, then add the grated zucchini and the all but a couple of tablespoons of juice from the can of crushed pineapple. The batter will be wet and thick.
Pour the cake batter into a well-greased 9x13" pan and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. It's done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the edges have just started to pull awy from the edges of the pan.
Let it cool completely before you frost the cake - this will take a surprisingly long time. The cake is quite dense, so it will hold its heat for ages. It wouldn't hurt to refrigerate it - we actually liked it cold quite a lot.
While the cake is baking - or even while it's cooling - you'll need to make the frosting. We forgot to take an ingredients picture (oops!), but here what you'll need: softened butter, a package of cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, the couple of tablespoons of pineapple juice you saved from the can, and maybe just a splash of orange juice, too.
First, combine the softened butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth. This would be much easier with a mixer - we don't have one up here, but a large fork and some elbow grease did the job, too.
Finish the frosting by adding the powdered sugar, vanilla, pineapple juice, and orange juice (if you want some). Mix again until it's smooth and at the texture you like - a bit more sugar makes a firmer frosting, a bit less leaves it relatively thin. We kept it a bit on the thinner side to make for easy spreading.
When the cake is finally cool, spread the icing over the top. We refrigerated the iced cake afterward to help everything set up a bit, and it ended up very tasty that way, especially on a hot summer day.
Serve generous slices of cake, and give some real consideration to some coffee on the side - the earthiness of the zucchini really matches well with a good, dark-roast coffee.
This cake made for a very happy birthday, and we just might have to make it again before another year is up.
Recipe: Pineapple Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 40 Minutes | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: 12 Large or 16 Medium Slices
- 2 1/3 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 1/3 cups White Sugar
- 1/2 cup Sweetened Coconut
- 2 large Eggs, beaten
- 2 cups Grated Zucchini
- 1 (20 oz) can Crushed Pineapple, undrained
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Salt
- 3 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 2 cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 (8 oz) package Cream Cheese
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 2 tsp Vanilla
- 2 tbsp reserved Pineapple Juice
- (Optional): 1-2 tbsp Orange Juice
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, coconut, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
- In a medium bowl, beat eggs, then add oil and vanilla. Stir to combine.
- Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients, followed by grated zucchini and crushed pineapple. Reserve approximately 2 tbsp pineapple juice in the can for the frosting. Mix well to combine. Batter will be thick and wet.
- Pour batter into a greased 9x13" pan. Bake 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees until a toothpick comes out clean and the edges have just started to pull away from the pan.
- Cool completely before frosting.
- In a large bowl, combine butter and cream cheese. Mix well until smooth.
- Add powdered sugar, vanilla, pineapple juice, and orange juice if desired. Mix again until smooth.
- Add additional powdered sugar as necessary to achieve desired texture, mixing well.
- Spread frosting over cake once cooled completely. Refrigerate frosted cake to set up frosting. Serve cold.