Lemon cake makes use of all that zucchini

Susan Selasky
Detroit Free Press

Soon gardens will be awash in zucchini. At first, it begins to trickle in and then — bam! — zucchini is suddenly everywhere.

Neighbors drop it off on your doorstep. Co-workers dump it on break room tables with friendly signs: “Help yourself” or “free” or “please take.” What they’re really saying is: “I can’t take these anymore.”

If you don’t have a garden or never think about zucchini, consider the summer bounty a blessing. Zucchini is versatile and you can use it in a host of recipes, including zucchini breads, cakes and loaves.

Today’s cake calls for pairing it with fresh lemons. The two play nice together and are a natural pairing. Lemon zest and juice go into the batter, and more juice is used for the sweet glaze.

I came across the recipe on Facebook. It was one of those posted with a video showing how to make it. The recipe is from the blog

On the easy scale, I’d give the cake nearly a 10. The prep time is minimal, but a bit of time and effort goes into making sure you squeeze most of the excess moisture out of the shredded zucchini. To do this, you will need to put the zucchini between several layers of paper towel and press on it. This is a moist cake, and too much excess moisture will make it soggy.

I thought it was interesting that the recipe calls for almond milk. Every once in a while, I buy almond milk, especially when it’s on sale, and I’m always interested in trying it in different recipes.

At one time, almond milk was a rare find at grocery stores. Now it commands prime shelf space. With almond milk (and other nut milks) keep in mind that not all are the same. There can be big swings in calories. There are also sweetened and unsweetened versions. Be sure to read the labels. In this recipe, I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk, which has 40 calories per cup.

Something else interesting about this cake: It calls for olive oil. But don’t worry. The olive oil doesn’t affect the flavor and helps make a tender crumb.

This cake, without the glaze, will freeze beautifully. Wrap it in plastic wrap, then in foil and place in a freezer-safe bag. You can also freeze individual slices.

Lemon Zucchini Cake

Note: If you don’t have cake flour, substitute 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour.

Serves: 10

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes plus cooling time


2 cups cake flour

11/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

11/4 cups granulated sugar

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

11/2 cups shredded zucchini, squeezed dry

2 tablespoons lemon zest


1 cup powdered sugar

1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spray a loaf pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar and olive oil. Whisk to combine.

Add eggs and almond milk and whisk together.

Add lemon juice and vanilla extract and stir to combine.

Add flour mixture and stir just until incorporated.

Fold in zucchini and lemon zest.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. The top of the cake should look dry.

Place the loaf on a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes. Use the parchment paper to carefully lift the cake from the pan. Let cool completely on rack.

To make the glaze: In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and lemon juice. Whisk until smooth.

Drizzle the glaze over the cake.

Slice and serve.