Skip the bread and transform your zucchini into a light, lemon flavored zucchini layer cake, complete with blueberries and a silky lemon cream cheese frosting.
It’s been 6 posts since I asked you to turn on the oven*. And I have the nerve to call this space a baking blog.
Today, though, we’re hitting preheat, partly because I need a little 350° action, partly because I expect soon we will all be up to our ears in garden-fresh zucchini and might be in the mood for something other than the hum-drum standard zucchini bread fare, and partly because of my need to validate myself as a wannabe baker.
If I’m going to be asking you to turn on the oven on what is probably a 90-degree day (possibly one in which your husband suggests that air conditioning is not necessary, even though the butter you’d set out to soften is now just a greasy puddle on top of your microwave), it will most certainly not be for just any plain old zucchini bread recipe.
Inspired by zucchini bread — yes. This cake is certainly a bit denser than my usually preferred light & fluffy cakes (though not entirely as dense as zucchini bread). It’s heartier and demands your full attention. The whipped lemon cream cheese frosting and blueberries do a fantastic job of lightening up the cake, but they are the side shows. The moist, slightly heavy cake is your main attraction.
I think it’s necessary to take a moment to stress the fact that, in zucchini cake, you do not taste the zucchini. Just like with carrot cake, you’re not eating a cake that tastes like vegetables. Zach can’t seem to grasp this concept and won’t get anywhere near the cake. Don’t be like Zach.
The zucchini itself serves a different function entirely than taste. Just as the eggs serve a particular purpose (moisture, leavening, binding) but the cake itself does not taste like eggs, the zucchini serves to make this cake nice and moist. This recipe also serves as a solution for what on earth am I going to do with all of these zucchinis.
Unlike with standard zucchini bread, we also are not flavoring this cake with a heavy pile of dark spices. Instead, it is flavored with real, natural lemon flavoring (not extract) and vanilla.
There never was a more summer-y cake.
AND: If you enjoy reading Sugar Spun Run I would SO appreciate it if you would head over to the Saveur Blog Award Nominations and nominate me for one of this year’s awards (baking and sweets, or whichever category you think feels right)! Thank you thank you thank you thank you, you deserve some cookies!!!!!
Layered Lemon Zucchini Cake with Blueberries
Lemon Zucchini Cake
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 large eggs
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp vanilla juice
- 3 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups finely grated zucchini lightly pat with paper towel to absorb excess moisture
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- 4 Tbsp butter softened, 1/2 stick
- 3 Tbsp lemon curd
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsp heavy cream
- 2 cups blueberries divided
Preheat oven to 350F
Grease and flour two 8-inch round pans and set aside.
In large bowl of a stand mixer (you can also use a hand mixer), beat together oil, milk, and sugar on medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes, until completely combined. Stir in lemon juice.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined after each addiction.
Stir in lemon zest and vanilla extract.
In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
With mixer on low speed, gradually stir flour ingredients into wet.
Fold in zucchini until completely combined.
Evenly divide batter into prepared cake pans and bake on 350F for 35 minutes (use toothpick for check for doneness).
Allow cakes to cool in their pans for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake and invert onto cooling rack to cool completely.
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting*
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together cream cheese, butter, and lemon curd.
Gradually stir in powdered sugar until completely combined - be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically.
Stir in vanilla extract.
Add heavy cream and gradually increase speed.
Beat on high speed for 1-2 minutes
Once cakes have cooled, chill briefly in freezer (about 10 minutes). Place one cake on cake stand/serving dish and generously ice the top with frosting. Scatter with 1 cup of blueberries.
Place second cake on top and generously ice the top. Use a thin layer of frosting around the sides, and then top the cake with remaining blueberries.
Cut and serve -- keep uneaten cake in refrigerator.
*You may omit lemon curd for just regular cream cheese frosting, if desired
*It’s come to my attention I did ask you to turn on the oven for this recipe, but I’m not counting that because the peanut butter cookies are really an accessory to the (no-bake) recipe rather than the real thing, and since it’s my blog I can get away with that excuse.
Here, have some more fruit & veggie filled desserts: