a slice of zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting on a plate on a rustic white table, the rest of the cake on a cake stand with fresh flowers in a vase, and a cute cotton tea towel with cakes and cupcakes on the table

Zucchini-Ginger Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

10 to 12 servings

Prep time: 30-35 minutes

Cook time: 55 minutes - 1 hour plus cooling time before frosting.

If you’re looking for a sweet way to use up that surplus zucchini (if you grow it, we know you've got it), look no further. Zucchini-Ginger Cake is here for you. Not bread. Cake. 

Every year - without fail - we plant WAY more zucchini than we can possibly eat, a mistake that we know we are not alone in.

After the initial excitement over the arrival of small, tender squash, after we’ve grilled, gratineed, stuffed, and sautéed the heck out of the zucchini, and once we’re starting to be more lax in our harvesting habits – you know, once the baseball bat-sized squash magically appear in the garden, well, one’s mind can’t help but turn to baked goods. 

Add ginger and a hint of maple syrup, and you’ve got yourself a zucchini cake that’ll be asked for time and time again. 

To streamline the process, prep all ingredients before getting started. Trust me on this one, it really helps!

The cake and frosting can also be made the night before you’re serving this. Just refrigerate the frosting in an air-tight container until you’re ready to frost away. 

for the cake:

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup (packed) shredded zucchini (6 ounces) (see note)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (I like Grade B, but use what you've got)
  • 1/3 cup diced crystallized ginger
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

for the frosting:

(makes approximately 1 cup of frosting)

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 ½  cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease an 8-inch springform pan with butter. If you’d like to remove the cake from the springform pan bottom before serving, you can also line the bottom of the pan with an 8-inch round of parchment paper to make it easier to remove the cake once finished. Once the cake has cooled completely, carefully slide a spatula or knife between the parchment paper and the pan to remove it from the bottom of the pan.  

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt, then toss the zucchini in the flour mixture to coat and separate the strands of squash.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugars and butter until they are creamed. Pour in the maple syrup, mix until it is absorbed into the batter, then add the eggs, one at a time, and beat just until they are fully incorporated into the batter.

Pour the zucchini-flour mixture into the batter and mix until the zucchini is evenly distributed throughout. 

Add the crystallized ginger and walnuts, stir until they are mixed into the batter, then pour the batter into the springform pan, spreading the batter evenly within the pan.

Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If the edges of your cake are browning too quickly, tent them with aluminum foil.

Transfer the cake to a cooling rack, and allow it to cool completely before frosting.

While the cake bakes, prepare the frosting. In a medium mixing bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and ground ginger and mix on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, then pour in the maple syrup and mix until blended. 

Refrigerate the frosting in an air-tight container until the cake is completely cooled. Using a spoon, smooth the frosting over top of the cake, and serve it forth.

note: slice the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop the seeds out with a spoon before shredding, then shred the zucchini using the large holes on a box grater.

tiny farmhouse tip: Freeze 1-cup portions of shredded zucchini in the late summer, defrost and squeeze out the excess liquid before using, and you can be making Zucchini-Ginger Cake all the way until the new year.