Zucchini Carrot Cake

With Cream Cheese Frosting

Zucchini Carrot Cake

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Cool Time: 90 mins
Total: 2 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 20 servings
Yield: 20 slices
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
409 Calories
21g Fat
54g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 20
Amount per serving
Calories 409
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 26%
Saturated Fat 6g 32%
Cholesterol 61mg 20%
Sodium 285mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 54g 19%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 40g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 3mg 16%
Calcium 57mg 4%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 132mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This zucchini carrot cake is a wonderful cake to bake for a summertime treat. It's hard to describe how carrots and zucchini enhance a cake—don't worry, it doesn’t taste like a vegetable! For one thing, the shredded zucchini and carrots add moisture, but it doesn't end there. The shredded vegetables balance the sweetness of the cake, and the cake ends up with attractive flecks of orange and green throughout. 

This version bakes in a rectangular pan, but you can easily make it in two or three round layers. If you opt for layers, remember to decrease the baking time to 25 to 35 minutes, depending on the thickness and number of layers. If you're building a 3-layer cake and want lots of creamy frosting and filling, add an extra 8 ounces of cream cheese and 2 more cups of powdered sugar to the frosting ingredients.

Take this easy cake along to a cookout or potluck, or make it for a party or bake sale.  

"This cake was delicious! It was flavorful and moist and good enough to eat without the cream cheese frosting. Of course, the frosting was amazing and made this cake even more delicious." —Carrie Parente

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Ingredients

For the Zucchini Carrot Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups (319 grams) all purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup (215 grams) vegetable oil (neutral flavor)

  • 2 cups (402 grams) granulated sugar

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 small zucchini)

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots (about 4 medium carrots)

  • 1/2 to 1 cup toasted chopped pecans

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces (226 grams) cream cheese, softened

  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened

  • 3 1/2 cups (400 grams) powdered sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, the instructions are broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Prepare the Carrot Zucchini Cake

  1. Gather the cake ingredients.

    Zucchini Carrot Cake ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and preheat the oven to 350 F.

    greased and floured baking pan

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; whisk to combine and set aside.

    combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, combine the oil, granulated sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high speed until well blended.

    combine the oil, granulated sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the dry ingredients until blended.

    cake batter in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  6. Fold the shredded zucchini and carrots into the batter.

    Fold the shredded zucchini and carrots into the batter in the bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  7. Spread the cake batter in the prepared baking pan.

    Spread the cake batter in the prepared baking pan

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  8. Bake the cake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

    baked cake in a baking pan

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  9. Transfer the cake to a rack and let it cool for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until completely cooled.

    zucchini carrot cake on a cooling rack

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prepare the Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Gather the frosting ingredients.

    Cream Cheese Frosting ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, combine the butter and cream cheese. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

    butter and cream cheese mixture in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. With the mixer on the lowest speed, beat in the powdered sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla until moistened. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and continue to beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

    cream cheese frosting in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake.

    Zucchini Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting spread on top of cake

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

How to Bake the Cake In Layers

Grease and flour two or three 8-inch or 9-inch layer cake pans and line with parchment paper. Lightly grease the parchment paper. Prepare the cake batter as directed and divide evenly among the cake pans. Bake two layers for about 30 to 35 minutes—three layers for about 25 to 30 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean.

Recipe Variations

  • To lighten the cake, reduce the granulated sugar to 1 2/3 cups, skip the frosting, and dust the cake lightly with powdered sugar.
  • Fold about 3/4 cup of raisins into the batter.
  • Garnish the cake with toasted coconut or chopped toasted pecans.
  • For a dairy-free, vegan cake, frost the cake with vegan cream cheese frosting.

How to Store and Freeze

  • Cover the zucchini carrot cake and store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Take it out of the fridge about 1 hour before serving.
  • To freeze the cake, place the cake or individual slices on a baking sheet and freeze. When the cake portions are frozen, wrap them in plastic cling wrap and foil and place them in an airtight container or zip-close freezer bag. Freeze the cake for up to 3 months.

What Is the Best Way to Shred Carrots and Zucchini?

To shred the carrots and zucchini finely, use the small holes on a box grater or food processor shredding disk.

Can You Use Pre-Shredded Bagged Carrots In Zucchini Carrot Cake?

Bagged shredded carrots tend to be dry, and the shreds are usually large. If you have to use bagged shredded carrots, chop them or pulse them a few times in a food processor.

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