Zucchini Carrot Cake

With Cream Cheese Frosting

slice of zucchini carrot cake with cream cheese frosting
The Spruce / Diana Rattray
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Cool Time: 90 mins
Total: 2 hrs 35 mins
Servings: 20 servings
Yields: 20 slices
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
409 Calories
21g Fat
54g Carbs
4g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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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.  

Ingredients

For the Zucchini Carrot Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups (319 g) 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 g) vegetable oil (neutral flavor)

  • 2 cups (402 g) 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 g) cream cheese, softened

  • 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter (softened)

  • 3 1/2 cups (400 g) 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. Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and preheat the oven to 350 F.

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

  3. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

Prepare the Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Gather the frosting ingredients.

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

  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.

  4. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake.

  5. Slice and enjoy!

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.

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.

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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