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Lemon Zucchini Cake

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Lemon zucchini cake is light, delicious and loaded with a bright, lemony flavor. Enjoy it with a cup of tea for breakfast or snack time – or both!

Slice of glazed lemon zucchini cake next to a fork on a white plate. A glass of milk is visible in the background.

I have what is basically the opposite of a green thumb.

What I’m sayin’ is that I can’t keep plants alive. I’ve been known to kill mint and rosemary. And that, friends, takes a special kind of talent.

My mom seems to plop plants into dirt, sorta takes care of them, and she’s left with gorgeous tomatoes, pretty peppers, and more zucchini than anyone can eat in a season.

And where does that zucchini end up? On my kitchen counter. Where it gets turned into baked goods, like this lemon zucchini cake, for all of you!

Sliced lemon zucchini bundt cake on a white cake plate.

BAKING WITH ZUCCHINI

Since I’m the only zucchini eater in my little family, I always bake it into ALLTHEDESSERTS. When you grate it super fine, it’s hardly detectable in chocolate desserts like chocolate zucchini cake or chocolate zucchini muffins.

And when Eric asked about the little green flecks in this lovely lemon cake, I assured him it was lime zest. Just kidding. Not really.

This lemon zucchini cake is loaded with flavor. A sweet and tangy lemon glaze takes it over the top into mouth-puckering territory, which I personally love. 

Lemon zest and granulated sugar mixed together in a large, white mixing bowl.

It’s perfect for breakfast with a cup of coffee or as an afternoon snack with a glass of freshly brewed iced tea.

When you’re baking with zucchini, it’s the perfect opportunity to use up some of those monster zucchini.

You know the ones I’m talking about: the ones that get hidden at the bottom of the plant and no one sees them until they’re easily a foot long.

Those giant zucchini aren’t the best for making things like grilled zucchini because the texture gets kind of weird, but they’re perfect for turning into everything from classic zucchini bread to zucchini chocolate chip cookies.

Wet ingredients for lemon zucchini cake in a white mixing bowl.

HOW TO MAKE THIS LEMON ZUCCHINI CAKE

This lemon zucchini cake is a simple yet flavorful bundt cake. The batter comes together in just a few minutes, leaving you with plenty of time to kick back with a book or your favorite show while the cake bakes.

Ingredients you’ll need

The lemony cake batter is made with:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • zest of 2 large lemons
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups finely grated zucchini
Dry ingredients for lemon zucchini cake in a glass mixing bowl.

Before you get started, make sure that you know how to measure flour correctly. This will help make sure your cake comes out perfect every time!

Vegetable oil is used in place of butter in this cake. Vegetable oil makes for a moist cake and is commonly used in recipes like zucchini cake and carrot cake.

Don’t skip the glaze when making this lemon zucchini cake. It’s the perfect finishing touch! You’ll need:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter; melted
  • 1 cup powdered sugar; sifted
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

If you are out of powdered sugar, check out my post on how to make powdered sugar and save yourself a trip to the grocery store.

Batter base for lemon zucchini cake in a white mixing bowl.

Making this recipe

The first step to making this recipe is to use one of my all-time favorite tricks when baking with lemon zest: Work the lemon zest into the sugar with your fingertips until the sugar is moistened and fragrant.

This really brings out those aromatic oils in the zest and helps infuse that lemony flavor throughout the cake! I use this trick in so many of my recipes, including lemon cupcakes and lemon cream cheese pound cake.

Add in the vegetable oil, eggs, lemon juice, and the vanilla extract. Mix with a hand mixer on medium speed until well combined.

Batter for lemon zucchini cake in a bundt pan, ready to go in the oven.

Separately, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, then fold in the zucchini.

Spread the batter into a grease bundt pan and bake for 45-50 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

When the cake has cooled, whisk together the glaze ingredients and drizzle the glaze over the cake before serving.

Overhead view of glazed lemon zucchini cake next to white plates and three forks.

STORAGE TIPS

Store lemon zucchini cake covered at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

You can also freeze slices of the cake. Check out my post on how to freeze cake for more details on freezing and thawing individual slices of cake.

Three white plates, each holding a slice of lemon zucchini cake. A glass of milk is also visible on the countertop next to the plates.

FAQS

Do you grate the zucchini before or after measuring out 2 cups?

Because the ingredients say “2 cups finely grated zucchini,” you will grate the zucchini and then measure it. When the instructions or description come between the measurement and the ingredient, you follow those instructions before measuring.

Can I bake this in a 9×13-inch pan instead of a bundt pan?

Yes! If you don’t have a bundt pan, don’t stress.

Spread the batter into a grease 13×9-inch pan instead and bake for 35-40 minutes. When it comes time to glaze the cake, simply spread the glaze over the top before serving.

Slice of lemon zucchini cake with a bite taken from the end of it.
Slice of glazed lemon zucchini cake on a white plate.

Lemon Zucchini Cake

Lemon zucchini cake is light, delicious and loaded with a bright, lemony flavor. Enjoy it with a cup of tea for breakfast or snack time – or both!
4.47 from 220 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • zest of 2 large lemons
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups finely grated zucchini

For the glaze:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a bundt pan or 9×13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and lemon zest until the sugar is moistened and the zest is thoroughly incorporated.
  • Add in vegetable oil, eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla extract and mix with a hand mixer on medium speed until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the zucchini.
  • Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake a bundt cake for 45-50 minutes and a 9×13-inch cake for 35-40 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely.
  • In a medium bowl, prepare the glaze by mixing together the melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and lemon juice. Whisk until smooth and drizzle over cooled cake. Glaze will harden slightly.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 388kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 364mg | Potassium: 102mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 189IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg
The default measuring system on My Baking Addiction is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided as a courtesy; please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.
Card may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Recipe Rating




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Linda Jackson

Sunday 3rd of September 2023

Outstanding! Give it 5 stars!! Moist and delicious lemony flavor. I did substitute a 1/2 cup of my homemade applesauce for the full cup of oil. (*usually do when a recipe calls for all that oil*)

Jamie

Friday 8th of September 2023

So happy to hear this, Linda! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your feedback. Happy baking! Jamie

Nancy P. Lake Wales, FL

Monday 21st of August 2023

I have not made this particular "lemon zucchini cake"; however, I know it will be delicious. Particularly, love her simple decorations of lemon zest & zucchini green on top of the cake. Buy a bundt pan, best for viewing on a luncheon/dinner table.

I spray my baking/broiling pans at all times.

Jamie

Tuesday 22nd of August 2023

Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Nancy! Happy baking! Jamie

Sandy Dickson

Wednesday 16th of August 2023

Could I use grated yellow summer squash instead of zucchini??

Nancy P. Lake Wales, FL

Monday 21st of August 2023

@Jamie, Yellow zucchini would not show up in the cake like the green zucchini. If that's all you have, yes, never waste food! Nancy P.

Jamie

Thursday 17th of August 2023

Hi Sandy – Yes, that should be just fine! Happy baking! Jamie

Leo

Wednesday 16th of February 2022

Loved it- I swapped out the cup of oil for a cup of unsweetened applesauce to make it lower calorie. Not sure what the original texture of the cake would be like but my version with the applesauce was slightly gummy. Still delicious! The fresh lemon in the glaze is a must

Nancy P. Lake Wales, FL

Monday 21st of August 2023

@Leo, I have tried yogurt-low fat & no sugar apple sauce; cake is just as good. Nancy P.

Jamie

Monday 21st of February 2022

So happy to hear you enjoyed the cake, Leo! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback! -Jamie

Diana Fillmore

Friday 27th of August 2021

Delicious! Everyone loved this recipe. I made it as cupcakes and used a cream cheese frosting instead of glaze.

Jamie

Thursday 23rd of September 2021

So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Diana! Thanks for leaving your feedback. -Jamie

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