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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.
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Lemon Zucchini Cake

By: Jamie
4.47 from 222 ratings
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 12
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!

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.

Video

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

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

4.47 from 222 votes (219 ratings without comment)

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71 Comments

  1. E. White says:

    Hi Jamie I wanted to know if you have to squeeze all the water out of the zucchini before mixing it with all the other ingredients.
    Thanks so much

    E. White

    1. Jamie says:

      Hello! I do not wring out the zucchini before adding it to the cake. Hope this helps! Happy baking.
      Jamie

  2. Andrea says:

    Made but as cupcakes baked for around 25 mins maybe less.. I just pulled them out my kitchen smells amazing! Can’t wait to glaze and eat

    1. Jamie says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Andrea! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Happy Baking!
      -Jamie

  3. D butcavage says:

    What’s the best size Bundt pan to use for this recipe-6 cup or 12 cup?

    1. Jamie says:

      Hello! You’ll want to use a 12-cup pan for this. Hope this helps! Happy baking.
      Jamie

  4. Anne says:

    Can you use melted butter for some of the oil? 

    1. Jamie says:

      Hello! I haven’t attempted this recipe with this substitution, so I am not sure of the result. If you happen to give it a try, I’d love to know how it turned out. Thanks so much for stopping by.
      -Jamie

  5. Avra says:

    Jamie, I have a question: do you pack your zucchini when measuring the 2 cups?

    Thanks!

    1. Jamie says:

      Hello! I tend to very lightly pack zucchini when I’m measuring it. Hope this helps.
      Jamie

  6. Carolyn says:

    I am always trying to bake with vegetables in the recipes so am always on a new recipe. This is the Best lemon cake the family and friends have had. The zucchini adds such a difference. It is so moist! It was gone in days, and a request has been made to bake it again soon.

    1. Jamie says:

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

  7. Carolyn Petersen says:

    This cake is a keeper. Incredibly light and moist, definitely a cake not a bread . Family and friends loved it, and I have already been asked for the recipe and forwarded it on. I also added a cup of blueberries to it. It was so good that it was gone before I had time to put the icing on it!

    1. Jamie says:

      Yay! So glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback! Happy Baking!
      -Jamie

  8. Stella says:

    Perfect timing … this is what I need to make for my mother’s birthday

    1. Jamie says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Stella! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Happy Baking!
      -Jamie

  9. Stacia says:

    What a YUMMY cake! Moist and just delicious! Thanks!

    1. Jamie says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Stacia! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Happy Baking!
      -Jamie

  10. Mary-Jo says:

    I just made this cake and it was amazing! I only had 1 lemon so I added an extra cup of zucchini and the cake was still lemony, fresh, and moist. Thanks for this recipe!

    1. Jamie says:

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