Skip to Content

Spiced Zucchini Cake

Sharing is caring!

A guilt free cake? Not quite, but we can pretend right? Well, maybe if we forget about the cream cheese frosting. I don’t know about you, but there’s something about a cake that is textured and flavored with zucchini and sweetened with applesauce that makes my hand much lighter when I’m reaching for a second piece.

With a surplus of zucchini in my house, it was time to get creative in the kitchen. I took a basic zucchini cake recipe and added in some cinnamon, nutmeg, crystallized ginger and cardamom to give a plain cake an autumnal twist. The spiced maple-cream cheese frosting made this zucchini cake incredibly irresistible and quick to disappear.

I have to admit trying to convince Brian that a cake made with zucchini and applesauce could stand up next to a butter laden dessert wasn’t as difficult as I had anticipated. He’s used to zucchini being in stir-fries and quick breads; not cake. Well, after that first taste, all was quiet and it was pretty much a session of fork to mouth until the plate was empty. The next morning he took the remaining slices to his co-workers who welcomed it with open arms on an brisk, fall morning.

Don’t be surprised if you see some zucchini cookies and other sweets with zucchini as the star or in a supporting role. This cake is moist, delicious and is definitely the perfect recipe to transition your kitchen to fall baking. Have a fantastic week and thanks so much for stopping by My Baking Addiction.

Looking for more zucchini deliciousness?
Chocolate Zucchini Cake from My Baking Addiction
Blueberry Zucchini Bread from My Baking Addiction
Pineapple Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting from My Baking Addiction
Zucchini and Cream Cheese from Vino Luci Style

Spiced Zucchini Cake

with spiced maple-cream cheese frosting


For the Cake

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon minced crystallized ginger
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup applesauce
2 eggs
1 cup shredded zucchini

For the Frosting

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
2 cups confectioners' sugar


For the Cake

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray an 8x8 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

2. In a bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, crystallized ginger, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

3. Combine oil, applesauce, eggs and sugars; add to dry ingredients and mix well. Add zucchini; stir until thoroughly combined. Pour into the prepared 8x8 inch baking pan.

4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

For the Frosting

1. For the icing: In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, maple syrup, cinnamon and cardamom until smooth and creamy. Add confectioners' sugar and mix well.

2. Frost cake with icing once completely cool.


- Store covered in refrigerator for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
- This icing is a little on the thin side and is not able to be piped. If you find the consistency to be too thin for your taste, gradually add in a little more confectioners’ sugar.
- If you enjoy nuts, pecans and walnuts both pair well with this recipe. Simply fold in a ½ cup of chopped nuts before pouring the batter into the pan.
- Don’t have cardamom or crystallized ginger? No problem, just omit them, but I do highly recommend adding both of these to your spice rack.

All images and text ©

Follow Jamie on Instagram. We love to see what you're baking from MBA! Be sure to tag @jamiemba and use the hashtag #mbarecipes!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Friday 26th of October 2012

So want to make these with the spectacular frosting..."mummy" style for Halloween ...Can these be possibly made into cupcakes?!!....Recommendations for oven temp/time baking?

Just love your site...superbly researched, explained and crafted...I am an avid follower!


Friday 26th of October 2012

Donna- Hi! Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words about My Baking Addiction. Unfortunately, I made this recipe quite some time ago, so I really don't know how it will react when backed into cupcake form. You idea is adorable, if you give it a try, definitely let me know how is goes. Have a great weekend. -Jamie

Girl in purple dress (@Girlnpurpledres)

Wednesday 4th of July 2012

Very pleased to have stumbled across your website via pinterest. Recipes look good & your photos are amazing! Interesting use of courgette, have never baked a cake from it. Will try it thanks to you.

lisa @ eating one bite at a time

Saturday 3rd of December 2011

Wow! Sooooo good! We never got to make icing because we ate the cake without it! Yum! I used Stevia in the Raw instead of white sugar and it was soooo good!


Wednesday 27th of July 2011

Thanks for this!! Made it today and it smells wonderful, to begin with. Tastes so yummy! Thick, dense, moist and full of spicy flavor - it's a great snack cake. (Didn't even get to make the frosting - just cut it while warm and smeared on some butter!)


Monday 27th of September 2010

This cake is amazing!!! However, I made it without the frosting. Still, super delicious and chewy!! I brought it to the office today - and it was gone within minutes! Everyone is asking for the recipe now. I have to make more tonight now :)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.