This cinnamon sugar zucchini coffee cake is spectacular! It’s name may be a bit long and dramatic – when I served it to my family I simply introduced it as ‘zucchini cake’ (although I even left the ‘zucchini’ bit out when I served it to the kids) – but oh… how it was loved!
I first read about this recipe about a month ago, on one of my favorite food blogs: Pinch of Yum. Sounds promising, right? That’s what I thought!
Pinch of Yum is run by not one but two bloggers! First there’s Lindsay, who’s does all the cooking, writing and photography around those parts. Then there’s Bjork, her husband, who’s in charge of the tech support and income stuff.
Wouldn’t that be great? Having a husband who could help you with technical blog stuff? Not that the Rocking Rebel is useless when it comes to computers, but he’s more of a… well he’s called ‘The Rocking Rebel’ for a reason! If he would have been amazing with computers, I would have come up with a different nickname… Like ‘the Computer Whisperer’, or something…
Anyway, I really love Lindsay’s recipes! I’m in love with her Whole Wheat Roasted Veggie Lasagna and her Red Curry Lentils are amazing! I can actually really relate to her style of cooking, as she tries to keep her dishes practical, interesting and delicious. And aren’t all my recipes practical (or at least easy) and delicious? And hopefully a bit interesting, too?
When it comes to sweet recipes, I was magically drawn to this cake as soon as Lindsay posted about it. It just looks so delicious!
I mean, just look at it! The sticky middle layer of sugar and cinnamon… The tiny bits of zucchini in the cake itself… The crunchy top layer of sugary cinnamoney goodness…
I was intrigued…
To make this cake, just start by whisking together some brown sugar, sunflower oil and half an egg.
If you don’t like using half eggs but do like eating a lot of cake, just double the recipe, but keep in mind that you’ll then have enough to serve twenty people… Or one very, very hungry person!
Once your batter is nice and smooth, whisk in some buttermilk. You could obviously do this as you are whisking the sugar, egg and oil together, but I was using makeshift buttermilk – aka: a mixture of milk and vinegar – and it still needed some time on the countertop to actually become buttermilk…
Once you’ve added the buttermilk, whisk in some salt, baking soda and vanilla.
I used vanilla paste, because I ran out of extract, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand, bearing in mind that 1 teaspoon of extract equals 1 teaspoon of paste.
Next, add the flour and whisk to a smooth batter.
Now comes the fun part…
Don’t you just love adding vegetables to your cake batter? It just so funny to use something as wholesome and healthy as zucchini to make something as sugary and sweet as cake!
Grate up about half the zucchini, save the other half for pasta sauce and throw the grated bits into the batter along with some orange juice…
… then whisk so the batter becomes gorgeous, slightly green and perfect!
On with the topping slash filling, which both runs through the cake and forms a nice, crusty top layer.
Combine softened butter, sugar and cinnamon in a little bowl…
… then rub the mixture between your fingers until it kinda looks like soft brown sugar.
Assemble the cake by pouring half the batter in a brownie pan that has been lined with baking parchment and sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar on top.
Then carefully pour the remaining batter on top. That sounds pretty easy, right? Don’t be fooled, though. This is the most difficult part of the cake-making-process!
At least for me it was…
I had quite some trouble spreading the remaining batter over the cinnamon sugar layer without messing it up. Maybe if I’d had a little more batter or had used a smaller pan, it wouldn’t have been so difficult and I would have ended up with a beautiful layer of cinnamoney goodness in my cake instead of more of a cinnamon swirl cake…
Something to keep in mind for next time!
But whatever you do, don’t leave the middle cinnamon layer out! Like Lindsay says: it makes you a weirdo…
Besides, the cake still tasted delicious!
Just look at all those bits of zucchini and those gorgeous cinnamon swirls!
Yum, yum, yum…
My three-year-old nephew loved it! But I’ll admit that neither me nor his mom ever mentioned this cake had zucchini in it…
- 130g (or ½ cup + 4 teaspoons, packed) brown sugar
- 40ml (or 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) sunflower oil
- ½ large egg
- 120ml (or ½ cup) buttermilk*
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- pinch of salt
- 160g (or 1¼ cup) all-purpose flour
- 110g (or ¾ cup) grated zucchini
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
- 100g (or ½ cup) granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 15g (or 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter
- Preheat your oven to 160°C or 325°F (standard oven setting) and line a 25x16-cm (10x6-inch) baking pan with baking parchment.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, egg and buttermilk.
- NOTE: you can substitute buttermilk with a mixture of milk and vinegar. For 120ml of fake buttermilk, simply mix together 1 tbsp of vinegar with 105ml of milk. Leave to sit on the countertop for 5 minutes before using.
- Whisk in the baking soda, vanilla and salt, then add the flour and whisk to a smooth batter. Whisk in the grated zucchini and orange juice.
- NOTE: If you're using a large watery zucchini for this cake, squeeze out any excess water from the grated zucchini before adding it to the batter.
- In another bowl, rub together the sugar, cinnamon and butter with your fingers, until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
- Pour half the zucchini batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle over half the sugar mixture. Carefully spread the remaining batter on top of the sugar layer and top with the remaining sugar mixture. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Maria Halyna says
Nancy Hunt says
This is the best coffee cake I have ever made! I freeze shredded zucchini during the plentiful months in 1 cup baggies. Last night I was looking for a recipe to use for a ladies meeting this morning. OH MY!!
Your Coffee Cake was a huge hit! I put it together the night before, put it in the fridge and into the oven an hour before their arrival. The house smelled fabulous! I am printing out your recipe for all my friends!
I added a cup of chopped walnuts to the middle sugar layer and then some more on the top.
The Tough Cookie says
I’m so glad you like the recipe Nancy! I love the idea of adding walnuts to the sugar layer 🙂