Cinnamon swirl zucchini cake is an easy summer recipe. Bake this cake in a loaf pan and top with cinnamon icing for extra sweetness.

cinnamon swirl zucchini cake cut with slices showing cinnamon swirl. Knife with icing and cinnamon sticks

It’s that time of year again where zucchini is abundant in the vegetable garden. I took advantage of the surplus of squash and baked cinnamon swirl zucchini cake.

This cake is soft, moist and filled with a cinnamon swirl. The cake loaf is topped with a cinnamon glaze, which adds just the right amount of sweetness. You could eat this cake for dessert or breakfast if you ask me!

cinnamon swirl zucchini cake profile view showing cinnamon swirl. Milk bottle in the background. Light and airy photography

Why zucchini makes cake moist

Zucchini, like many vegetables, is mostly water. The green squash is actually 90% water! The other 10% consists of carbohydrates, sugar, a little protein and minerals.

The water content makes zucchini an excellent ingredient for breads and cakes. It naturally makes the baked goods extra moist without weighing it down too much. Zucchini also doesn’t have much flavor, which makes it a versatile ingredient.

To keep the moisture in the zucchini, shred the squash right before adding it to the batter. The vegetable will begin to dry out as soon as you cut it open. Keep the water content in the vegetable as long as possible so it evaporates into the cake during the baking process.

cinnamon swirl zucchini cake slices on white plates with forks and striped kitchen towel. White wood background, milk bottle and cinnamon sticks

Zucchini loaf cake recipe steps

Making a loaf of zucchini cake is rather easy. Mix the dry ingredients together in one bowl. Then mix the wet ingredients in another. Combine the two together and stir just until combined.

Add the shredded zucchini last so the moisture remains in the squash and can evaporate during the baking process. Always mix just until combined and avoid over mixing. Mixing too much will create a tough, dense cake.

What makes this zucchini cake special is the cinnamon sugar swirl.

cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top of cake batter in a 9x5 loaf pan

Cinnamon swirl in cakes

Cinnamon swirl is a visual and tasteful surprise in cakes. It is rather simple to do too!

In a small bowl combine cinnamon and granulated sugar. I find that 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and 3 tablespoons sugar is a good ratio. If you run out, you can always make more!

Layer half the cake batter in the pan, then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly on top. Finish by pouring the remaining cake batter on top of the cinnamon sugar. That’s all it takes!

cinnamon swirl zucchini cake close up shot of cake with icing

More recipes with zucchini

Lucky for you, I find myself baking with zucchini quite often in the summer. I have an archive of zucchini recipes right here!

cinnamon swirl cake slices on parchment paper and kitchen cloth

If you have an abundance of zucchini, try making this zucchini cake. Show of your skills with the cinnamon swirl and icing on top of each slice!

cinnamon swirl zucchini cake close up shot of cake with icing

Cinnamon Swirl Zucchini Cake

Cinnamon swirl zucchini cake is an easy summer recipe. Bake this cake in a loaf pan and top with cinnamon icing for extra sweetness.

Ingredients

Cinnamon Swirl Zucchini Cake

  • 1 1/2  cups (187 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  baking powder
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/2  cup  (56 g or 4 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • eggs, room temperature
  • teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2  cup  (1 stick or 113 g) unsalted butter,  melted and cooled
  • cup  zucchini shredded, about 1 medium zucchini

Cinnamon Swirl

  • 3 tablespoons  granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons  cinnamon

Cinnamon Glaze

  • 1/2  cup  (56 g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4  teaspoon  cinnamon
  • 1/4  teaspoon  vanilla
  • 1-3  teaspoons  milk

Equipment

  • KitchenAid Mixer
  • 9"x5" Loaf Pan

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350° Line a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper and grease with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing for one minute after each addition. Mix in vanilla and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl if necessary. Pour in melted butter and beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes.
  • With the mixer on low, carefully add flour mixture and mix just until combined (avoid over mixing). Add zucchini and stir in by hand until incorporated.
  • Make the cinnamon swirl by stirring cinnamon and sugar together in small bowl.
  • Pour half of cake batter into prepared pan and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle cinnamon swirl mixture over batter. Top with the rest of the batter and gently spread the batter evenly. Tap the pan a few times to release any air bubbles.
  • Bake for 45 minutes or until cake test is done. Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes. Then turn onto a wire rack and let it cool completely.
  • To make the glaze, mix confectioners' sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and 1 teaspoon milk together in small bowl. You want this to be a little thicker so it doesn't run down the cake. Add more milk if you want it thinner. Use a spoon to evenly drizzle icing over cake.

Notes

Store cake covered at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Serving: 1slice, Calories: 355kcal, Carbohydrates: 53g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 71mg, Sodium: 170mg, Potassium: 135mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 37g, Vitamin A: 549IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 48mg, Iron: 1mg

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