Lemon Zucchini Coffee Cake

A burst of fresh lemon and shredded zucchini combine to create this moist and tender Lemon Zucchini Coffee Cake. This all-purpose cake is delicious with scrambled eggs in the morning or a cup of tea in the afternoon.

A fork lifts a bite of Lemon Zucchini Coffee Cake.

I’ve made this Lemon Zucchini Coffee Cake three times over the course of the past month, making small tweaks each time until it was perfect.

And, it is just that. It is lemony-sweet, super moist and tender with the most perfect lemon infused crumb topping. Then, just to drive home the lemon flavor, the cake is topped with a drizzle of a simple lemon glaze.

A slice of lemon zucchini cake with a fork on a white plate.

Ingredients

There are three components to this recipe. The cake, the crumb topping, and a simple icing.

For the Lemon Zucchini Cake

  • all-purpose flour
  • baking powder (I use aluminum free)
  • salt
  • granulated sugar
  • nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • vegetable oil
  • eggs
  • lemons (I love to use Meyer lemons for this recipe)
  • pure vanilla extract
  • zucchini

You will need 2 lemons and definitely go with Meyer lemons if you can find them. They are dependably sweet and just fabulous in baked goods.

For the Crumb Topping

  • all-purpose flour
  • light brown sugar
  • granulated sugar
  • lemon zest
  • salt
  • cold butter

For the Lemon Glaze

  • powdered sugar
  • milk
  • lemon juice

Why Use Aluminum Free Baking Powder?

If you’ve ever noticed a metallic taste in any baked good, the likely culprit is baking powder. This is especially likely to happen in recipes without strong flavors like biscuits or simply flavored cakes. Using aluminum-free baking powder is an easy way to ensure the true flavors of all of your baked goods will shine through. That being said, it is just fine to use regular baking powder in this recipe but I recommend you pick up the aluminum-free variety and give it a try. It’s only slightly more expensive and you should be able to find it at most major grocery stores. Read more on Epicurious about why aluminum-free baking powder is better.

A close up of the iced cake shot from over the top.

How to Make Lemon Zucchini Cake

Gather your ingredients, shred your zucchini, and zest a couple of lemons.

The wet mixture is combined in a glass mixing bowl and shredded zucchini is added.
  • In a large mixing bowl use an electric mixer to combine sugar, yogurt, vegetable oil, eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla extract.
  • Use a wooden spoon to stir in the shredded zucchini.
The dry mixture is added to the wet mixture and combined.
  • Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl and add it to the wet mixture.
  • Mix it until combined.

How to Make the Crumb Topping

The ingredients for the crumb topping are combined in a small glass bowl.
  • Place the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, lemon zest, salt, and butter in a small mixing bowl.
  • Work the mixture with a pastry blender or fork for several minutes until the pieces of butter are pea-sized then use clean hands to work the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
The lemon zucchini cake is topped with the crumb topping and baked.
  • Sprinkle the the crumb topping evenly over the surface of the cake.
  • Bake until a toothpick insert in the center of the cake comes out clean and the crumb topping is golden brown.

How to Make the Lemon Glaze

The ingredients for the lemon glaze are combined in a small glass bowl.
  • Combine powdered sugar, milk and just enough lemon juice to reach a nice drizzling consistency.
Lemon icing pours from a spoon on to the surface of the lemon zucchini cake.
  • Drizzle the lemon glaze over the crumb topping of the cake while it is still slightly warm.
A spatula lifts a slice of lemon zucchini coffee cake.

We enjoy this Lemon Zucchini Coffee Cake at all times of the day and night. There are no rules with this one. Serve it for breakfast, with a hot cup of tea in the afternoon, or call it dessert!

It is incredible while still slightly warm but it is wonderful at any temperature.

Lemon Zucchini Cake in a round baking dish with a slice missing.

How to Store Coffee Cake

There is no need to refrigerate this cake if you plan on consuming it within a few days. Just cover the coffee cake with a layer of plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out and let it sit on the kitchen counter. I promise, it won’t last long

But, if you have the willpower of a superhero or are just baking for one or two, cover the cake tightly with plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge to keep it fresh for a week or more. Let the cake rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving or warm slices briefly in the microwave.

Lemon Zucchini Coffee Cake in a round baking dish with a cup of tea in the background.
A fork lifts up a bite of the coffee cake.

More wonderful ways to bake with lemon and zucchini:

A fork lifts a bite of Lemon Zucchini Coffee Cake.
Print

Lemon Zucchini Coffee Cake

A burst of fresh lemon and shredded zucchini combine to create this moist and tender Lemon Zucchini Coffee Cake. This all-purpose cake is delicious with scrambled eggs in the morning or a cup of tea in the afternoon.

Course Breakfast, Dessert

Cuisine American

Servings 8

Calories 442kcal

Lemon Zucchini Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 lemons zested and juiced, divided (use Meyer lemons if possible)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded unpeeled zucchini, loosely packed

Crumb Topping

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon reserved lemon zest
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces

Lemon Glaze

  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice, or as needed to reach drizzling consistency
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch round or square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. A deep dish pie plate works nicely.

Lemon Zucchini Cake

  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

  • In a large mixing bowl use an electric mixer to combine the sugar, yogurt, vegetable oil, eggs, 1/4 cup lemon juice (reserve 2 teaspoons juice for later), 2 teaspoons lemon zest (reserve remaining zest for later) and the vanilla extract. Mix until well combined. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the zucchini. Add the dry mixture and mix again just until combined.

  • Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish.

Crumb Topping

  • Place the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, remaining reserved lemon zest (about 1 teaspoon), salt, and butter in a small mixing bowl. Work the mixture with a pastry blender or fork for several minutes until the pieces of butter are pea-sized then use your hands to work the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the surface of the cake.

  • Bake for 35 to 42 minutes, or until the crumb topping is light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool for at about 15 minutes before drizzling with the lemon glaze.

Lemon Glaze

  • Combine the powdered sugar, milk and as much of the remaining lemon juice as needed to reach a nice drizzling consistency (no more than 1 to 2 teaspoons). Drizzle over the crumb topping of the cake while it is still slightly warm.

  • Delicious served warm or cold.

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 442kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 207mg | Potassium: 206mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 222IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 2mg

Adapted from my Lemon Yogurt Poppy Seed Bread and The Pioneer Woman 

A fork lifts a piece of Lemon Zucchini Coffee Cake with text overlay.

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