It happened every summer growing up. At some point in July, behind all the leaves and growth in the garden, a zucchini squash or two would go unnoticed for awhile.

With each passing day they would grow larger in size, turning into mammoth zucchinis the size of small baseball bats.

And then one day, watering the plants or picking other vegetables, we’d find them. We’d proudly twist them off the plant and plop them on the kitchen counter. “Mom! Check this out!”

Zucchini squash of any size are great for this recipe because they solely contribute moisture. So you can save the smaller, tender zucchini squashes for cooking.

My mom would bake these cupcakes when we were younger, and always during the summer (for obvious reasons). But nobody complained, as these are soft, tender, delicious spice cakes topped with an addictive brown sugar icing.

For me, they’ll always be a flavor associated with childhood summers.

How to bake this high altitude adjusted recipe:

Zucchini Cakes with Brown Sugar Icing (adapted from Taste of Home)

Zucchini Cakes with Brown Sugar Icing
Recipe type: High Altitude
  • Zucchini Cakes:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ canola oil
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1⅔ cup shredded zucchini
  • Brown Sugar Icing:
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cubed
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½-2 cups powdered sugar
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. To make the cakes, whisk together the eggs, sugar, canola oil, orange juice, and vanilla extract.
  3. In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk until almost combined.
  5. Add the shredded zucchini and fold until just mixed.
  6. Portion into lined or well-greased baking cups.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the tops spring back when lightly touched.
  8. Cool completely then top with Brown Sugar Icing.
  9. For the icing melt the brown sugar, butter, and milk together in a pot over medium heat.
  10. Bring to a boil and let bubble until it thickens slightly, about 2 minutes.
  11. Add the salt and vanilla. Cool to lukewarm.
  12. Beat in the powdered sugar until it reaches a spreadable consistency and frost cakes.
  13. Makes about 1½ dozen standard size cupcakes.


Note: This recipe was adjusted for making and baking at high altitude. To make at sea level, increase the sugar to 1 1/3 cups, baking powder to 2 teaspoons, and baking soda to 1 teaspoon. Reduce the zucchini to 1 1/2 cups. Increase the baking time to 20-25 minutes.

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