This no-mixer Easy Zucchini Crumb Cake is moist, tender and topped with a generous layer of crisp, buttery, brown sugar crumbs – a delicious confection that’s fabulous for breakfast, with tea or coffee and for dessert!
I feel, as I’m sharing this Zucchini Crumb Cake, that I’m introducing you to a very old friend. A long-time friend that’s been as faithful and true as the day is long. But it’s also a friend that just got brand new clothes… and a new lease on life!
This recipe’s been in my file for over 40 years. A coworker brought it as a treat one evening when I was working as a nurse (my former life) at a small hospital in rural Wisconsin. She simply called it “Zucchini Bread” and left it in the lounge for the staff to nibble on during break time. One taste was all it took for me to know it was no average zucchini bread and I begged her for the recipe. The next time we worked together she handed me the recipe scribbled on a small note card. It’s been a treasure ever since.
I renamed it 10 years ago, when my daughter, Cait, started making it regularly. I called it “Cait’s Zucchini Bread” and we shared it on the blog (along with her adaptations) back in 2012 (don’t look at the pictures, we were just getting started).
One of my favorite things about this recipe is that, in addition to shredded zucchini, there’s also crushed pineapple included to create a tender, moist, sweet crumb. There’s no need to drain the pineapple, just open a can, measure one-third cup and add it to the batter, juice and all.
I also love that you can put this delicious confection together quickly and, before you know it, there’s an amazing aroma wafting through the house! Oh, and as that tantalizing aroma fills the house, there’s magic going on inside the oven too. As this zucchini crumb cake bakes, it develops a crisp, golden crust while the pineapple-zucchini-flecked interior stays moist and tender.
A new rendition…
I decided to spiff up this zucchini bread recipe and turn it into a crumb cake, which could be served for breakfast, with tea or coffee and for dessert. In this rendition, the loaf pan is switched out for a round cake pan. A buttery, brown sugar crumble topping (with optional walnuts) is the crowning glory of this cake and a light vanilla drizzle gives it another layer of deliciousness!
This Easy Zucchini Crumb Cake has gotten lots of thumbs up from taste-testers, both here at The Café as well as numerous neighbors down our mountain road. We love to leave treats in their mailboxes then send a text saying, “Special delivery from The Café in your mailbox!”.
I know, without a doubt (since I just indulged in another
sliver slice myself) that your family, friends, neighbors, etc. will also LOVE this fabulous sweet treat! Happy baking!
Café Tips for making this Easy Zucchini Crumb Cake
- This recipe calls for 1 cup of shredded zucchini. That’s one medium-size zucchini. I like to use a box grater (the large hole side) for this. I love this KitchenAid box grater with a detachable storage container. The storage container has markings for 1/2-cup, 1-cup, 1 1/2-cup, and 2-cup which is so nice as you can measure as you grate. Know anyone who loves to cook? This would make a wonderful gift!
- This recipe calls for ⅓ cup of undrained crushed pineapple. That’s approximately one half of a small 8-ounce can. The remaining pineapple can be frozen and then thawed for the next time you want to make this cake. (Believe me, you will want to make it again!)
- Sometimes I double this recipe and make two cakes, one for us and one to give away or stash in the freezer. If I double the recipe, I use 3 eggs (instead of 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks) and the entire 8-ounce can of pineapple.
- You’ll notice in the recipe, that the cake bakes for 20 minutes before the crumb topping is added. This helps the crumbs to stay on the top, instead of sinking into the cake.
- Every oven is different so the baking time for this cake may vary a bit. You can test for doneness with a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake. When the cake is done, the toothpick will come out clean or with just a few little crumbs. If it comes out wet, the cake is not done and needs to be returned to the oven.
- The BEST way to determine if a cake is done is to use an instant thermometer. The temperature will be right around 205˚F the cake is perfectly done. Instant thermometers are not expensive and are indispensable in the kitchen. It will save you from under or overdone cakes and meats and lots of other things.
Thought for the day:
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep. Psalm 121:1-4
What we’re listening to for inspiration:
- 2 ounces butter (½ stick)
- ⅓ cup chopped walnuts optional
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk (from a large egg)
- 1 cup grated zucchini (no need to wring out the zucchini)
- ⅓ cup canned crushed pineapple undrained (half of an 8-ounce can)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1½ cups flour
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk or half and half
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 325F. Spray a round 8-inch cake pan (with at least 2-inch sides) with baking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper. (If your pan does not have 2 inch sides, use a 9-inch round pan.)
- In a medium-size, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave for 1 minute on high power. Add the walnuts (if using) brown sugar, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir with a fork until well-combined and crumbs start forming. Set aside until ready to use. The crumbs will firm up as they sit.
- Whisk together the sugar, oil and eggs until smooth. Add the zucchini, pineapple and vanilla and stir until well combined.
Sprinkle the baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon over the top and stir to combine. Add the flour and stir just until all of the flour is incorporated.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and gently top with the crumb topping.
Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 18-25 minutes(a total time of 38-45 minutes), until the center is firm when touched lightly on the top of the cake. You can also test the doneness with a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake. It will come out clean or with just a few crumbs when the cake is done. You can also test the doneness with an instant thermometer which should register 205-210˚F when the cake is finished.
Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes then invert onto a clean plate. Invert again onto a cooling rack so that the crumb topping is back on the top. Allow the cake to cool for 15-20 minutes before adding the drizzle.
Combine powdered sugar, milk (or half and half) and vanilla and stir well with a small whisk or a fork. Drizzle over the top of the cake and ENJOY!
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear other’s results and ideas for variations.
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