It seems like we have zucchini coming out of the woodwork these days! Everyone has it growing like mad in their gardens and no one can use it up fast enough. I happen to adore zucchini, but even I’ve been feeling a bit challenged trying to find some different and interesting ways to use it. And then, I found the recipe for this cake – Zucchini Olive Oil Cake with Crunchy Lemon Glaze. The moment I saw it, I knew I had to make it.
This is not your typical, dense, leaden loaf of zucchini bread, people. No, no, no! It is cake. Real, honest-to-goodness cake, with a moist, light and delicate crumb drenched in a lovely sweet-tart lemon glaze. And, it is heavenly!
It all starts with the usual cast of cake ingredients, like flour, sugar and eggs. There are also a few special guest stars, like coarsely grated, fresh from the garden zucchini…
And, some fragrant, fruity extra-virgin olive oil. Yes, olive oil. In cake!
Let’s not forget the crunchy, yummy toasted pecans. How could anything not be wonderful with toasted pecans?
I’ll admit it doesn’t look like much before being baked, but just wait until it comes out of the oven…
And it gets a nice slathering of that delightful lemon glaze.
Seriously folks, this was one of the tastiest cakes I’ve ever baked – and there was no chocolate ganache or Swiss buttercream in sight. Even Mr. “I Don’t Eat Sweets” SGCC indulged in two slices – and that’s saying something!
I have to say, I was a little leery about using extra virgin olive oil in a cake. I was afraid that flavor would be too assertive, but it wasn’t. In fact, if I hadn’t known it was in there, I wouldn’t have ever guessed. On its own, the cake has a slightly earthy, mellow quality to it, and is not overly sweet. The lemony glaze, however, is what really gives this cake its va va voom. A mixture of granulated and confectioner’s sugars is what supposedly gives the glaze its crunch. Although I thought the glaze was really delicious, I have to say I didn’t find it to be particularly “crunchy”. But, I didn’t care. It is a luscious glaze adorning a fabulous cake. Who could ask for more?
Zucchini Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Glaze
adapted from Dolce Italiano  by Gina DePalma
For the cake:
- 2 cups (240 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cup (306 g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (237 mil) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups (438 g) grated zucchini (about 2 small zucchini)
- 1 cup (75 g) chopped pecans, toasted
For the glaze:
- 1/4 cup (59 mil) fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 cup (58 g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (130 g) confectioners sugar
- Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Lightly grease a 10-cup Bundt pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In the bowl of the stand mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, and olive oil together on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat in the vanilla extract.
- Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined, then increase speed to medium and mix for 30 seconds. Mix in the zucchini and pecan pieces.
- Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan, smooth the top with a spatula and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Rotate the cake halfway through baking to ensure even browning.
- Make the glaze while the cake is baking. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and granulated sugar until combined. Then, whisk in the confectioners sugar until the glaze is smooth.
- Remove the baked cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Place the wire rack over a piece of wax paper and flip the cake onto the rack. Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze all over the hot cake. Allow the cake to cool and the glaze to dry completely before serving.
- Store cake in a covered cake saver or covered with plastic wrap and consume within 2 days.