Sunday, September 11, 2011

Vegan Zucchini Lemon Cake

“Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.”
... -Jim Davis
I love this quote, and I couldn't agree more.  As far as I am concerned you can never have too many veggies and I love trying to find ways to add them to sweet baked goods.  So after all of the tomato recipes I had recently posted, I decided zucchini deserved a chance this weekend. 

I have made both zucchini spice cake and chocolate zucchini cake in the past, so I decided to go a little different direction and make a zucchini lemon cake. I have inherited my Mom and Grandmother's love for all things lemon, and I thought the mild zucchini would pair well with it. 

I have never seen a recipe for such a cake, but that has never stopped me.  I decided that I had to puree some of the zucchini to keep the cake moist, but also use some grated zucchini skin to get the lovely green flecks which I so love. 

I added plenty of lemon to the cake layers, and at first I was simply going to flavor the cream cheese frosting with lemon but instead made a tart vegan lemon curd to balance out the sweetness of the cake and the creamy cream cheese frosting that held it together. 

I coated the outside of the cake with toasted pecans for crunch to finish it off.  It was delicious!  The zucchini blended in but it contributed a wonderful moistness to the cake.  There is no such thing as too much zucchini as far as I am concerned, you just need to know how to enjoy it!  If you are tired of the usual zucchini desserts, give this cake a try!

Vegan Zucchini Lemon Cake
Makes 1 6 inch 4 layer cake

2 6 inch cake pans

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup maple sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup grated green zucchini skin
1 cup pureed zucchini
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract
2 Tbsp lemon zest
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp lite coconut milk
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
Curd Filling:
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp organic lemon zest
1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp agave nectar
1/4 cup cornstarch
pinch of sea salt
2 Tbsp full fat coconut milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp coconut oil
3 8 oz pkgs tofutti cream cheese
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp agave nectar
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
a pinch of sea salt

1/2 cup toasted pecans
plant based food coloring

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and position rack in center of oven. Line two six-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides with parchment paper. Coat parchment paper and pan sides with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, baking soda, and sea salt together in a large bowl to blend well. Whisk oil, sugar, juice and zest, coconut milk, vanilla extract, lemon extract, zucchini, and pecans together in small bowl to blend well, then whisk into the flour mixture until well blended. Transfer cake batter to prepared pan and bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes. Cool cake completely in pan on rack, about 1 hour. Cut around sides of pan to loosen. Turn cake out onto platter; peel off parchment paper. Let cool completely, then place in the fridge to chill until very cold to make slicing easier. When chilled, slice cakes horizontally in half so that you have 4 layers.

To make the filling, combine agave nectar, cornstarch, and sea salt in a medium pot, and whisk until combined. Add the juice and zest and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium high heat whisking constantly until thickened to a curd or pudding like consistency, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in coconut milk, coconut oil, and vanilla. Pour into a bowl, and let chill in the fridge until very cold, at least an hour. 
To make frosting, whip cream cheese until smooth, then add agave nectar, vanilla, and sea salt and beat until smooth.
To assemble cake, place one layer on a plate, and top with about about 1/2 cup of the frosting, spread to the edge of the cake, then spoon 2 Tbsp lemon curd over and spread to 1/2 inch from the edge so it doesn't ooze out. Top with another layer and repeat, then the next 2 layers ending with a top layer of cake (you will have extra curd for another use. Place in the fridge for about an hour to allow the filling to set up before frosting.  To frost cake, spread frosting over top and sides, smothing out as you go. Cover the sides of the cake with the pecans.  Tint any leftover frosting whatever color you desire, and pipe remaining frosting decoratively around top of the cake using a pastry bag or plastic ziplock with a hole in the corner.
*if you would like a 4 layer 9 inch cake, double this entire recipe and bake in two 9 inch cake pans.


  1. Your cakes are always so beautiful!

  2. Did I say before that you never disappoint? Well you never disappoint! :))) This cake looks and sounds perfect, and love how you made it so pretty!

  3. Oh this has got to be the best zucchini cake ever! The layers of curd and frosting take this over the top!!! Both beautiful AND delicious~

  4. Omg... I want it for my birthday!

  5. I loooooooooooove lemon cake, and I looooooooooove how pretty your cake looks!

  6. What the other gals have said is so true! Your cakes all look so amazing! This one is no exception! That lemon curd looks so tasty!

  7. Oh yes. Beautiful cake and great use for veggies! No argument!

  8. I agree veggies should be added to our diets, preferably in the form of delicious baked goods! This cake looks amazing! I am so going to try and make vegan lemon curd, you got the wheels turning in my head!

  9. Very cool idea to add lemon curd to a zucchini cake! Looks delicious.

  10. Be still my heart! This looks and sounds amazing!!

  11. This is an absolutely gorgeous cake, Amy :-) You did a superb job! I bow down to you, Cake Mistress :-) I have to say, though, your picture of the cake as a whole? I totally thought that was cooked bacon slathered on the outside, lol!

  12. Your cakes always look so stunning. :) I like the curd layer in addition to the cream cheese frosting....beautiful layering effect and the taste probably out of this world.

  13. Veggies make cakes taste so moist and delicious! And I love all the layers. This looks delicious, my friend! I hope you are having a wonderful week. I've been busy baking a cake for my grandparent's anniversary. Much love...and thanks for making me smile.

  14. Just found your blog and tried out this recipe (with some what-ingredients-are-in-my-cupboard-tweaks), and it was amazing! Your recipes are all so inspired and beautiful, I'm excited to try out more of them!

    1. Thanks so much Ariel :)! Also thank you for letting me know how it turned out, I love to hear from readers! Thanks so much for visiting my blog!

  15. Zucchini and Lemon in a cake? Well, that's interesting! Sounds nice and I absultely have to try this one!