Zucchini Coffee Cake

This sweet zucchini coffee cake is perfect for breakfast or dessert. Filled with fresh finely shredded zucchini and cinnamon brown sugar flavor. Perfectly moist and ready in no time!

This sweet zucchini coffee cake is perfect for breakfast or dessert. Filled with fresh finely shredded zucchini and cinnamon brown sugar flavor. Perfectly moist and ready in no time!

I’m having surgery on Monday and I’m scared.

Do you know how weird it is to be an adult and be scared? When I was a kid I thought that being an adult meant you were scared of nothing. Little did I know that being an adult meant I would just grow a whole set of new fears and responsibilities. I’ve never had surgery before so the idea seems so foreign to me. At my doctors appointment I made my doctor go over everything with me and explain exactly how the anesthesia worked and how it would be given. Then I started crying because that’s what I do in stressful situations. 

This sweet zucchini coffee cake is perfect for breakfast or dessert. Filled with fresh finely shredded zucchini and cinnamon brown sugar flavor. Perfectly moist and ready in no time!

If you don’t want to hear about my surgery please feel free to skip this section and move onto the recipe. Spoiler alert: the surgery is in my breast so there will be boob talk. You’ve been warned.

When I was in 7th grade they passed around a fake boob with a small lump in the breast and made everyone feel it so you would know what a worrisome lump actually felt like. Ever since then I have given myself breast exams because that’s what you’re told to do. A few months ago I noticed something odd about my nipple. I kept and eye on the issue and it seemed to never get better so I made a mental note to let my OBGYN know on my next visit. When I got to my appointment I actually debated telling my doctor. I was worried he would think I was weird for looking at my breasts, or tell me it was not a big deal and I would feel like a n00b. Well, because my doctor is amazing he did not dismiss my issues. He sent me to a breast surgeon to have them take a look because as he said “that’s their bread and butter.”

Alrighty then.

I’ll save you all the details of my million doctor appointment but after 2 ultrasounds, 1 mammogram and several blood tests it’s been determined that I have a intraductal papilloma in my breast. Which is really a fancy term for a small tumor inside my milk duct. The good news is that I have a 85% chance of it being benign so I would say those odds are pretty awesome. Don’t get me wrong – the irrational part of my brain is telling me to freak out and that’s it’s cancer but luckily my rational side is keeping me calm.

So why did I tell you all about my lady bits? Half therapeutic rambling and half as a gentle reminder to practice a little bit of self care. It’s important to take care of yourself and you should never feel embarrassed to bring something up to your doctor. Had I ignored the little voice in my head my little issue could have turned into something much larger. And it should be noted that most breast cancers start in the milk ducts so it’s pretty serious business to not ignore things like this.

This is also a good time to remind all you ladies to take care of your ta-ta’s. Check them out and if you notice something strange or different don’t be afraid to tell your doctor. Trust me, they won’t laugh at you or call you crazy.

This sweet zucchini coffee cake is perfect for breakfast or dessert. Filled with fresh finely shredded zucchini and cinnamon brown sugar flavor. Perfectly moist and ready in no time!

Now I wish I had some fancy segue into this cake but I’m all out of ideas. Instead I’ll just tell you all about it. It’s crazy easy to make (you mix it all up in just 1 bowl!) and is a huge crowd pleaser. I actually made this cake yesterday and took it to our neighbors for a little taste test. Well, there is none left so I guess everyone loved it! That’s actually a lie – I took a few pieces and put them in the freezer so I would have a treat for after my surgery. I’m always thinking ahead like that.

Plus surgery is a fabulous excuse to eat cake. Am I right?

This sweet zucchini coffee cake is perfect for breakfast or dessert. Filled with fresh finely shredded zucchini and cinnamon brown sugar flavor. Perfectly moist and ready in no time!

If you’re worried this cake will just taste like vegetables don’t worry. It does not have an in your face zucchini flavor but instead it just subtly shines through. Plus I made it with white whole wheat flour so this baby is whole grain. That means there is 22% less guilt about eating it for breakfast.

Well, if you’re me.

Scratch that. I never feel guilty about eating cake for breakfast. I’m an adult damn it. If I want cake for breakfast I’ll eat cake for breakfast!

{Looking for more totally acceptable breakfast cakes? Try my pumpkin spice latte coffee cake, strawberry rhubarb coffee cake or my banana cinnamon streusel coffee cake.}


Zucchini Coffee Cake

This sweet zucchini coffee cake is perfect for breakfast or dessert. Filled with fresh finely shredded zucchini and cinnamon brown sugar flavor. Perfectly moist and ready in no time!

Yield: 9x13 pan

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes


For cinnamon sugar topping:

  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

For cake: 

  • 1-1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2-1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1-1/2 cups finely shredded zucchini, water squeezed out

Slightly adapted from Pinch of Yum


For cinnamon sugar topping:
In a medium sized mixing bowl add all ingredients and using a pasty blender blend together the mixture until it appears sandy in texture, set aside.

For cake:
Preheat oven to 325 and spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl add in all ingredients (except the cinnamon sugar topping) and stir to combine.

Pour half the batter into the pan, spread out and top with 1/2 of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Pour the remaining batter on top, gently spread to coat and use the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture to cover the top.

Bake for about 45 minutes until the cake is fully cooked and gently springs back when touched.

Note: If desired you can use vegetable oil instead of butter, vanilla extract in place of vanilla bean paste and white flour instead of white whole wheat flour.

36 Responses to “Zucchini Coffee Cake”

  1. #
    Christie — August 13, 2015 at 8:03 am

    Good luck with your surgery. I will be thinking of you. This is the second time in less than a day that someone has reminced me I skipped my mammogram this year. I think that is a pretty big hint to get it done. Thanks for the reminder. .

  2. #
    Kristen @ A Mind Full Mom — August 13, 2015 at 8:06 am

    Prayers for your surgery–I know you are scared but I am praying you find peace and comfort and results are benign!!

  3. #
    Beth — August 13, 2015 at 8:10 am

    I’ll definitely be praying for you Monday morning! We’ll all be anxious to make sure you’re okay!

  4. #
    Veronica Gantley — August 13, 2015 at 8:12 am

    I will be praying for you Brandi. My daughter had the same type of tumor and it was benign. I will bet that yours will be too. Thank you for discussing this very important subject. Your post may have convinced one more woman to get checked. As we know early detection is key. Please, please keep us updated with your prognosis.

  5. #
    Monique @ Ambitious Kitchen — August 13, 2015 at 8:17 am

    I’m so glad that you got everything looked at. I didn’t know your surgery was coming up so soon. Hopefully it’s smooth and quick procedure! I will be thinking and praying for you. Also, ZUCCHINI coffee cake. I loved your snapchat on this; I mean, that topping!! And also loving that you used whole wheat flour 🙂 xo

  6. #
    Amy Stafford — August 13, 2015 at 8:25 am

    So sorry to hear about your lump Brandy. I found one a few years ago and went through the same thing as you, several doctors appts, mamograms, ultasounds and a biopsy, and it was benign sist. I will say a prayer for you! Loving this cake and following you on snapchat, you lways make me laugh!

  7. #
    Marye — August 13, 2015 at 8:37 am

    Surgery is absolutely no fun, but it sounds like you have a good doctor who actually cares about your mental state. I will definitely be praying!
    This coffee cake looks amazing! I wish I had some now!

  8. #
    Aimee @ ShugarySweets — August 13, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Awww hang in there. Sorry you’re going through this right now, I’ll be thinking of you!! I’m glad you’ve got a good dr. who took things seriously! You should bring him some of this amazing cake 🙂

  9. #
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — August 13, 2015 at 9:02 am

    haha, creepily, surgery stories always interest me! Wouldn’t it be nice to have a big slice of cake waiting for you after it? Man. So good. But cake like this can be enjoyed ANY time!! Love this recipe!

  10. #
    cristina — August 13, 2015 at 9:23 am

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, experience, and reminder message through this scary time for you, Brandy. I’m looking forward to your post after the surgery about how well it went and that you’re all fine and taken care of. All my positive and good thoughts I’m sending your way. 🙂

    I’m so making this zucchini coffee cake of yours. I have eight squash in my fridge right now and a couple of them are going in this cake!

  11. #
    Jessica @ Stuck On Sweet — August 13, 2015 at 10:53 am

    gorgeous pictures! can’t wait to try out this recipe!

  12. #
    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — August 13, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Sending good vibes so the surgery will be quick and easy. And gorgeous coffee cake is always a good idea! Pinned!

  13. #
    Jocelyn @BruCrew Life — August 13, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Awe, what a scary life issue to be dealing with. I am so glad you have a doctor that takes things seriously. It is always good to get those things looked at sooner than later. I will keep you in my prayers as you have surgery! And of course this yummy cake will be in my thoughts too…I mean zucchini all the things is my motto right now!

  14. #
    Claire — August 13, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    It’s so crazy because I’m more scared now as an adult than I ever was as a kid. I’m like constantly worried about things – all the time. But you’re going to be JUST fine. But it’s a scary thing, so I completely get it. Just know we love you and are thinking about you!!

  15. #
    The Food Hunter — August 13, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    good luck…thoughts are with you.

  16. #
    Jessica (Savory Experiments) — August 13, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    I’ve had zucchini brownies before, but never coffee cake. I love having my veggies hidden. 🙂

  17. #
    Jessica (Savory Experiments) — August 13, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    And good luck with your surgery!

  18. #
    Sara — August 13, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    I hope all goes well, I’ll be thinking of you. This is a great way to use up zucchini, can’t wait to try it.

  19. #
    Joanne — August 13, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    I am SO proud of you for giving yourself breast exams!! And for bringing this up to your doctor. It’s scary stuff, but so worth it. Good luck on Monday!

  20. #
    Karen @ The Food Charlatan — August 14, 2015 at 12:31 am

    one time when I was little I saw an episode of full house where the dad explained to Stephanie that he didn’t know everything, and I remember being totally shocked. It was actually kind of scary to think that my parents didn’t know everything!! haha. wouldn’t that be nice. I’m sorry you’re feeling scared Brandy, I hope that everything goes well and I will send some prayers your way 🙂

  21. #
    Renee - Kudos Kitchen — August 14, 2015 at 8:44 am

    I’m sending you virtual hugs and wishes for the best outcome possible. I’m so glad you caught it early and it sounds like it can be treated very successfully. I have a good friends that just had a lumpectomy 2 weeks ago and will undergo radiation for the next few weeks. Her surgery went very well and they got it all out. I’m sure the same will be true for you too. It’s ok to be scared. It’s a scary thing. So glad you caught it. I know you’ll be fine.
    Segue to cake: Eat as much as you like. It looks delicious!

  22. #
    Julie — August 14, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Hey. I get this. It was a year ago on the 20th that I had my surgery for my colon cancer. I was all, “hey–no big deal. I can handle this” and hid my fear because I didn’t want to freak Stephie out (moms do this stuff). But as they wheeled me back, I realized that this was my first major surgery (I don’t count getting my tonsils out as major surgery), and I was scared. However, it was ungrounded and everything was great. Well, besides getting stuck in the recovery room for 4 hours and being hungry. The good thing is that you literally go to sleep and then wake up and it’s all over. You’ll be fine and I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Plus side is that you can demand any food you want and your husband will feel sorry for you and get it for you. I’d start with ice cream, myself. With a piece of this cake alongside it!! Just yum.

  23. #
    Lana | NeverEnoughThyme. — August 14, 2015 at 9:22 am

    I’ve made a note on my calendar to say a prayer for you on Monday morning. I really do know how scary it feels anticipating surgery. I had spinal fusion surgery in June.Fingers crossed that you’re going to be fine and this is all going to turn out to be no big deal. Once it’s all over, just help yourself to a big old slice of this delicious cake!

  24. #
    Shashi at RunninSrilankan — August 14, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Surgery is most definitely a fabulous excuse to eat cake – especially when that cake is chock full of zucchini! So glad you take care of your tatas and I hope and pray everything goes well! Sending hugs your way

  25. #
    Justine | Cooking and Beer — August 14, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    You make zucchini in cake look like something I need in my life! LOVE the coffee addition! Pinned!

  26. #
    Martha @ A Family Feast — August 14, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Good luck with your surgery – very glad that you listened to your instincts and said something to your doc! Sending prayers!

  27. #
    Jill Levine — August 14, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    Good luck Brandy, I know you are going to be fine. But understandably, anytime you face the unknown, it can be a bit scary. My trick when in this situation is to say “well tomorrow at this time, it will be all over with and I’ll be (fill in the blank).” And as an aside, never, never, never withhold this kind of issue from your doc – believe me, they have heard it all! I’ll be thinking and praying for you. Be well.

  28. #
    Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes — August 14, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    I will say a prayer for you Monday!!! I love this cake – the best dessert recipes are the ones that are acceptable for any time of the day 🙂

  29. #
    Susan — August 14, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    I’ll be thinking of you on Monday, Brandy. Good luck with the surgery and there’s nothing wrong with being afraid. I’ve had more surgeries than I’d like to count, so I feel you. It’s always best to speak up to your doctors, in some case if we hadn’t I’d probably still be dealing with back pain (among other things, oy)! Eat your cake and get plenty of rest and recovery.

  30. #
    Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet — August 14, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    Gosh, I will be praying that you are in the 85%! I think you are tighter as adults we have so many new things to be scared of. I know I would. Good luck!

  31. #
    Kim Beaulieu — August 15, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about this. But thankful both you & your doctor took it seriously. I’ll be sending all good vibes your way. If it helps, and it probably doesn’t, I’ve gone through something similar this year. If you ever need to talk just holler.

    I think it’s awesome you put some of this beautiful cake away for after surgery. You have so much self restraint. I would eat this all up right away.

    Hugs, and lots of love. xx

  32. #
    Serene @ House of Yumm — August 16, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    What a scary thing to be going through. Thank goodness you did checks and found it. Praying for you that the results show that it’s nothing serious! In other news, this cake looks amazingly delicious. And I’m wishing I had some next to me right now!!

  33. #
    Linda — August 16, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    Lord I pray for peace to surround Brandy as she prepares for her surgery. May she feel your love, presence. and strength surround her. I pray for complete healing. In the Name of Jesus Amen

  34. #
    Melissa from Hungry Food Love — August 17, 2015 at 6:54 am

    Hi Brandy! I know it must be real though but as many have said here, it will be for the best and you will be protected and healed trust that. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe on the midst of this. All the best!

  35. #
    Jessica DeMay — August 26, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    This cake looks so amazing and your pictures are gorgeous (as always!!). I have a huge zucchini to use right now and I’m thinking this is the perfect recipe!


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