Joyous Blog

Zucchini Walnut Cake

Every Monday, Vienna, Walker and I visit the farmers market as you might already know from our homemade tomato sauce we've been eating lately! And I don't really go with a list, I save grocery lists for the grocery store because at the market I decide (for the most part) what I'm going to buy based on what's available and in season. It's more fun that way. I usually plan on bringing around 40 or 60 bucks cash. 

For several weeks now, zucchinis have been at the market in abundance. They are a summer veggie (sorry they're actually a fruit) and since we keep having summer weather here in Toronto, they continue to make an apparance. That's why I decided to bake something with zucchini. 

Zucchini is often overlooked because it's not ranked nutritionally with the likes of kale and broccoli. However, it's definitely worth eating more often because it's rich in vitamin C, potassium, fiber and a variety of antioxidants.

The type of fiber zucchinis are rich in is called pectin, which is wonderful for gut health and cardiovascular health. Pectin prevents cholesterol from being reabsorbed back into the body, making zucchinis an excellent choice for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. 

I enjoy zucchini in both savoury and sweet dishes. 

When I realized what an abundance of zukes I had on hand, I was indecisive as to what to make -- bread, muffins or cake?? So I asked instagram and you guys overwhelming said "cake".

This cake doesn't need to be saved for special occasions, mind you! You can enjoy it for breakfast because it's so healthy, full of fiber and doesn't spike your blood sugar the way baked goods with wheat or white flour can. And, it's gluten-free too!

Zucchinis are definitely a veggie you want to purchase organic because some are genetically modified and I recommend you steer clear of GMOs. Now it's highly unlikely at a farmers market you'll find GMO, but it's always a good idea to ask the farmers if you're not sure. 

I used bananas and a little bit of maple syrup to sweeten this cake, but if you don't want to use bananas, feel free to add more applesauce. 

This cake was incredibly moist because of the homemade applesause I used. It's worth the extra step if you've got time. If not, store-bought unsweetened organic applesauce is great too. 

Literally 5 seconds before the photo below of Vienna was taken she was just about in tears wanting to try the cake. I get it... she could smell it baking and the aroma is absolutely wonderful! Cake makes people cry, lol. It's not wonder she was saying "cake, mommy, cake, mommy!"

She's my official recipe tester and she LOVED it!! I've been meaning to hop over to IKEA to get her a proper stool so she can join in the fun with me in the kitchen. I often put her in her high chair to watch, but now that she's two, she wants to help more than just watch. 

So here's the recipe for my Zucchini Walnut Cake!

  • 1 cup zucchini grated, skin on**
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup dark maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Grease the sides of an 8 or 9" springform pan with coconut oil and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Combine zucchini, applesauce, eggs, banana, maple syrup, vanilla and coconut oil in a large bowl.
  3. Combine flours, baking powder and ground spices in a separate bowl.
  4. Combine dry and wet ingredients together. Fold in chopped walnuts but reserve some to sprinkle on top of cake.
  5. Pour cake mixture into springform pan. Place in oven and bake for 25-35 minutes until a knife inserted comes out clean.


*I bake this cake on convection setting and 25 minutes does the trick. If you do not have a convection oven, then you'll likely need to bake it for 35 minutes.

**You could double the amount of zucchini in this recipe. I haven't tried it but after baking it, I thought it could use more zucchini.

I topped this cake with coconut milk based vanilla ice cream from Delight in the Junction. 

Now if you're not a cake person, you can take this exact recipe and turn it into muffins or a loaf.

Just keep in mind you'll need to adjust the baking time. A loaf will take longer and muffins will take less time than the cake. 

We eat a lot of zucchinis when they are in season as you've probably noticed, so if you're looking for more recipes, here's a few.

Zucchini Fritters

Zucchini Frittata Cups

Zucchini Chips 

And there you have it! My Zucchini Walnut Cake. 



Andrea   •   September 26, 2017

Yum! Thanks for posting! I have a huge zucchini sitting on my counter from my garden. Could you sub another flour for the rice flour? I have all the other I ingredients except that one - would buckwheat work? Thanks!!

Rachel Molenda   •   September 26, 2017

Hey Andrea, Buckwheat flour has a bit of a stronger flavour so that may play into it a bit. It's also important to note that not all gluten-free flours are equal swaps, so we wouldn't be able to guarantee results if you were to swap it out. Hope that helps! :) Rachel - Joyous Health Team

Nicky   •   September 26, 2017

Just want to ask if you squeeze the moisture out of the zucchini first before adding into the mixture ? Thanks !

Rachel Molenda   •   September 27, 2017

Hey Nicky, You don't exactly have to wring it out but if there's any additional water when you're measuring, just pour it out. Just loosely pack the 1 cup. Hope that helps! Rachel - Joyous Health Team

Nancy   •   September 26, 2017

Hi, I'll be making this tomorrow! Should the zucchini be wringed through if its water (and therefore the measurement is packed?). Also, I'm assuming it isn't a big deal if I omit the walnuts?

Rachel Molenda   •   September 27, 2017

Hey Nancy, No need to pack it in and get out all of the water - just pack it loosely :) Sure, you can omit walnuts! Rachel - Joyous Health Team

Nancy   •   September 26, 2017

P.S. Let Joy know I had an awesome kitchen tower made so my 2 year old could help me in the kitchen. She may be interested in something similar. I've tagged her in my Instagram photo of us making chewing tahini cookies and my daughter standing on it. :)

Rachel Molenda   •   September 27, 2017

Hey Nancy, That's amazing! Such a good idea and a great way to get your kiddo involved :) Rachel - Joyous Health Team

Kendra   •   September 27, 2017

Hi Joy, I was wondering about flour as well. I have lots of brown rice flour but no coconut. What does the coconut flour do for the cake? Flavour or texture?

Rachel Molenda   •   September 29, 2017

Hey Kendra, More so for texture as too much coconut flour can be more drying but a blend of both brings about a really nice texture :) Rachel - Joyous Health Team

Alexa Anderson   •   October 2, 2017

Made this last night into muffins instead of cake! So delicious and perfect to grab on the run!

Rachel Molenda   •   October 3, 2017

Hey Alexa, Awesome! So happy they worked out for you :) Rachel - Joyous Health Team

Stephanie M.   •   October 7, 2017

Hi, Alexa! I'm interested in making muffins too, can you recall if you and what you adjusted the time to? Thanks, Stephanie

Rebecca D.   •   October 6, 2017

Made this last weekend and my kids devoured it in two days! We're making it again this weekend so that my son can take it as a snack to his preschool!


Adrienne   •   October 11, 2017

Hey there! Made these into muffins tonight and baked them for 45-50 minute and the knife still didn't come out clean. I didn't want to risk over baking them so I let them cool. They still taste great they're just a little doughy on the inside. Is that ok?

Rachel Molenda   •   October 12, 2017

Hey Adrienne, Yup, that's fine :) All of the ingredients will be cooked, it will just depend on what your preference is for texture! Rachel - Joyous Health Team

Marlene   •   October 24, 2017

I just made the zucchini walnut cake. I had a few glitches, but I hoped for the best. It turned out great! I love it. I used 1 and 1/2 cups of grated Zuke. I couldn't find my coconut oil, so I used avocado oil. I though it was a bit runny, so I put in a bit more brown rice flour. I had no nutmeg, but I didn't miss it.

Rachel Molenda   •   October 25, 2017

Hey Marlene, That's great! Good on you for improvising. I hope it was still delicious :) Rachel - Joyous Health Team

Sheila   •   November 30, 2017

Do you set the oven at 350 if you're using Convection Bake (makes it 325)? Anxious to try this. Thanks!

Rachel Molenda   •   December 1, 2017

Hey Sheila, Yup! :) 350 F! Rachel - Joyous Health Team

PJ   •   December 31, 2017

Would a flax egg work as an egg replacer?

Rachel Molenda   •   January 2, 2018

Hey PJ! It should be okay. We haven't tried it so we wouldn't be able to guarantee results but if you end up trying it, let us know how it turns out :) Rachel - Joyous Health Team

Barb   •   March 28, 2018

I have a sensitivity to Banana. What could I substitute? Thanks!

Rachel Molenda   •   March 28, 2018

Hey Barb, Typically we would say you could omit it, but the banana plays the role of texture and natural sweetness in the recipe. You could try to omit it and see how it tastes and maybe add a bit more maple syrup but we wouldn't be able to guarantee results. This Peach and Wild Blueberry Cake is somewhat similar though if you wanted to try that? It doesn't contain banana: Rachel - Joyous Health Team

Susan Malcolm   •   April 30, 2018

I purchased whole grain flour and made the muffin recipe on the package. The muffins were horribly dry and dense. (but healthy ) I ate only one in total. What could be added to the recipe to make the muffins more moist? Thanks .

Rachel Molenda   •   April 30, 2018

Hey Susan, Are you referring to this recipe or the one you tried from a package? It's hard to say without seeing the ingredients but typically eggs, coconut oil, apple sauce and banana are helpful at adding moisture to muffins. Rachel - Joyous Health Team

Kelley   •   August 3, 2018

Could almond flour replace the rice flour?

Joy McCarthy   •   August 3, 2018

Hi kelley, brown rice flour and almond flour are a really different texture so I'm not 100% sure you could make this swap and have the same result. You could increase the coconut flour by a bit and omit the brown rice flour but it would be an experiment, so I can't confirm if it will be a success! If you try either of those, please let me know so I can share with others.

Jessica   •   August 3, 2018

Hi! I’m curious if there’s a substitute to rice flour? I can’t have rice and this cake sounds delish!

Rachel Molenda   •   August 3, 2018

Hey Jessica! Buckwheat flour should work well as a substitute :) Rachel - Joyous Health Team

Joy McCarthy   •   August 4, 2018

You could try spelt (it has gluten) or quinoa for gluten-free. Those would both work!

Bernadette   •   August 8, 2018

What could be used instead of maple syrup? Thanks!

Rachel Molenda   •   August 8, 2018

Hey Bernadette, You could try coconut nectar or coconut sugar? We haven't tried it so we wouldn't be able to guarantee results but I'm sure that would be super yummy! Rachel - Joyous Health Team

Bernadette S.   •   August 8, 2018

I am wondering what can be used instead of maple syrup? Thanks!

Rachel Molenda   •   August 21, 2018

Hey Bernaette, You could try coconut nectar using the same amount as the maple syrup or coconut sugar but the amounts may vary for that. Keep in mind, we haven't tried it with other sweeteners so we wouldn't be able to guarantee results but it should be okay! Rachel - Joyous Health Team 

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