This Summer Snacking Cake Is the Sweetest Excuse to Eat Your Vegetables

A chocolatey snack for casual Fridays.

August  2, 2019
Photo by Ty Mecham. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop Stylist: Amanda Widis.

A snacking cake is exactly what it sounds like: a more casual, snackable version of cake. The cake equivalent to casual Fridays, a snacking cake is less fussy and less formal than a layer cake. But what its name might not suggest is that it's much simpler to make than the original, which in turn makes it even more enjoyable to eat.

Snacking cakes are baked in square or rectangular baking tins and served slab-style, no assembly required. Just a single layer of delicious cake—simple in the best way possible.

Like all cakes, snacking cakes can come in pretty much any flavor. This version here is made seasonally with lots of grated zucchini. Not only is it a great way to use up the abundance of summer squash you’re likely to have on your hands this season, but, grated finely into the batter, it also serves as insurance against dryness. This zucchini snacking cake is as moist as they come.

When it comes to afternoon snacks, my go-to is a handful of nuts. This probably isn’t the most interesting thing about me, but it’s a fact. And to give this zucchini cake a more snackable vibe, I incorporated lots of walnuts into the batter. Instead of chopping them up by hand, I like to whiz them up in a food processor until they’re somewhere between walnut meal and a finely chopped nut. This very important ingredient adds density as well, making it easier to pick up and eat with your hands, which is—let's be real—the best way to snack on a snacking cake.

Being the equal-cake-to-frosting-ratio kind of person that I am, I was bummed to learn that snacking cakes are traditionally topped with a mere dusting of powdered sugar or a dollop of whipped cream. Initially I was going to leave this cake unfrosted, but then I thought: If snacking cake is a thing, then why can’t snacking frosting be a thing, too?

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Metric measurements would make it possible for the rest of the world, ie outside the USA to make this. Also far more accurate for baking!”
— Penny

My second go-to favorite snack is an obvious one: chocolate. So I topped this nutty cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting, slathered on top in dramatic swirls. The melted milk chocolate both sweetens the frosting and, once set, lends a fudge-like consistency.

The best part about a snacking cake is that you don’t need a special occasion to make one. Because cake is reason enough, no?

When’s your favorite time to snack? Let us know in the comments below.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Penny
  • Beth Schulman
    Beth Schulman
  • Debbie Travis Blakley
    Debbie Travis Blakley
Grant Melton is an Emmy Award-Winning producer, recipe developer and food writer. His favorite food is chocolate chip cookies (with salt.)


Penny August 10, 2019
Metric measurements would make it possible for the rest of the world, ie outside the USA to make this. Also far more accurate for baking!
Beth S. August 19, 2020
I agree!! I am in the USA and I started weighing things in grams. It was totally new to me, but found to enjoy the accuracy. I preserve food via canning. Most canning cook books don’t have measurements in grams, but I have found one that does. And I enjoy it. Sorry for rambling, my point is it is just such a foreign concept to people ( even professionals) in the USA to use grams, they don’t. And honestly, probably because they feel people will not use it ( assuming they feel their target market is the USA.)
Debbie T. August 19, 2020
I'm not a Chef. I've heard this is more accurate ... however, in my mid 60's I'm not sure that I would or could learn the metric system. Maybe have the recipe in both formats? Surely, there is some soft-wear program that could do that almost instantly?