Gingery Olive Oil Zucchini Cake with Poppy Seeds and Lemon Crunch Glaze

By Sarah Jampel
August 10, 2015
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Author Notes: I made the greedy, rather immature (but ultimately good!) decision to not choose only one recipe. Instead, I started with the olive oil base—moist and savory—from Ashley Rodriguez’s version of Renee Erikson’s recipe in A Boat, A Whale & A Walrus and then added the poppy seeds from Leite’s Culinaria zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting, the lemon-crunch glaze from Lottie + Doof, and some chopped candied ginger. (And that's why this recipe has a novel-length name.)

Make this recipe and you won't have to worry about the zucchini breads not taken. You'll get a loaf with a crunchy citrus coating, a ravined top, and a plush interior speckled with poppy seeds.
Sarah Jampel

Makes: one 9- by 5-inch loaf

For the cake:

  • 3 cups grated zucchini (from about 1 pound)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • Unsalted butter, for greasing pan
  • 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger
  • 3 large eggs
  • Grated zest of 2 large lemons
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the glaze:

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. In a small mixing bowl, mix the zucchini with 1/4 cup sugar. Transfer the mixture to a fine-mesh strainer set over the mixing bowl. Fill another small bowl—just large enough to nestle inside of the strainer—about halfway with water and set it directly on top of the zucchini so that it is pushing down. This will press the water out of the zucchini and into the bowl below.
  2. Butter the loaf pan, line with parchment paper, leaving some to hang over the sides, and butter the parchment.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, poppy seeds, and chopped ginger.
  4. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 3/4 cups sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla until well blended. Beat in the olive oil gradually, whisking it in until it's thoroughly incorporated.
  5. Using a spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well incorporated, with no remaining white spots. Working with a handful of zucchini at a time, use your hands to wring out all of the excess moisture. When all of the zucchini has been pressed, add it to the batter, and stir it in gently until evenly incorporated.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 70 to 75 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  7. Cool the bread in the pan for about 20 minutes. When it's been almost 20 minutes, make the lemon crunch glaze. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and raw sugar. Add the confectioners' sugar and whisk until no dry spots remain.
  8. Lift the cake by its parchment paper handles and place on a cooling rack. Peel back the parchment paper and use a pastry brush to apply a generous coating of glaze to the top and sides of the cake, making sure to sweep up any raw sugar that's settled on the bottom of the bowl.
  9. Let the cake cool until the glaze has hardened. Slice into fat pieces and eat.

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