Zucchini Tea Cake


My dream trip to England is coming up in just about a month!  I can’t wait.  Like, seriously– I lie awake at night thinking about it– it brings whole new meaning to the phrase “lie back and think of England.”  Zucchini Tea Cake is a brilliant way to use up the zucchini that is in full swing in the garden, as well as embrace your inner Anglophile in the most delicious of ways.  Why not put together a fun and fancy tea for your friends or family?  People young and old will love it.  And don’t blame me if your guests start humming “God Save the Queen” under their breath.

What are we waiting for?  Let’s do this!

Zucchini Tea Cake

(Adapted from my recipe for Zucchini Bread with Cinnamon Streusel Topping)


3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tbsp. cinnamon

2 1/2-3 cups grated zucchini (about 2 small zucchini)

1 cup add-ins, if desired (raisins, chocolate chips, walnuts, etc)

Cinnamon Streusel Topping Ingredients:

1 stick butter or margarine, melted

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup old fashioned oats

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup Turbinado sugar (also called “Sugar in the Raw”)


In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine eggs, oil, sugars, and vanilla.  Add in flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon and mix slowly, just until combined.  Stir in shredded zucchini and add-ins, if desired.  Place in greased mini 6″ round pans (fill pans about 1/2 full– how many rounds will depend on the size of your zucchini– I usually get about 4 tea cakes from this recipe).  Bake loaves at 325 degrees for 30 minutes, and then add streusel topping evenly overtop.  Bake another 30 minutes or so, until cakes spring back lightly when touched.  They may not give the “clean toothpick” test, due to the streusel’s moisture, but the spring back test will let you know when they’re done– there shouldn’t be any loose batter in the middle.  Cover cakes with foil toward end of baking if topping begins to get too brown.  Cool on racks before cutting.

Now, in pictures!

Zucchini is such a happy little vegetable.  it grows prolifically for even the most timid gardener.  It produces lavishly and enriches baked goods and recipes so lightly and happily.  It really is the vegetable that could run for president if it wanted to. I can’t think of anything bad about it!

Start out by shredding your happy little zucchinis with your food processor. It’s honestly worth having a food processor JUST to shred zucchini, and thereby be treated to delicious zucchini bread and tea cake whenever you want.  Freeze the leftover shredded zucchini in 2 cup ziploc bags in the freezer. Then in the middle of the winter you can add it, juice and all, to your recipe, and voila . . . summer in December!

To make this tasty zucchini tea cake, start out by combining your eggs, oil, sugars, and vanilla in the bowl of your stand mixer.  Add in your flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon and mix slowly, just until everything is combined.  Then throw in your shredded zucchini and mix that in.  Isn’t that pretty?

The streusel is super easy to mix up, too. MIX.  Done.  haha.  We don’t need the streusel yet, but go ahead and get it mixed up so that it’s ready to shake and bake when you’re ready.

Next, grease the sides and bottoms of 4 (6 inch) baking pans.  I use equal parts shortening, flour, and vegetable oil (I keep a mixture of this in the fridge at all times to use for cakes) to grease the pans.  Use a silicone basting brush to put a nice layer of the oil mixture all over the pan.  Trust me– this stuff is more slippery than the IRS.  Nothing will stick to it.   PS– use it for bundt pants, too, and no more “half of the blasted cake still stuck in the pan and spending an hour cleaning out the pan with toothpicks” when you use this first. You’re welcome.

Zucchini Tea Cake

Fill your greased baking pans about 1/2 full.  You don’t want to fill them up the whole way or your pans will overflow, and nothing spoils the beauty of baking like the smell of burning batter. Yuck.  You don’t want them to overflow.  🙂  Don’t add your streusel yet, either.  Trust me on this.  When you are using larger pans, the streusel will sink if you add it too early.

Zucchini Tea Cake

Bake your cakes at 325 (use an oven thermometer to make sure your oven really is at 325) for about 30 minutes, and then sprinkle the streusel overtop.  Waiting to add the streusel just ensures that your cake is partially baked and that the streusel won’t sink into the liquidy depths before the cake is stable enough to hold it. Trust me.  🙂

Zucchini Tea Cake

Bake the cakes for another 30 minutes or so after adding the streusel, until the cakes spring back lightly when touched.  They may not pass the “toothpick test” because the streusel is so moist.  But when they spring back lightly, that means the cake is done.

Zucchini Tea Cake

Pull the cakes out of the oven when they are finished baking in the center and let them cool for a few minutes.  You can pop them out of the pans (super easily, since you were so smart and used the pan grease trick) and let them finish cooling on cooling racks.  Just make sure to let them cool streusel side up. 🙂

Zucchini Tea Cake

Allow your pretty little cakes to cool completely for the neatest slices.  I am required to say this to you. WAIT UNTIL YOUR CAKES ARE COMPLETELY COOL TO DIG IN.  But just ignore me, because honestly, it’s so hard to resist this bread, warm and oozing cinnamony streusel goodness on top.  It is DIVINE to just dig right into the warm bread and enjoy a steaming, cinnamon-y slice with a cup of hot tea or coffee.  Life is short.  Eat the cake warm.  And for goodness sake please have seconds.  I’m pretty sure that’s a law in like, Iceland or something.

Get together a group of your friends and set the table with fancy bone china teacups and lots of fresh flowers.  Make this tea cake and serve a few different and delicious varieties of tea.  Laugh and enjoy the time together.

You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.


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