What else can I say about coffee cake.
Not much. I’ve been pretty honest about my feelings regarding what constitutes a truly great coffee cake.
So before I talk briefly about this really self-explanatory Zucchini Coffee Cake, here’s a little bit about the history of coffee cake in America, and why the name of this beloved cake has confused its consumers for centuries.
Coffee Cake in America
In the early 1800s, the English referred to cookies, cakes, or scones served with coffee as “coffee cakes.” These coffee cakes didn’t contain coffee: they just tasted good with coffee. Cakes like these coffee-less ones were the first coffee cakes in the United States.
But the name “coffee cake” didn’t really stick until later, thanks to the influx of German immigrants to the states in the 1840s. By the 1860s and 1870s, US cookbooks included “coffee cake” recipes in which brewed coffee was literally a batter ingredient. German streusel had also been incorporated into versions of American coffee cake by this time, usually as a topping on a yeasted cake that didn’t include coffee as an ingredient.
So… is there coffee in coffee cake or not?
According to history, the answer is yes.
Are you still confused about coffee cake?
Zucchini Coffee Cake
Luckily, there’s nothing confusing about this zucchini coffee cake. It’s zucchini cake with streusel on top and in the middle. Then you make everything even better with a drizzle of honey icing.
Make Zucchini Coffee Cake!
This zucchini coffee cake is sweet, hearty, and filling. It’s perfect for breakfast, brunch, or dessert.
We may never know the complete history of the coffee cake. But as long as I have delicious coffee cake like this one, I’m ok with that.
Mostly. (Because honestly, I’d really like to know.)
One Thing: the Cinnamon
There are four types of cinnamon. (Read more about them here.)
Feel free to use whatever cinnamon you have on hand, but I recommend using Ceylon cinnamon for this zucchini coffee cake. You can find my favorite Ceylon cinnamon on Amazon [aff. link], or in my Amazon store.
Zucchini Coffee Cake
For the streusel:
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ¾ cup flour
- 2 tsp cinnamon, I prefer Ceylon cinnamon here
- ¾ cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
- 6 Tbsp butter, cold and cubed
For the wet ingredients:
- ⅔ cup canola oil
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- ¾ cup almond milk
- 1 cup zucchini, grated
- 2 eggs
For the dry ingredients:
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 tsp all spice
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup almond meal
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
For the honey icing:
- 2 Tbsp butter melted
- 2 Tbsp almond milk
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1 cup powdered sugar
Toast the nuts
- If you haven’t already, chop the nuts roughly and toast them. To toast the nuts, simply add them to a skillet over medium heat. Toss the nuts occasionally, and let them toast in the skillet until golden brown, about 3 minutes.
Make the streusel
- Add the brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, flour, and walnuts to a small mixing bowl. Whisk together with a fork under everything is incorporated.
- Now add the cubes of cold butter to the mixture. With your hands or a pastry cutter, mix the butter into the rest of the mixture. Keep going until streusel forms. This happens when the butter makes the cinnamon/sugars/walnuts/flour mixture clumpy.
- Put the streusel mixture in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. The streusel needs to be cold before compiling and baking the cake.
Mix the wet ingredients
- To a large mixing bowl, add the canola oil, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and almond milk. Whisk until everything comes together, then add the zucchini and whisk again.
- Now add in the eggs. Whisk until the eggs are completely incorporated.
Add the dry ingredients
- Now add the flour, almond flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder, cinnamon, and all spice.
- Whisk until everything is just combined. Take care not to overmix.
Compile the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Oil a 9x13 inch glass baking dish. Pour half of the cake batter into the dish.
- Now sprinkle half of the streusel evenly over the top.
- Pour the remaining half of the cake batter over the streusel as evenly as possible. If needed, use an offset spatula to carefully spread the cake batter.
- Top the cake batter with the remaining streusel.
Bake the cake
- Bake the cake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.
- Let the cake cool for at least 15 minutes before adding the honey icing. While the cake cooks, make the icing.
Make the honey icing
- Add the butter and milk to a small, microwave-safe bowl.
- Microwave the butter and milk for 30-40 seconds, until melted and warm. Now stir in the honey and powdered sugar. Keep stirring until the icing is smooth. It will be thick yet pourable.
- Ice the cake, and enjoy!
- With a butter knife, simply drizzle the honey icing over the cake. Use as much or as little icing as desired.
- Serve the cake as breakfast, brunch, or dessert. Enjoy!
Excellent! I made this over the weekend. Perfect Mother’s Day treat!
That’s great to hear Dan, thanks! I’m so happy the cake was a hit!
Absolutely loved this zucchini coffee cake! The whole family did, and my daughter wants me to make it again for her birthday! It’s such a unique idea, thanks for a great recipe!
So glad to hear Jen! That’s great that your daughter loved it enough to request for her birthday!
Oh I can totally relate to this – I used to always wonder and get baffled about the “coffee cake” name; so deceiving! And the main question remains the same: would it be a crime to serve a coffee cake with tea? Lol
Regardless the confusing name, this cake looks utterly delicious; so moist and crumbly. Nice!
Thanks Ben! Haha, and excellent question! 😆