It’s another baby-cake! Last week, I wrote a little bit about my wedding cake fantasies and how I spent a weekend baking the mini versions of the cakes I’d like to bake if I made my own cake. One was a tiny hummingbird cake, and the other is this one. It’s one of my favorite cakes ever, and one that I really meant to share a lot sooner. It started all the way in September of last year, when I caught a glimpse of this gorgeous cake by MBakes and was so instantly smitten that I spent the next week holed up in the kitchen recreating a mini version. It was one of my first real attempts at mini-fying cakes — and I think it involved enough dense, fallen, gummy mini failures to make up a full-sized cake — but the result was a recipe that I’ve used as a guide to a ton of other mini cakes since then. It was the basis for last week’s hummingbird cake, plus this carrot cake I shared back in February, and like I mentioned then, it’s become my go-to for birthdays, going-away parties, random face-stuffing extravaganzas, you name it.
So after talking about it (throwback alert!) and talking about it and talking about it some more, here’s the little mini-zucchini (doesn’t that seem like it should rhyme?) cake that gave way to all the others! The cake has all the moist decadence I love from zucchini bread, but with a lighter, more delicate crumb, and the frosting is (in my humble opinion) incredible. The lime juice is the perfect lively balance to the cream cheese, and the basil was a recent addition that I’m equally crazy about. It might have been a little odd as a real wedding cake layer, but in my hypothetical wedding world, I love it.
I hope you’re all having fantastic Wednesdays! And such a huge hug and thank-you to everyone who commented on the hummingbird cake and shared your thoughts and experiences with me! I love hearing about weddings of all kinds, so it was super fun — and the advice is much appreciated. As far as blog-weddings go, you’re all totally invited and welcome to unlimited imaginary slices of an impeccably frosted, towering three-tiered wedding cake with a green tea layer, a hummingbird layer, and a zucchini layer. And all kinds of frostings. (In the blog-world, none of it clashes.)
Mini zucchini cake with basil-lime cream cheese frosting
This will yield one 3-inch three-layer mini cake, or about four cupcakes.
- for the cake:
- 1 1/2 tbsp oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp Greek yogurt
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 2 tsp brown sugar (optional; feel free to use 2 tbsp 2 tsp white sugar)
- 6 tbsp (about 47g) all-purpose flour
- 1/8 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- pinch salt
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- pinch ginger
- 1/3 cup grated zucchini, pressed to remove moisture
- for the frosting:
- 1 tbsp butter, softened
- 4 oz Neufchatel or cream cheese, softened
- about 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 1 tsp finely grated lime zest
- 1 tsp finely chopped basil (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three 4-ounce ramekins with parchment circles, or a cupcake tin with 4 liners.
- In a small bowl, whisk together oil, yogurt, vanilla extract, and sugars until blended. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix briefly, then fold in the zucchini. The batter should be fairly thick, closer to muffin batter.
- Scoop batter into ramekins and bake for about 20 minutes, or when edges begin to brown and the tops are golden. Let the cakes cool briefly in the ramekins, then run a knife around the edges and invert to remove. Let the layers cool completely while you make the frosting. (If you’re looking to frost the cake more precisely, wrap the layers tightly in plastic wrap once cool and freeze until you’re ready to frost.)
- To make the frosting, cream butter and cream cheese together until well-blended. Add powdered sugar and beat until combined. Last, add the lime juice, basil, and lime zest, then blend again. If the frosting is too soft, add more powdered sugar, a tablespoon at a time; if too stiff, add more lime juice.
- Frost as desired, then serve! For more details on how to frost a naked cake, check out this tutorial and for other frosting styles, check out this one (plus their other tutorials, which are all amazing!)
I’ve also made this recipe using 1/4 tsp baking powder and 1/3 cup flour — the extra leavener plus a little less flour will yield a more delicate crumb. The recipe above is still moist, but sturdier and a bit denser. With such small-scale recipes, the weight of the flour can make a big difference, so try for a lighter hand when scooping or use a kitchen scale if you have one.
The frosting recipe above may not be enough for a really thickly iced cake, so you may want to double it — either for insurance, or, you know, just to eat with a spoon.