Mini zucchini cake with basil-lime cream cheese frosting

This will yield one 3-inch three-layer mini cake, or about four cupcakes.




  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three 4-ounce ramekins with parchment circles, or a cupcake tin with 4 liners.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. 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.