How to Make the Best Zucchini Bread (and Muffins!)

Tender, slender, long and green, zucchini is the summer squash available for purchase all year round with a silky skin that makes it easy to peel and chop. Available in a diverse range of colors and textures, ranging from dark and smooth to pimpled and even translucent, the zucchini not only comes in plenty of shapes and sized, but is also a surprisingly versatile ingredient. Whether they’re grilled and used as flavorsome decoration for spring salads, or shredded and used as the base of a creamy pasta sauce, zucchini has an easy, cooling taste that complements many of the dishes into which it is incorporated.

 

Zucchini is also ideal for baked goods on account of the high moisture content it offers, which isn’t surprising given its relation to the cucumber, which is 96% water. But the best part about zucchini is the mellow flavor it brings, which, when mixed into a cake mixture, is virtually undetectable and makes for a great base to infuse with chocolate or other sweeter ingredients. The end result is something akin to that of carrot cake but with a softer texture, less prone to drying out in the baking process.

 

This recipe for zucchini bread is especially well regarded for its fantastic softness and moisture, absorbing a huge amount of flavor after a short preparation that can easily be modified to double its yield. All you need is an extra pair of cake tins and another free shelf in your oven, and you can easily get another loaf of this zucchini bread to gift to your nearest and dearest. And, as you’ll see, it can also be adapted to make muffins!   

Ingredients

This can be a bit fiddly, but once you’ve assembled all of these ingredients you’ll find that it’s definitely worth it: the gentle nutty flavors here culminate beautifully within the luxurious fluffiness of this zucchini bread. You’ll be sure to cause quite a sensation in your household when your other half or hungry housemates catch a whiff of this warm, cinnamony delight as it’s pulled out of the oven.

 

  • 1 ½ cups (190g) of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of shredded zucchini (1 medium-sized zucchini)
  • ½ teaspoon of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons of powdered cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 120ml of vegetable oil, or melted coconut oil
  • 100g of granulated sugar
  • 100g of dark brown sugar

 

For an added hit of sweetness, you can mix in one cup of raisins or chocolate chips, but the absolute best addition would be a big handful of crushed walnuts, as they will complement the nutmeg and cinnamon flavors of this recipe to perfection.

How to make zucchini bread

zucchini bread fresh from the oven with fresh zucchini behind it

The first thing you’ll need to do is preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and then grease a 9x5 inch pan (there will be a slightly different technique for muffins, as you’ll see below). Next, whisk together your flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and chocolate chips / raisins in a large bowl until everything is properly mixed together. Put this to the side, as we’ll be coming back to it later.

 

Now, in a slightly smaller bowl, whisk together your egg, vanilla extract, oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and the zucchini until everything is completely mixed together. Pour the contents of this smaller bowl into the larger bowl you had just been using, and gently infuse the two mixtures together. Do not overmix, as you want this cake batter to be semi-thick and not too wet and viscous.  

 

Evenly spread the mixture across the greased cake pan; leave to bake for 45-55 minutes. Baking time can vary so be sure to check on it every 20 minutes or so, and you will know the zucchini bread is fully cooked when you insert a toothpick into the center of the pan and it comes out clean with no uncooked cake batter to be seen. A tip to prevent excessive browning on the top of the cake is to loosely cover the cake tin with aluminum foil.

 

Once the zucchini bread has passed the toothpick test, remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool entirely before slicing. This can be left in a bread bin for up to 4 days before becoming unpleasantly stale, or kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Making zucchini muffins

freshly baked zucchini muffins laid out on wooden chopping board

So while there are a few key differences between these two recipes – namely the shape and size of the baked goods you’ll be pulling out of the oven – the original cake mixture remains the same for making muffins.

 

So repeat the first mixing process as before, but instead of scooping this into a single large pan pour the batter into a greased muffin pan. Bake the muffins in a preheated oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for five minutes, and then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit; this allows for tall muffin tops to rise, giving that classic cupcake mushroom shape.

 

Continue baking for a further 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake mix comes out clean. Remove the tray from the oven and then leave to cool before serving.

 

And there we have it, a simple, delicious recipe for a moist, sweet, slightly spicy-tasting bread with a gentle molasses flavor thanks to the soothing combination of brown sugar and cinnamon. As underrated ingredients go, zucchini is among the very best, and if this recipe has inspired you to seek out more ways to use zucchini, then why not take a look at our three simple zucchini recipes? An easy-to-make and totally delicious trio of dishes that take next to no time to prepare, they’re the best way to start putting this healthy green fruit (yes, zucchini is actually a fruit!) on your dining table as it comes into season toward the end of spring.


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