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Zucchini Upside-Down Cake

  • Author: Joy the Baker
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: about 1 hour
  • Yield: serves 6-8 1x



For the Cake:

  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

For the Upside-Down Zucchini Situation:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 or 2 zucchini, sliced into rounds about 1/2-inch thick, as many as you need to cover the bottom of the pan in a single layer
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, to brulee


  1. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, vanilla and sugars until well combined, smooth, and glossy. Add the shredded zucchini and stir to combine.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.
  4. Add the dry ingredients all at once to the zucchini mixture. Whisk into a thick batter, making sure to scrape along the bottom of the bowl to find any hidden bits of flour or wet ingredients.
  5. Place butter in a 8-inch round pan. Place the pan in the oven for just a few minutes to melt the butter.
  6. Remove the hot pan from the oven, sprinkle with half of the brown sugar, top the sugar and melted butter with zucchini rounds to cover the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and top with the cake batter.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cake is cooked through. Test with a toothpick in the center of a cake, if the toothpick comes out doughy the cake needs more time in the oven. If the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs, it’s done baking!
  8. Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes. Use a butterknife to slide around the edge between the cake and the pan. Invert the cake onto a plate, zucchini side up.
  9. Just before serving, sprinkle the cake with granulated sugar and use a kitchen torch to brown the sugar and toast the zucchini. Enjoy immediately!