With my garden beginning it’s annual boom of goodies, I am overcome with zucchini and needed some new zucchini recipes. I couldn’t wait to try these bars. I am in love with all baked goods with shredded carrots or zucchini. They are always so moist which makes it hard to step away from them. A few extra miles on the treadmill are worth every bite. The lemon cream cheese frosting just puts these zucchini bars over the top! Think about these as if your favorite zucchini bread had a baby with your favorite carrot cake.
These gems whipped together extremely quickly, and I didn’t even use a single appliance to make them. A quick grate on the box grater instead of the KitchenAid and I mixed everything together in a bowl, even the frosting. This is my kind of easy zucchini recipe!
Zucchini Recipe for Carrot Zucchini Bars with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Zucchini brownies that are really blondies. Loaded with fresh zucchini and carrots that make them super moist then topped with a yummy frosting.
- Yield: 20 bars 1x
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 C brown sugar
- 1/2 C canola oil
- 1/4 C honey
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 C shredded carrot (about 2 large carrots)
- 1 C shredded zucchini (about 2 small zucchinis)
- 1 1/2 C flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 C chopped pecans, optional
- 8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 C powdered sugar
- zest of one lemon
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, oil, honey and vanilla until smooth. Switch to a rubber spatula and mix in the carrot, zucchini and pecans. Add all the dry ingredients and mix together just until they are incorporated. Pour into your greased pan and bake for 22-25 minutes, until the top springs back when lightly touched. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
- Prepare the frosting by beating together all the ingredients until well blended. You can frost the whole pan before cutting to make it easy, but I really like cutting the bars first and individually frosting each bar.
- Serving Size: 1 bar
- Calories: 206
- Sugar: 19g
- Sodium: 160mg
- Fat: 9g
- Saturated Fat: 2g
- Unsaturated Fat: 5g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 27g
- Fiber: 1g
- Protein: 3g
- Cholesterol: 25mg
they look yummy!!!
They are fabulous! Made them yesterday and they are even better today and they got cold!! YUM!!
My family loves them!
Would yellow squash have the same taste?
I don’t think you’d have good luck with yellow squash. First of all it is MUCH more watery than zucchini. That could cause a major problem with the wet/dry ingredient ratio, AND yellow squash is NOT a NORMAL ingredient for baked goods. I think it would be a disaster.
Jeanette Jacoby says
I think you could use Yellow squash. Its pretty much a zuch. but yellow. I use them in zuch bread with no problem.
I honestly don’t know, because I have never tried it. If you do, come back and let me know!
These are wonderful! I’m eating them right now. (I’m on my 2nd one actually and eyeing one more…)I made it exactly as described and baked 25 minutes to perfection. Thanks!
This is a great recipe to incorporate more veggies into my 18 month old’s diet! If it tastes anything like the batter when it’s done in 20 minutes, it’s delish! 🙂
These are incredible…YUM
made today but without the frosting. Was very moist. Great for morning with my coffee! Thank you!
These are wonderful! I will make these again and again! They will be a permanent recipe in my fall recipe book. Thank you.
I made them with yellow squash and they turned out great!
i just made this as a cake in a round silicon pan. it was brown on top and fork came out clean after 22 mins but as i tipped it out the insides were all liquidy and spilt out, i used uncle bobs all purpose gluten free baking flour. any ideas why?
Nicky: since the recipe called for a large 9×13 pan and you used a much smaller round pan, you would need to add quite a bit more baking time since the cake will be so much thicker. Also, with your GF baking mix, that might also effect the end result. I would try it again but use the correct pan size.
Rachael Emery says
I did the same thing as Nicky tonight, used an 8×8 (all I had) and used GF flour. I cooked it longer and it was done but it is too moist. I am looking for advice on GF baking. Anyone? Should I eliminate/reduce the oil? I also will try the larger pan to see if that helps even out the moisture. The flavor is amazing, just need help working out the GF conversion. Also my 2+ year old LOVED them. While yes it has veggies this def falls in the dessert category . 🙂
Rachael – I wish gluten free baking was as simple as substituting GF flour for regular flour, but it never is that easy. I have never tried to make a GF version of this recipe, so I really can’t give you advice but my experiences with GF baking has taught me how difficult it is to convert recipes successfully -Carole
I bake GF all the time. The correct pan size is important as well as the need for a little more protein in the batter. Add either a tsp unflavored gelatin with the dry ingredients or a little powdered flax seed. Also, make sure the zucchini has been well pressed to remove the moisture. You may also want to add just a 1/4 c more flour mix. This recipe would probably make great cupcakes!
Thanks so much Chris for all your great tips! -Carole
thanks for this recipe will try it…
Texoma Natural Health Links says
I’d like to make them into muffins
What would be the carrot measurement if you decided to use all carrots and omit the zucchini. They look delicious, can’t wait to try!!
. Flavor is mild- not sure what it’s missing. I would definitely double the salt or use salted butter to enhance rathe than oil. Not very carrot tasting at all. Like the lemon cream cheese frosting though. Good suggestion!
can I use applesauce in place of eggs?
okay to make as muffins?
You could try subbing in applesauce for eggs, but your result will be quite different texture wise. Let me know how it goes!
I think these would be perfect as muffins!
Big momma says
Made it with coconut oil and then put an orange glaze on! Yummmmmm!!
How much coconut oil did u use?
Hi Amy! I didn’t use coconut oil for this recipe but you could certainly make that substitution if you would like -Carole
amanda lang says
These were delicious! I loved them, but my husband was not a huge fan-maybe they weren’t sweet enough for him? I am going to take the rest to work tomorrow and get some more opinions 🙂
Has a definite ‘floury’ taste..made sure I did the correct measurement. I didn’t have vanilla so I went without it, do you think that would cause the difference in taste?
Absolutely Sarah. Vanilla helps balance and round out all the flavors in the bars.
do thnk this would work in a jelly roll pan?
Absolutely! I don’t know if there is enough batter for a half sheet sized jelly roll pan but a smaller one would work. Be sure to reduce your cooking time!
Yum, yum….these are soooooo good. Using yellow zuchinni will not make the taste any different, just may make it a lighter colored batter. I highly recommend making these bars…so easy to make, so moist to eat.
I made these without the frosting, and they were so good that I will make the entire recipe very soon. They were moist, delicious, and gorgeous with flecks of orange and green.
Mine is the oven, will let you know how they turn out, can’t wait!
Would this work with coconut flour? Trying to make a gluten free version
These are amazing! I made them this morning. After popping them in the oven, I read through the comments and got a little worried they’d be lacking flavor, not so at all! The only thing different I did was squeeze lemon juice into the frosting, since my lemon was acting up and I was only able to get half the amount of zest. They are moist and perfect. Not lacking anything at all. Even my toddler begged for more! An hr later, there’s only half a pan left! Thank you for sharing this beautiful recipe.
Thanks so much Stephanie! We love these so much and don’t quite understand the comments about lacking flavor either 🙂 -Carole
Can I freeze them…they look amazing!!!
Joann – Absolutely! But don’t frost them until you are ready to serve them -Carole
Pauline Breau says
Figured that these would fit for Thanksgiving supper that i’m making tomorrow.They are cooking in the oven and it smell delicious. ‘!!Thanks:-)
Pauline- these would be perfect for Thanksgiving! Thanks for coming back and letting me know
Wow. Made these last night and we can’t stop snacking on it ! Even picky 9yr old. I subbed half the oil for applesauce and added some cinnamon to the cake and frosting. Will definitely be making this again!
Catherine – so glad you found a recipe that was a big hit with everyone because I know those are hard to find! Come back again soon to find another -Carole
Could I sub whole wheat flour?
If you do, be sure it is whole wheat pastry flour. It works better in these types of recipes
These were delicious! The color is gorgeous with the flecks of orange from the carrots and the green zucchini. The lemon zest makes the cream cheese frosting. It’s the perfect combo with a citrusy zing! I did use coconut oil in place of the vegetable oil, which gave the cake a very nice flavor. Cake is extremely moist. Everyone loves it, including me!
I’m so glad Deb! They are still a favorite of mine as well
These are fantastic. My coworkers loved them! I did half regular veg oil, half coconut oil, and added a liitle cardamom. So so so delicious. Thank you!
You are so so so welcome Rebecca 🙂 I love your variations and will have to give that a try next time I make these killer bars!
can I use brown sugar instead of honey? has anyone tried that? or maybe agave, I just don’t like the honey flavor
You could definitely use agave instead of honey Danae!
Made this yesterday. Really good. Tasted moist, light and healthy. Baked 5 extra minutes but came out perfect. Will absolutely do again.
They are one of my favorites Shelley!
CanI make this in a bundt pan? Looks so good!
Hi Lisette! I don’t know if there is enough batter for a bundt pan. Maybe increase the recipe
I made these for our bible study group last night – they were an absolute hit – guys went back for seconds and thirds! Will definitely make them again. Quick question – I used a 8×13 pan and cake came out quite thin – how can I make it slightly thicker – only other pan I have is 9×9 which I don’t think will work – any suggestions ?
Glad you liked them Sharon! You could use a square pan but they will be significantly thicker.
I live at just over 5 000 ft. Are there any adjustments for high altitude?
Howdy! I don’t have experience with high altitude baking so I won’t be much help. If you normally make an adjustment for cakes or bars, then I would use something similar for this recipe. Good luck!
I see that the instructions call for adding the pecans with the zucchini and carrots. I am not seeing in the recipe the amount of pecans to add. Help please. These sound delicious and I would like to make them for company coming over in a couple of days.
Hey Gloria! Thank you for pointing that out to me. I didn’t add the pecans to my cake because I have some nut haters in my family. I ended up just sprinkling a few pecans over the top of half of the frosted bars. I would use about a 1/2 cup of chopped pecans. I will go add that to the recipe. Enjoy your time with your company!
Kim Slater says
I made them with 1 cup Gluten Free flour and 1/2 cup of Almond flour.
They turned out amazing !
Awesome that you made them work for you Kim!
I want to make this as a cake in a sheet cake pan. I’m thinking I just need to double the recipe and lengthen the bake time. What do you think?
Hello Michelle! I think you are right about the doubled recipe. Be cautious with adding too much baking time. Just keep checking the center of the cake and as soon as it bounces back after being lightly touched, it is done.
Terry T. says
Thank you Carole for this absolutely delicious recipe. I was already more than a fan of sweet potatoes but some in my family were not until this. The dessert-like richness is divine! I followed the recipe exactly and the only thing I can even think of to try next time is to see if I could fluff up the sweet potato mixture just before topping with praline just to make them look, well, fluffier and maybe get a slightly lighter feel to them. I had a snack by combining jalapeno cheddar sourdough/cornbread sausage stuffing and this sweet potato dish and boy-what a treat! That combo of spicy-sweet-savory and praline-sweet was out of this world!!!!!
Question. The nuts are they only for topping or do you add to the batter?
Carole Jones says
Hi Bea! Correct, the nuts are only for the topping but you could certainly add them into the batter as well if you would prefer it that way.