We have long had the recipe for a very good zucchini bar on our website.  It’s thick, dense and chewy and covered with cream cheese frosting, the kind you would find on a carrot cake.

We’ve published this recipe in the local newspaper and people in the store have stopped us and told us how good it is.  But one day a lady said, “Those zucchini bars are really good and I’ve made them several times but that frosting is awfully rich.”  A few days later, another lady said essentially the same thing.  So I headed to the test kitchen to develop a different frosting.

What we wanted was a cream cheese frosting that was light and fluffy, not so intense.  We created one by adding heavy whipping cream to a recipe.  That made the frosting fluffy and with the entrained air, the frosting didn’t seem so intense.  For good measure, we added caramel flavor.

We made a few of batches of zucchini bars, piled them high with this new frosting, and started handing them out in the store.  People were really enthused and asked for the recipe.

But brown sugar and brown sugar flavor always goes well with zucchini.  Why not make a brown sugar version of this frosting too?  We did exchange brown sugar for the granulated sugar and brown sugar flavor for the caramel flavor.  It’s really good.  I liked it even better than the caramel version.

All three of these recipes are versatile recipes that you can use on more than zucchini bars.  What follows is the zucchini bar recipe with all three frosting recipes.

The Three Way Zucchini Bars:

This recipe makes a dense cake-like bar.  You might call it a snacking cake and it is good without any frosting.  We have included three frosting recipes, very good frosting.  Take your pick.

These recipes work very well for other baked goods.

For the zucchini bars:

3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or brown sugar flavor
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup cinnamon chips
2 cups grated zucchini or other summer squash

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  1. With your stand-type mixer and with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugars together. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  2. Beat in the flour and baking powder.  Add the cinnamon chips and nuts beating until just dispersed.
  3. Fold in the zucchini.  Do not mix any more than necessary.
  4. Spread into a greased 9 x 13-inch greased baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Frost the cake after it has cooled with one of the recipes below.

Standard Cream Cheese Frosting:

This is a standard cream cheese frosting like what you would find on a carrot cake.  It is dense and rich.

4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
water

Cream the cream cheese and butter with the powdered sugar.  Add the vanilla and lemon juice.  Add just enough water to bring the frosting to a spreadable consistency.

Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting:

This is a lighter cream cheese frosting.  You can still pile it high but with entrained air, it won’t seem so intense.  This has been a favorite recipe in our store.

1 four-ounce package of cream cheese (or half an eight-ounce block)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon caramel flavor
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon meringue powder
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Cream the granulated sugar with the cream cheese.  Add the other ingredients and beat until light and fluffy.

Brown Sugar Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting:

This is a brown sugar version of the earlier recipe and is very good.

1 four-ounce package of cream cheese (or half an eight-ounce block)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon brown sugar flavor
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon meringue powder
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Cream the brown sugar with the cream cheese.  Add the other ingredients and beat until light and fluffy.

This post was excerpted from “The last Zucchini Cookie Recipe”, a free e-book.  Get your copy here.