Banana Zucchini Pudding Cake with Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze

It seems that I either have no ripe bananas on hand or I have more than I know what to do with.

I made this cake because it was one of those times I could have fed all the monkeys in the zoo because I had so many.

Banana Zucchini Pudding Cake with Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze - The softest, moistest cake ever! So easy and the glaze is heavenly!

I also had a little zucchini in the crisper drawer that needed to be used before it turned into a limp noodle.

I decided using zucchini in cake sounded better than just, you know, slicing it on top of a salad.

Banana Zucchini Pudding Cake with Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze - The softest, moistest cake ever! So easy and the glaze is heavenly!

The cake turned out to be falling-apart-soft, tender, and moist. I cannot stand dry cake and between the stick of melted butter, the soft bananas, the high moisture content in zucchini, and the six ounces of Greek yogurt added to the batter, this little cake was as moist as they come.

And it is just a little cake, baked in 9-by-9 inch pan. Although having too much cake laying around isn’t the worst problem in the world, I prefer smaller cakes since they’re eaten and finished up while still at their freshness peak. Plus, variety is the spice of life and with large cakes, I’m ready for a change long before the cake is anywhere near finished, so I try to bake smaller cakes whenever possible.

Banana Zucchini Pudding Cake with Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze - The softest, moistest cake ever! So easy and the glaze is heavenly!

I added one packet of dry instant vanilla pudding mix to the batter to turn this cake into a pudding cake. I just love the pudding cakes that are sold in grocery store bakeries and figured I could make my own and this cake turned out to be a close approximation, full of creamy and sweet vanilla pudding notes.

When it comes to banana cake, I prefer denser as opposed to light and airy, and bewteen the mashed bananas, the Greek yogurt, and the pudding, this golden nugget is definitely dense. I wouldn’t call it a lead balloon, but it’s not a fluffy angel food, that’s for sure. It’s a pudding cake.

Banana Zucchini Pudding Cake with Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze - The softest, moistest cake ever! So easy and the glaze is heavenly!

I could have made it lighter by adding baking powder, but purposely did not because I wanted the crumb to remain more compact and wet, as opposed to drier and lighter. I find that as much as baking powder leavens, it also dries out whatever it’s added to and I don’t prefer that result. Instead, I added just enough baking soda to get the job done, omitted baking powder entirely, and my strategy paid off because I got what I wanted in the form of a melt-in-your-mouth, rich, pudding cake.

Banana Zucchini Pudding Cake with Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze - The softest, moistest cake ever! So easy and the glaze is heavenly!

The flavor of the cake is definitely one of banana, rather than zucchini. Zucchini is so flavor-neutral, otherwise known as bland, and is masked or takes a backseat to whatever other ingredients and flavors are present. On the opposite end of the scale, bananas tend to dominate the flavor profile whenever they’re present, and they dominated this cake.

Likely due to the stick of melted butter in the batter, as I was shoveling forkfuls of this cake into my mouth, I couldn’t help but think it tasted like a banana-butter cake or a banana-based rendition of a yellow cake-mix cake, with the familiar sponginess and springiness that yellow cake-mix cakes have. In that sense, it reminds me of the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate Ganache, which I think of as a pumpkin version of a yellow cake-mix cake, full of moisture and golden butteriness.

I added just one-half cup of mini chocolate chips to the cake batter and I used mini chips because they sink less easily to the bottom of the cake than regular sized-chocolate chips do, but regular-sized chocolate chips will work just fine. I didn’t want to overwhelm the cake with chocolate so kept it at a modest half cup of chocolate chips. I wanted it pudding-laden, buttery, and banana-ey more so than chocolaty. There’s just a enough to chocolate to complement the bananas.

Banana Zucchini Pudding Cake with Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze - The softest, moistest cake ever! So easy and the glaze is heavenly!

Sticking with a butter theme, I glazed the cake with a browned butter glaze that complemented the sweet bananas and pudding beautifully. If you’ve never had or cooked with browned butter, you need to board this butter train. Browned butter adds a depth of flavor, nuttiness, boldness, and an intensity and richness to everything it touches. It brings out everything that’s good and right with butter to begin with. You can do it on the stovetop but I brown butter in the microwave and it’s a piece of cake. Pun intended.

If there’s one way to make fruits and vegetables taste decadent, a browned butter glaze on top of a slice of this cake is how. Just think about all the servings of fruit and vegetables you’ll be working into your diet by way of cake.

Banana Zucchini Pudding Cake with Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze - The softest, moistest cake ever! So easy and the glaze is heavenly!Banana Zucchini Pudding Cake with Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze - The softest, moistest cake ever! So easy and the glaze is heavenly!

Banana Zucchini Pudding Cake with Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This version of banana cake is a denser and richer counterpart to classic banana cake. The cake is kept extra moist by the addition of zucchini and although the flavor of the zucchini is faint, it adds a bit of texture to an otherwise smooth crumb. With sweet vanilla pudding, creamy ripe bananas, and moisture-filled zucchini, this cake is fall-apart soft and tender. It's a snap to make with just a whisk, one bowl, and is ready to be baked in just minutes. The vanilla browned butter glaze is the finishing piece that adorns this golden cake.
Serves: Makes one 9-by-9-inch pan, 9 to 12 squares
  • For the Cake
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted (one stick)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 ounces vanilla or plain Greek yogurt (one standard-sized small container, about ¾ cup; sour cream may be substituted; I use Chobani Vanilla Chocolate Chunk)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 1¼ cups mashed ripe bananas (about 1½ large or 2 small bananas)
  • 1 cup coarsely grated zucchini (1 small zucchini)
  • one 3.4-ounce box instant vanilla pudding mix (not Cook ‘n Serve; banana-flavored pudding may be used to boost the banana intensity)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
  • ½ cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips (regular-sized chips may be substituted), optional
  • For the Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (half of one stick)
  • 1 cup+ confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoons+ cream or milk, optional and to taste
  1. For the Cake - Preheat oven to 350F, line a 9-by-9-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray or grease and flour the pan; set aside. In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute. To the melted butter, add the sugars, egg, yogurt, vanilla, and whisk to combine. Add the bananas, zucchini, and stir to incorporate.
  2. Add the dry pudding mix and stir to incorporate (You are not making pudding; simply add the mix as a dry ingredient). Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and stir until just combined, taking care not to over-mix or cake will be tougher as the gluten will over-develop. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 35 to 38 minutes, or until top is set and golden, the center is not jiggly, and edges have pulled away slightly from sides of the pan. A toothpick inserted in the center will likely not come out completely clean because this is a dense cake and both the gooey bananas and melted chocolate chips may prevent a clean toothpick test. Note - Depending on how moist your zucchini is and the moisture content in your bananas, you may need to bake your cake for a longer duration than I did. Bake until your cake is done and cooked through, given your climate and your set of ingredients. Watch your cake, not the clock, when determining how long to bake it; bake until done. This is a very soft and moist cake, and is not like traditional 'bakery cakes' or a typical birthday cake. It is a very soft cake, more like a soft banana bread and it will never become a light, airy, bakery-cake kind of cake, no matter how long you bake it.
  3. Allow cake to cool in pan for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. While cake cools, make the glaze.
  4. For the Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze - Brown the butter in a small saucepan on the stovetop, heating over medium heat. Swirl the pan or stir frequently for about 4 to 7 minutes, or until the sputtering, crackling, and foaming has subsided, the butter has browned and has a nutty aroma. Watch it closely so that it doesn’t go from browned and nutty to burnt and inedible.
  5. Or, brown the butter in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl by heating it on high power, uncovered, for 3 to 5 minutes, until the sputtering, crackling, and foaming has subsided, the butter has browned, and has a nutty aroma as outlined here. The same rules apply in the microwave as on the stovetop; watch it closely and start checking it approximately every 15 seconds starting at about the 3-minute mark, so that it doesn’t go from browned and nutty to burnt and inedible.
  6. Transfer hot butter to medium-sized mixing bowl and allow it to cool for about 5 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and whisk to combine. Based on desired glaze consistency and taste preference, add the cream one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached, playing with sugar and cream ratios as necessary. (I only use butter, sugar, and vanilla in this glaze, no cream). Drizzle glaze over the top of cake before slicing and serving; or slice, serve, and glaze each piece individually. I use the glaze like butter and spread it liberally on the interior surface of a slice.
  7. Unglazed cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or store glazed cake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Unglazed cake can be frozen for up to 3 months.



Related Recipes:

Banana Bread with Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze – Week 1 of Banana Bread Fest

Zucchini Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting – Week 2 of Banana Bread Fest. Today’s cake and this bread both use banana and zucchini; however the bread is more like a tradtional banana bread with flecks of zucchini woven it, and the cake today is spongy and springy, almost like a cake-mix cake, and is moist. The former is more (banana) bread-like, the later is more (cake mix) cake or pudding cake-like. I couldn’t pick one over the other; it’s apples and oranges, bread and cake.

Pumpkin Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese GlazeWeek 3 of Banana Bread Fest

Spiced Apple Banana Bundt Cake with Vanilla Caramel GlazeWeek 4 Banana Bread Fest

Carrot Pineapple Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese FrostingWeek 5 Banana Bread Fest

Banana Bread Brownies with Browned Butter Cream Cheese FrostingWeek 6 Banana Bread Fest

Do you have any favorite banana, banana cake, or sweet applications for zucchini?

Have you ever tried or made a pudding cake?

Feel free to link up your favorite recipes. I re-linked all the previous weeks of Banana Bread Fest, seven recipes, and I don’t have any more saved banana recipes pending.

Logical choices would be banana-peanut butter (did it in the past), banana-Biscoff/cookie butter (did it), plus all the smoothies with banana. But I’m taking a banana break and moving onto molasses, ginger, chocolate, and peppermint for now. ‘Tis the season.

Have a great weekend and stay tuned for a great giveaway coming up!

114 comments on “Banana Zucchini Pudding Cake with Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze”

  1. I too had tons of ripe bananas and I was tired of my same old banana cake recipe. I also just happened to have some zucchini I needed to use up so this recipe sounded great! I didn’t have any pudding mix on hand so just just left it out. I read the comments about it being too moist so I squeezed out the zucchini first. I would definitely recommend squeezing out the extra moisture. I used the recommended 1/2 t. Salt, but I would reduce it to 1/4 t. next time as I also reduced the white sugar to 1/4 c. and skipped the glaze as I don’t care for it too sweet. I was wary about using 1 whole tablespoon of vanilla, but it does give a nice flavor. Came out great! Moist and tender. I also love chocolate chip is my banana bread. Very nice recipe! Thank you! It’s a keeper.

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  5. Averie,

    I’ve done it again. I made another of your recipes!

    This is my first banana/zucchini pudding, and it’s the best I’ve tasted! I can’t stop eating this! I’m a novice baker (made my first cake two weeks ago), and so I’m not yet confident to tweak the recipe for moisture reduction – more flour, squeeze zucchini, less banana, bake longer. I’ll just keep munching away with my flatmates.

    Thanks for the recipe!


    • Glad this came out great for you and if you want to reduce moisture, you can wring the zucchini out like crazy in a towel or paper towels after you grate it. Adding less banana and/or more flour can require other changes so I’d go with the zuke option but sounds like it doesn’t need any tweaking and you all are happy!

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  8. Hi, Wonder if I should squeeze zucchini before mixing with other ingredients..thanks!

  9. Fantastic recipe! I’ve adapted it to UK measurements and also to include carrot. It took a few extra minutes baking but turned out really well. Thanks for the recipe!

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  14. this cake is a pain i made it and it looked done then i took it out and it droped and then i checked it with a tooth pick and it was done it sat and cooled so i put the glaze on it the cut it and it wasnt done.

  15. This sounds fantastic! So I decided to have a go. It has been in the oven for 40 minutes (it is tented now) and I anticipate another 10 or so to go. I did squeeze as much water possible from the zucchini before adding so I know the excess moisture is not from that. I believe it will be fine, just taking a bit longer to bake. One thing I did notice is that the pan was almost full (9in) with batter and there is no way the cake will be as flat as yours. Not sure the issue, I am very careful and attentive to measurements. Still, I think it will taste great, I will keep you posted.

    • I live in a dry climate and things like this tend to bake quicker for me; just bake until done. That said, this is a VERY moist cake and will never be ‘dry’. It will always be super soft and…mushy-ish for lack of a better word. Like bread pudding almost, in cake form. You may also have used a larger zucchini or had slightly larger bananas than I did which would account for the variances. Sounds like you’re on the right track – enjoy!

  16. Hey,
    I just made this exactly according to the directions and it came out way to “moist”. Would squeezing out the zucchini help. My “eat anything” husband didn’t care for it.


    • It’s a supremely moist cake – that’s just the way it is! If it’s too moist for your tastes, you could squeeze the zucchini, yes; or use more flour, maybe 1/2 cup or so, depending on how your batter looks, or use slightly less banana or less zuke. Lots of ways to firm it up for next time.

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  18. I just made this cake and I just cannot get it to cook all the way through. I’ve added an extra 30 minutes to it and it’s still gooey. Any suggestions? I’m considering trying it again, but in a larger pan to make it more shallow, and at a lower temperature. Any hints? The flavor is delicious, though. The edges were done enough to get a taste and I know it’s gonna’ taste good once it is actually “done.”

    • Ok if you almost doubled the baking time from 35-40ish minutes + 30 more minutes, so you’ve been baking it for 70ish minutes and it’s still not done, are you 100% sure your oven is working and calibrated correctly? Sometimes ovens run cold, stop working, etc. A 5.99 cheapie oven thermometer will tell you what’s going on.

      IF it is working correctly, you possibly had incredibly juicy zucchini and it just released a ton of water and the batter is just really, really wet. It’s too late now but you could have added more flour in the mixing stage. Another 1/2 c or so would dry it out.

      I would just continue to bake it, cover it (tent it) with a sheet of foil so the top doesn’t burn, and keep on baking it until it’s done.

      Keep me posted how it pans out and if you end up re-trying.

    • And one more thing that I should mention, this is a SUPER gooey cake to begin with. Moist isn’t even the word. It’s almost like…bread pudding? Not at all like a traditional say, ‘birthday cake’ from the bakery or a sheet cake served at a party. It’s a super soft, really moist, dense cake. So just don’t expect a dry cake. It’s not that kind of cake. The title could even be, Soft Zucchini & Banana Bars. Just wanted to really hammer home how super tender and gooey it is.

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