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 would love one of each- please! Have a great weekend!

  2. Very creative with ripe bananas, the cake looks wonderful! I usually buy bananas in bulk for freezing and smoothies, but the all seem to ripen at once.

  3. This looks like a great spin on zucchini bread–I am really impressed at how Greek yogurt and pudding mix make quick breads so moist…and bananas just make everything better! I have been busy with a couple of your recipes. My mac and cheese is chillin’ for tomorrow and my loaf of English muffin bread is rising as I type this. I haven’t made a no knead/batter bread in a while and forgot how sticky the dough is. It was nice to let the mixer do the work though!!

    • Oh that is so awesome that you have two recipes of mine going…seriously! Make my day hearing that! I am so curious to hear how your Eng Muff Bread turns out! And what you think of it. The mac ‘n cheese balls are self-explanatory :) But bread is it’s own animal so can’t wait for the field report! It’s dense and heavy, but I already wrote about that :)

      • The bread is wonderful–that dough rose like a marshmallow puffing up in the microwave! It has nice little holes in it just like an English muffin. My husband was almost pacing the kitchen waiting for it to cool so he could try a slice ( he says 2 thumbs up–and the man loves bread)! This was so easy and I am seriously thinking I may never knead another ball of dough any time soon. The dough base could easily go savory with herbs for my next loaf!

  4. oh girl I am so making this.
    i’ve gotten so tired of banana bread and want to kick it up a notch.
    thank you for this, it was as if you were reading my mind.
    also, email me and tell me more about the honey.
    i want to know why its so good for you and did you notice any health changes once you started using it?
    really pricey, but i’ve heard so many good thing on it

  5. I am obsessed with this cake! Seriously, obsessed. That picture is just so sinful! It looks so rich and delicious.

  6. You had enough bananas for the monkeys at the zoo?! LOL! I feel like that’s how it always is in our house.

  7. Averie I appreciate your banana dilemma. I often end up with them so over ripe I’m grossed out and cant fathom peeling them for use! I will pass along a trick I learned some time ago when needing ripe bananas: roast them. If you want to know more you find how to do it on my blog but you basically bake them for about 10 minutes, they become ripe but the flavor is also fully and deeper. I’m on the flip side of this having a freezer full of shredded zucchini and lacking inspiration. LOVE this recipe!

  8. I’m totally with you on the moist cake! Nothing worse than a dry cake. What a sad waste of ingredients, in my opinion. This looks like it fits the bill though!

  9. I love that you baked this in a 9×9 pan! You are right…who needs a massive cake sitting around? Better to eat it up in one sitting! Well, that’s what happens when there are 2 teenage, athletic boys around! ;-)

    This cake looks so moist. I just love the photo of the bite on the fork. Like, yes, my mouth is open! LOL! I gotta say, too, Averie, that I am really impressed with the professional layout of all your recipes, your explanations, your photos, etc. You are so thorough and clean and organized about the whole process and you have a fantastic way of articulating it all, like it just rolls off your tongue! That is because you are GOOD at what you do! Thanks for all your hard work. I know it is a lot and I, for one, appreciate it! :-)

    • This comment made my night, Michele. Thank you. There are times I wonder if I’m just being wordy and maybe no one else cares but I figure there are plenty of blogs that talk about their dog, running times, fight with their husband, or what their kid did that day but I’ve made a concerted effort the past 6 mos or so to really just focus on…the food. On my food blog, and all :) Thank you for appreciating it and for the kind words. I do spend more than a few minutes on each post and glad it’s paying off :)

  10. Once again, I am drooling over your pictures and fabulous recipes. This looks incredible and I can’t wait to try it!

    I am sure you already know this but thought I would share: A tip to prevent chocolate chips or any add-ins (dried fruit, nuts, etc) from sinking to the bottom is to coat them in the dry ingredients first and then fold them into the batter once it has mixed. :)

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  14. Q for your thoughts Averie: I have a few extra carrots on hand and was thinking of subbing them for the zucchini. Have you ever tried something similar? I haven’t combined banana + carrot before. Obviously baking it is the one way to know for sure, but thought I’d check with you!

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  17. Hi Averie, what a great way to add zucchini to my kids snuck time. I’ve baked this cake yesterday and it was a big success, even with my picky six year old! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

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  19. Absolutely can NOT believe it’s taken so long for me to stumble upon your site! So thankful I did! Everything looks so delicious – I want to try it all!! Awesome, thanks for sharing all these yummy recipes!

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  24. Made this today. Thought you might want to know that I subbed in applesauce for half of the butter and since I only had chocolate pudding mix in my house, I used that, and the cake was very moist, rich, and dense–but not TOO dense–sometimes subbing in applesauce doesn’t give my baked goods the “lift” I want (they turn out more like solid slabs) but this worked great! With a pleasant chocolate-y taste! I also skipped the glaze because sometimes desserts get excessively sweet, but that’s just a personal preference.

    • So glad to hear you made this and that a little applesauce did the trick. I kwym about it sometimes not giving things the lift they need but glad it worked ok here. I think the pudding mix is a miracle worker, too :) It’s the cornstarch in it that I think gives the lightness of texture to anything it touches! Thanks for the field report & trying this!

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