This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our full Disclosure Policy for details.
Bridging the gap between summer and fall, this Chai-Spiced Banana Zucchini Cake is ridiculously moist and full of flavor. Don’t skimp on the brown butter cream cheese icing – it will be your new fave!
I’ve got chai on the brain right now and I am not even ashamed.
I’ve been in hardcore fall recipe development mode the last couple of weeks, and the big reveal starts today! As far as I’m concerned, you woke up to the first day of autumn – and we’re celebrating with cake worthy of the “comfort food” title.
Zucchini is primarily a summer veggie – and my last two worked their way into this cake to avoid the compost heap. I found them at the back of my produce bin in the fridge, and they almost begged to be mixed into this beauty. In spite of how long I’ve stalked other amazing food bloggers on Pinterest, I’ve never used zucchini in any kind of dessert.
That’s all changed, and now I want to use it in everything. Well…that and chai.
I’ve always and forever loved banana bread, so turning it into a cake was inevitable.
I admit – when I buy bananas (which happens every week,) I often buy 2 bunches just so I can let one get overripe and have a reason to make bread. My hubby has never once complained (he’s also a big fan,) and neither have my friends and neighbors.
Well…I use the term ‘neighbors’ loosely. I wish I could say I lived in a place where I’m tight enough with my neighbors to walk over uninvited. I’d love to be able to call over to stereotypically borrow a cup of sugar. How much fun would it be to talk over the fence, Home Improvement-style, beer in hand?
In all honesty, we’ll wave politely and say hello when we see each other, but that’s pretty much it. We keep to ourselves, and I guess maybe in the world we’re living in, it’s easier to close ourselves off than make friends with strangers.
This is all extra sad because I live in the same house I grew up in – and I’m the only one left in this part of my ‘burb. I’ve seen so many families move in and out over the years (including my childhood best friend,) it’s been hard to really make friends.
In my perfect world, there would be a monthly block party, but it’s just not like that. Taking this delicious cake next door to enjoy over cups of coffee is a dream I refuse to give up.
It might just take moving to make it happen, though.
It’s something Abe and I continue to talk about, even though a lot has changed since our house hunting visit to Raleigh last fall. A change of scenery is definitely not out of the question, and I think it would do both of us some good (sadly, he’s not as confident about that as I am.)
The biggest hurdle is leaving our loved ones behind.
Most of my family is scattered, but my grandparents live 10 minutes from us. Many of Abe’s aunts & uncles live in Florida and are always taking extended vacations to visit our little town. And of course, most of my childhood friends still live here, not to mention our adult friends.
They say that it’s harder to make friends – good ones – as an adult. My husband takes that to heart, but I feel like I haven’t had as much of a problem. Then again, he’s not as extroverted as I am. Still, I feel like we would be alright, thanks to the fact that the food blogger community is so amazing and friendly. I’m sure we could find awesome people no matter where we moved to.
Besides – who wouldn’t want to be friends with people who are constantly giving away delicious food?
Chai-Spiced Banana Zucchini Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese
Bridging the gap between summer and fall, this Chai-Spiced Banana Zucchini Cake is ridiculously moist and full of flavor. Don't skimp on the brown butter cream cheese icing - it will be your new fave!
- 3 cups all-purpose cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons chai spice mix
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup mashed ripe bananas about 2
- 2 cups shredded zucchini
- 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
Brown Butter Cream Cheese
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 1 teaspoon chai spice mix
- Pinch salt
- Pecan halves for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13 cake pan with baking spray & set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chai. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, cream butter & sugars for 2-3 minutes until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well blended. Mix in mashed banana until combined, then fold in zucchini. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in 3 batches and mix until well combined.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in pan for at least an hour.
Brown Butter Cream Cheese:
- Set a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-low heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt. Gently swirl the butter as it goes through two stages - popping & crackling as the water boils out, and the browning of the butter solids. As the solids begin to brown, use a spoon to peek through the foam for the light brown flecks inside - it will start to smell nutty and delicious. The whole process from solid stick to brown butter will take about 10 minutes. Continue to swirl and stir, then remove it from the heat and pour it into a shallow bowl, allowing it to cool for about 20 minutes before transferring it to the refrigerator. Chill the brown butter until it's solid again, but still soft, about 25 minutes.
- When the butter is solid again, transfer it to a medium mixing bowl. Use a mixer to whip the butter for 2 minutes until fluffy. Add the cream cheese and vanilla and whip about 3 minutes until well blended and fluffy. Sift in powdered sugar, chai, and salt and blend until smooth. Add additional powdered sugar, vanilla, and/or chai to taste.
- Spread the icing over the top of the cooled cake, and garnish with pecans as desired.