How to Make the Best Zucchini Bread: A Step-by-Step Guide

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apple carrot zucchini bread

What’s Up, Hungry People!

I officially wrapped up my garden shenanigans last weekend. Living in Northeast Ohio, the fact that my garden was still in action is nothing short of a miracle—or a testament to my mad gardening skills, take your pick. Earlier in the season, I harvested a zucchini that would make Jack’s beanstalk look puny. I’m talking about a nearly-ten-pound monstrosity that was practically the same size as my dog, Theo!

The Zucchini Dilemma

Since that fateful day, I’ve been wrestling with how to use up this zucchini colossus. Oh, and let’s not forget its slightly smaller sibling, a nearly-seven-pound zucchini I picked on the same day. Seriously, what does one do with this much zucchini? Start a roadside stand?

Zucchini Bread to the Rescue

Eureka! The idea of zucchini bread flashed across my mind like a neon sign in Vegas. I used to despise the stuff as a kid, mostly because my dad had a thing for making it. But hey, adulthood is all about embracing things you once avoided, like bills and veggies. So I decided to give zucchini bread a try. Plot twist: I threw in a generous helping of carrots and apples to keep things interesting.

ingredients for zucchini bread

Here’s What You Need

  • Zucchini: Adds moisture and a subtle earthy flavor to the bread. It’s the star ingredient here!
  • Carrots: Provides natural sweetness and a bit of texture contrast to the zucchini.
  • Apples: Further enhances the sweetness while adding some fruity notes.
  • Orange Juice: Adds acidity and a citrusy kick, which balances out the sweetness.
  • Butter: Adds richness and ensures a moist texture in both the bread and icing.
  • Sugar: Sweetens the bread and also helps in achieving a golden-brown crust.
  • Flour: The backbone of the bread, providing structure.
  • Eggs: Act as a binder and provide moisture, helping the bread rise.
  • Cinnamon: Adds warmth and spice, complementing the other flavors.
  • Nutmeg: Provides subtle spiciness and depth.
  • Ground Cloves: Offers a hint of aromatic spiciness to round out the flavor profile.
  • Baking Powder: Helps the bread rise, making it fluffy.
  • Baking Soda: Works with the orange juice to help the bread rise and brown.
  • Salt: Enhances all the other flavors in the bread.
  • Powdered Sugar: Sweetens and thickens the icing.
  • Cream Cheese: Adds tanginess and creaminess to the icing.
  • Vanilla: A flavor enhancer that adds a touch of sweetness to the icing.
apples and carrots with zucchini

Shredding vs. Pureeing

I broke out my industrial-sized cheese grater for the carrots and apples. Halfway through, my arms felt like they were part of a medieval torture device. So I opted for my food processor to tackle the zucchini. Now, I might’ve messed up the settings or something, but I ended up with zucchini puree rather than shreds. I decided to roll with it. Quick note: you don’t have to puree your zucchini for this recipe to be a smashing success.

zucchini bread batter

The Mixing Chronicles

Next, I summoned my stand mixer to blend the zucchini, carrots, and apples with all the essentials: flour, eggs, butter, and a smattering of spices. The result? A thick, sticky batter that practically begged to be baked.

zucchini bread in pan

The More, the Merrier

I knew I was in for a baking marathon, so I divvied up the batter among three separate loaf pans. I was nice enough to gift a couple to my coworkers, but you better believe I saved the biggest loaf for yours truly.

baked zucchini bread

The Waiting Game

Hold your horses, folks! Let that zucchini bread cool down until it’s no longer warm to the touch. Trust me, if you cut into it while it’s hot, you’ll end up with a crumbly disaster. Sure, it’s still tasty, but it’s also not Instagram-worthy—and we eat with our eyes first, don’t we?

sliced baked zucchini bread

The Icing on the Bread

Once your loaf has cooled to room temperature, get to work on the icing. Whisk together the ingredients until you’ve got a drizzle-worthy liquid. A simple flick of the wrist, and your zucchini bread turns into a masterpiece.

zucchini bread with icing

Sweet Confusion

Here’s the kicker: this zucchini bread was so sinfully sweet, one of my coworker’s husbands actually mistook it for cake. I’ll take that as a win.

Zucchini Bread-Specific Tips

  • Choosing the Right Zucchini: Opt for medium-sized zucchinis that are firm and free from blemishes. Giant zucchinis can be fibrous and watery.
  • Shredding Techniques: If using a food processor for shredding, be cautious with the settings. You don’t want to end up with zucchini puree unless that’s your jam.
  • Batter Consistency: The batter should be thick and sticky. If it’s too runny, you might want to add a bit more flour.
  • Baking Time: Oven temperatures can vary, so start checking your bread at around 30 minutes. The toothpick test is a reliable indicator.
  • Icing Timing: Allow the bread to cool completely before adding the icing. If the bread is warm, the icing will melt and create a gooey mess.
  • Storage: Store your zucchini bread in an airtight container to keep it moist. As mentioned, it’s best enjoyed within a week.
iced zucchini bread

There’s a delicious irony in using vegetables to make something as indulgent as zucchini bread. The added apples and carrots only make it that much more of a mystery—is it cake disguised as bread? Well, Hungry People, I’ll let you be the judge of that.

This bread, or cake if you will, is so darn good that even the most vegetable-averse will be asking for seconds. And let’s not even get started on the icing—cream cheese and butter creating the kind of topping dreams are made of.

Call it whatever you want, just make sure you call dibs on the last slice!

apple carrot zucchini bread

Easy Zucchini Bread

The Starving Chef
Bake your way to bliss with this zucchini bread that effortlessly blends the flavors of zucchini, carrots, and apples into a sweet and spicy loaf.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Fall
Cuisine Bread, Garden
Servings 3 loaves

Ingredients
  

FOR ZUCCHINI BREAD:

  • 2 cups zucchini shredded
  • 1 cup carrots shredded
  • 1 cup apples shredded
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup butter melted
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ tablespoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon gronud cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt

FOR ICING:

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Use a cheese grater with large shredding holes (or a food processor set to 'shred') to shred the zucchini, carrots, and apples.
  • In a stand mixer, combine the melted butter, orange juice, sugar, eggs, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Slowly add the shredded zucchini, carrots, and apples until a smooth batter forms.
  • Add the flour 1/2 cup at a time, with the mixer set on a medium-low speed. Continue adding the flour until a thick, sticky batter forms.
  • Grease 3 bread pans with butter and flour. Pour the batter into each pan so they are about 2/3 full. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • While the bread cools (it's best to cool completely before cutting), use a hand mixer to beat together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar until a smooth icing forms. Pour the icing evenly over the tops of each loaf and let set. Enjoy!
Keyword apples, carrots, garden, zucchini
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