February 26, 2015

Carrot Zucchini Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting and Walnuts

I've got some exciting news. I've taken on a big garden project this spring. I am going to convert our pitiful backyard, into a giant edible garden. Speaking out loud about it, here on the blog, I am hoping this will make me a little more accountable and on schedule, and actually fall through with my plan. I have no idea what I am doing and no idea what I am talking about, but I guess that's the fun of it all.

On Valentines weekend Brent and I went to the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.  Initially, I had planned to attend the event to get some ideas and hopefully scout out a landscape designer. But then I slowly realized that we were attending a large conference center with neatly lined booths trying to sell various gardening related tools, DIY green houses, and backyard fire pits, and the chances of finding someone to redesign our backyard was slim. There were some pretty grand flower displays set up by a few landscapers from the area, but they were grand and magnificent and likely built for royalty, and not in my price range. While there, I was also interested in seeing a few speakers they had lined up. One talk in particular really resonated with me - Mow No More: Beautiful No-Mow Yards by Evelyn Hadden. She talked about the idea of transforming a traditional backyard, one with a neat square of grass, into an oasis of plants and trees. It all made so much sense to me. If you would like some information on the pro's and how-to's, I highly recommend getting a copy of her book.

Currently, we have a small patch of grass in our backyard and a few hydrangeas. When we moved in, our back fence was lined with a garden, which I tore out. The garden was failing, and I later discovered it was because the previous owners had buried all of their construction debris an inch below the top layer. We have a small cherry tree, that also isn't doing quite so well. Last fall, I cut back all of it's crusty dying branches and am really hoping that it grows something back this year, because its going to be hella work to dig out that root system. I am thinking about planting some fruit trees. I've got my eye on a peach and sour cherry tree. I'd like to grow a Meyer lemon tree and a fig tree in a pot, so that I can bring them indoors during the winter. I want rhubarb, tomatoes, peas, carrots, kale, asparagus, and so much more. I already have a pretty successful patch of alpine strawberries, blueberries, and a few herbs, so I'm pretty excited to try an expand off of what I already grow. Honestly, I am extremely nervous about the whole process, and the amount of time it will take, but so very excited at the prospect of growing my own food. The hardest part so far, seems to be the planning, and trying to figure out a way to kill the patchy mossy grass that is out back (speak to me in a few months and I am sure that I will have something different to say). In a few weeks I will be updating my blog with a fancy new design. I will have a section dedicated to my edible garden, plans, drawing, photos, and tips and tricks that I learn along the way. Let's cross our fingers that this is not a huge disaster.

Now lets get down to business and talk about more important issues, like dessert. I made this zucchini loaf yesterday, and thought to myself after taking an extra 30 minutes out of my day to walk to the grocery store and back for produce that I had forget to get the day before "how cool would it be if I could walk out my back door into the garden and pick these ingredients?".

I absolutely adore this recipe. It's a recipe that I found a few years back, and have been making it religiously ever since. It's moist and tender. Full of all sorts of good things like carrots, zucchini, raisins, and walnuts. I like to eat mine with a generous layer of cream cheese frosting, enough frosting for each bite of cake. It's spiced with cinnamon and ginger, sweetened with brown sugar, and maple syrup. Some days I'll have a slice for breakfast, and others, I'll have a slice in the afternoon with tea. It satisfies the sweet craving, but also feels healthy and substantial. You wont be disappointed.

makes 1 loaf 

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 large eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup golden raisins

1 8oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.

In a medium size bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, maple syrup, vanilla, and butter. Add the brown sugar and stir until dissolved.

Slowly add the dry to the wet. Stir until combined.

Add the zucchini, carrots, and raisins. Combine.

Grease a loaf pan. Pour the batter into the pan, and give it a few taps on the counter to spread the batter.

Place into the oven and bake for 1 hr. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 min in the pan. Remove from the pam and let cool on a wire rack for 50 min - 1 hr.

In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar with a hand mixer until light and fluffy.

Spread the cream cheese icing onto the cooled loaf. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

Can be stored in the fridge for a week.


  1. ho.ly.cow. that's a mega-thick layer of frosting, and i sincerely, wholeheartedly approve. :)

  2. It's always been a dream of mine to grow my own food, too! Unfortunately I live in an apartment and don't have a garden, but I have a pretty large balcony and I'm planning on making good use of it by growing fruits and veggies in pots- things like citrus, tomatoes, herbs... I'm really excited but haven't done much planning at all. This loaf is gorgeous and that cream cheese frosting looks to die for! Can't wait to make myself a loaf.

  3. Your garden plans make me wanna hop on a plane and help you get that sucker ready to GROW. Cherries and peaches? Rhubarb and asparagus? It's going to be a next-level grow operation, lady. Hopefully you plan on sharing the process over here? ;)

    While I've never been a fan of zucchini bread (what is wrong with me?) Thom loves the stuff so next time I'm at the store I guess I'll have to pick up a dang zucchini and make him this recipe. He's gonna be stoked.

  4. These photos are gorgeous, Heather! Love! <3

  5. That looks awesome! I'll have to save this idea for when I have an abundance of zucchini this summer :) Good luck with your garden too!

  6. I could use a few slices with a side of tea. Yum :)

  7. Your plans for your garden sound amazing. My parents live in the country and have a fairly large garden. It's quite a bit of work to maintain but you can't beat the freshness and flavor of the fruits and veggies that come from this garden. Btw...that zucchini bread looks divine.


  8. OMG I want a piece of that bread right now with an extra thick layer of cream cheese frosting - YUM! Good luck with your garden project as well. I just started a hydroponic Tower Garden and it's going like gangbusters with very little maintenance! I'm new to gardening as well and found it to be a great place to start ~ Cheers:)

  9. Mmmh, love the cream cheese frosting! Beautiful photos too!

  10. Zucchini loaf. The best.
    It is going to be my third year gardening this summer, and I have come a long way in that time. My first year almost nothing came up, but I kept trying and all of the old gardeners in my neighborhood kept telling me that I should not give up because gardening is an art that takes patience and dedication. My second yer was much more successful. if you have moss in your yard, that soil is much too acidic. It probably doesn't get enough sun, too. Doing a ph test of your soil is easy and super informative. Good luck!

  11. I have always wanted to try making zucchini bread. This looks absolutely gorgeous!

  12. This looks beyond delicious! What a great recipe!

  13. Just tried this recipe and it is literally perfect!! Thank you for this legendary carrot and zucchini bread!!!

  14. Im loving your blog. I made your rhubarb and raspberry tart - delicious!
    I looking forward to making this tonight. Thanks for sharing such great recipes. Brooke

  15. I can understand you're desire for a garden. had them for years and luv'd every minute esp. the asparagus which takes years to establish. you'll luv it even though sometimes I thought it took more care than my kids! lol. your bread combines my favorite ingredients [carrots, zukes] with a great topping. tx

  16. I came back from vacation with 3 zukes bigger than my toddler's legs - one of them yielded me 7 cups shredded after scooping out the seeds. Found this recipe as a result. It is in the oven now. I had to use a GF flour blend and coconut oil instead of butter (sensitive to wheat and dairy), but if the batter is any indication, it's going to be delicious.