Welcome to Ambitious Kitchen’s annual ZUCCHINI WEEK! Yes, every single day this week I’m going to be posting a new zucchini recipe and frankly, I’m thrilled about it. I know you still have zucchini lurking in your garden, or perhaps it’s on sale at the store, either way you’ll need a ton of it! First up is this Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread that just so happens to be gluten free, vegan and nut free. No, you’re not dreaming. Just waking up to heaven.

Even after 5 years of blogging, I’m still finding new ways to put zucchini in baked goods. Call me the zucchini wizard. With a chocolate lightning bolt on my forehead and a spatula as my wand.

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Pretty sure you should bake this cake for Easter because it just so happens to be one of the BEST I’ve ever made. I’m not saying that because I really want you to make it; I’m telling you because this wonderful version is incredibly moist, full of nutritious, healthier ingredients and is gluten free. Cue jumping on couches Tom Cruise style.

Could you call this a healthy carrot cake? I’m going to say YES. But how, you ask?!

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It’s getting chilly here in Chicago. Surprisingly the leaves haven’t started changing to a yellow-orange hue, but I expect them to soon enough.

Fortunately, I haven’t been forced to turn the heat on quite yet but have definitely been tempted. Especially since my entire apartment is made up of hardwood floors that turn ice cold during the evenings. The only solution? Cranking up the oven to 350 degrees F and filling the apartment with the aroma of all things sweet and spice (and everything nice?).

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As you may have noticed, I’ve been trying hard to rotate between baked goods and healthy meals. Quite a task for me some days as all I want to do is bake you all the things.

Lately I’ve been craving a good bundt. Because I like big bundts. And I cannot lie.

Okay, I’ll stop myself there.

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An incredibly moist Carrot Cake Banana Bread made healthy with whole wheat flour and applesauce instead of lots of butter or oil. Don’t forget the low-fat cream cheese frosting — it’s to die for!

Incredible Healthy Carrot Cake Banana Bread with Thick Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I never really enjoyed carrot cake until about a year ago.

It started when I was living in Los Angeles; there was an incredible cupcake shop in Manhattan Beach that I used to stop in after a beach walk in the evenings. They sold a variety of mini cupcakes and for some reason I decided to try their carrot cake version. After one bite, I was in heaven. Now I’m on some sort of quest to find the best carrot cake out there. Any suggestions?

When it comes to cake, the only thing that can compete with carrot is my Dad’s yellow cake with chocolate buttercream – and that one is pretty hard to master. I’m still working on the recipe after 7 years. Maybe one day.

Incredible Healthy Carrot Cake Banana Bread with Thick Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

There’s one thing I don’t like about carrot cake: all of those calories. And I’m already going to be eating everything else in my face during Easter, including at least three of those Reese’s Eggs and probably way too much wine. Yes, I try to make every holiday as awesome as Thanksgiving.

Anyway as I was preparing to head to the grocery store staring at overly ripe bananas on the counter, an interesting thought came to me. What if I combined the two? You know, my love for carrot cake + banana bread. Could this be a thing?

In my mind, absolutely.

Incredible Healthy Carrot Cake Banana Bread with Thick Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

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Sometimes all you need in life is a little cake. Am I right?

If I could bake layered cakes all the time, I would. It tends to be pretty time consuming so I like to save it for special occasions, such as birthdays or holidays. Even though this cake took me a few hours to bake up and frost, it was completely worth it.

I baked this with Easter in mind. Sometimes it’s fun to go outside the tradition of carrot cake and bake something to surprise everyone. Just imagine pulling this out and setting it on the table. Minds will be blown. Like did you just make a triple layered cake? Wait it tastes like a fluffy banana bread. Oh and there’s chocolate in there? Wait and a frosting that tastes like the inside of a peanut butter cup?

Oh.em.gee. I know.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake with Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting

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Work. Work. Work. I’ve been sooooooooo busy.

All of it makes me crave cake, which is actually quite disappointing considering I put myself on a baking restriction. I mean the whole point of it was to learn how to control myself around things that smell like heaven. Whattttttttt.

But come on! You and I both knew that sort of thing wouldn’t last long. I mean did I really expect myself to NOT throw flour around my kitchen for an entire week? I don’t think that’s even possible.

The other day I baked my incredible black bean avocado brownies for my Godson, then pretty much devoured half the pan. Who could blame me? Those things are ridiculously fudgy and packed with healthy things. WIN!

Totally dramatic… I’m aware.

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Confession: I’m not a cake person.

I’d rather have pie loaded with whip cream;  it’s much more nostalgic. However, I recently discovered the downside of pie: it’s not acceptable to eat for breakfast. I mean could you imagine walking into a Starbucks and ordering a slice of French Silk? Here comes the judgy looks.

But coffee cake? Totally cool. Load up my plate at 8am with buttery bliss and give me a shot of espresso.

I think I can totally get down with cake for breakfast thing.

There’s something special about enjoying a slice of coffee cake with your favorite person. In fact, sometimes that is exactly what you need. Trust me on this. I’ve become an expert in wooing people with desserts.

So here’s what I did: I made you a coffee cake that tastes like a moist, fluffy blueberry muffin. The crunchy streusel topping is wonderful and I think you’ll find it perfect served warm with a cup of joe. Plus, it gives you an excuse to brown butter!

Just do it, okay?

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