We originally categorized this recipe as a “bread,” but if we’re being honest with ourselves, it’s actually a cake (just as most “banana breads” are). Whatever you want to call it, know that it comes together very quickly, comes out of the oven supremely moist, and is equally welcome at the breakfast table or as a not-too-sweet dessert.

Speaking of dessert, you can push the recipe further into cake territory by mixing in a large handful of nuts and/or dried fruit, and topping it with cream cheese frosting, which would make it very similar to carrot bread cake.

Photo: Lauren V. Allen

Recipe: Cast Iron Zucchini-Lemon Cake

Yield: One 10-inch round loaf



Preheat the oven to 350°F and position a rack in the center. Coat the inside of a No.8 Field Skillet with butter.


In a large bowl, combine the eggs, yogurt, sugars, and olive oil and whisk until the eggs are broken up. Add the zucchini and stir with a spatula to combine.


In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, salt, and lemon zest until well combined. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.


Pour the batter into the skillet. Sprinkle the top with the turbinado sugar, if using.


Bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the skillet for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.

Seasoning Rating: Better

In seasoning terms, this recipe is very similar to cornbread—that is to say, excellent. A coating of melted butter helps prevent sticking, while a full skillet of batter means that all surfaces, side walls included, will benefit. Like cornbread, it's important not too store your zucchini bread (cake?) in the skillet for too long: left in the pan overnight or in the fridge, the dense cake (bread?) will trap moisture against the cooking surface, causing damage to your seasoning.

Seasoning Ratings:

Best—These dishes are the best options for building resilient seasoning, and surefire choices for getting tricky pans back on track.

Better—The best way to keep your skillet in great shape is to cook frequently, and cast iron-friendly dishes like these are your bread and butter.

Safe—These recipes won't strip seasoning away from your pan, but won't really add any, either.

OK—Be sure to clean up promptly. Recipes with this rating might feature acidic ingredients which can affect seasoning if not washed soon after cooking.