Chocolate Zucchini Cake

by Pamela

chocolate zucchini cake, homemade chocolate cake, zucchini, relationship advice

At this point in the season, you are no doubt drowning in basil and that other summer renegade – zucchini. I grew up with parents who planted double digits of zucchini plants (there were only 4 of us in the house). We had so many zucchini that my brother and I didn’t egg or toilet paper people’s houses (God forbid…that stuff was expensive and mom would have killed us) – we zucchinied them. No, we didn’t throw them at the houses (the size of the zucchini’s my parents were so proud of growing would have knocked a hole through even the toughest of siding)…we just left them at people’s doors. How very Christian of us. (No, seriously, my parents thought that the bigger you grew those squash…the more you got for your money. Those things could have been carried as weapons. Not concealed weapons, just outright weapons.) But the bigger zucchini’s do make for more chocolate zucchini cake.

My mom’s zucchini preparations left a lot to be desired too. In her defense, this zucchini thing was a new vegetable here in the US. You didn’t find it at stores and it wasn’t found shredded by the bucketful at salad bars (remember those?) either. Yes, my parents were vegetable pioneers. LUCKY ME!

I will say that there was one zucchini preparation that my brother and I actually liked – chocolate zucchini cake. Turns out, those super gigantor zucchini’s that don’t taste so great cooked up are perfect to use in a homemade chocolate cake. Yeah, they’re also pretty good in zucchini bread, but that cake….YUUUUUUMMMMMMM.

If you’ve ever cooked zucchini (I know that most people eat it raw or just lightly cooked), it’s got a ton of water in it. It’s a lot like mushrooms. The water content of the zucchini is perfect for making this casual cake because it holds so much moisture in the cake, that you don’t have to worry about it drying out. Oh, and zucchini is a lot like tofu. You put that little squash into almost anything and it takes on the flavors of whatever it’s been added to. It doesn’t impart any flavor of its own to the dish. Woo Hoo! (btw…this zucchini chocolate cake is my favorite zucchini recipe)

Homemade Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Since I have yet to see this in the stores, the only way you’re going to get to dig into this is to make your own homemade chocolate zucchini cake. Trust me, it’s simple.

This is also the perfect thing to bring to a summer (what’s left of it) picnic or to pack in the kid’s lunches for school. It’s not as dense as a brownie, but it will definitely hold up in the lunchbox/bag. (Walk into a gathering with a homemade chocolate cake and people will definitely put you on their “must invite” list.) I love to bring this to picnics because you’re pretty much guaranteed no leftovers and it’s not a big mess to cut and eat.

You can definitely add more chocolate chips to the top or even make a frosting for it if you want to make it a little classier. But I promise you that no one will be complaining when they bite into this cake.

So let those zucchini bushes keep slinging more squash or offer to take some extra off your neighbors hands (they’ll love you for it) and whip up a rich and delicious chocolate zucchini cake. It’s a healthy chocolate cake right? (Hey, you do get a good serving of vegetables in it.)

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This chocolate zucchini cake is a delicious way to use that zucchini that's taking over. Double chocolate and veggies make a great homemade chocolate cake.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 24
  • ½ Cup Unsalted Butter
  • ½ Cup Vegetable Oil*
  • 1¾ Cups Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • ½ Cup Buttermilk (or see buttermilk substitute recipe in Notes)
  • 3 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • ½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 4 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Cups Shredded Zucchini (from roughly 1 pound of zucchini)
  • 1 Cup Chocolate Chips (divided)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farnenheit.
  2. In a mixing bowl cream butter, oil and sugar together.
  3. To the creamed mixture add the eggs, vanilla and buttermilk. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. In a separate bowl thoroughly mix, or sift, the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ground cloves and cocoa together.
  5. Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl. Add the dry ingredients in thirds and mix each addition thoroughly before adding the next.
  6. Stir in the shredded zucchini and ½ cup of the chocolate chips. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  7. Pour batter into a greased and floured 9″ x 13″ pan and make sure batter is level.
  8. Sprinkle the top with the remaining ½ cup of chocolate chips.
  9. Bake for 50 minutes or when a toothpick, inserted in the center, comes out clean.
  10. No frosting necessary.
*To lighten up this cake, you can substitute ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce for ¼ cup of oil. *If you don’t have buttermilk on hand you can make a perfectly good substitute. In 1 cup of milk, add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Stir together and let sit for 5 minutes before adding to the recipe.


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Bernadine Butkowski August 21, 2013 at 10:17 am

I have convinced your Father to pick the zucks when they are small. We have a variety of ways to fix them now. I still like that cake that I cut the recipe out of the local paper.
Everyone loves it and don’t realize it has a vegetable in it. We don’t have many zucks this year because of the rain and cold weather we have had this summer.

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef August 21, 2013 at 7:22 am

It will soon be zucchini season here. I don’t have room but my friend does. I’ll make this cake! People will come from near and far to eat it. 🙂

I loved the zucchini weapons!

Ruthy @ Omeletta August 20, 2013 at 12:55 pm

This is perfect! I’ve been eyeing the cheap and gorgeous looking zucchini at the market lately, but I haven’t been inspired as to what to do with it. Definitely going to try this one out!

Pamela August 20, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Ruthy…grab it all and have at this cake. You won’t believe how moist it turns out. ENJOY!!!

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