Chocolate Zucchini Cake

When I lived in downtown LA, my dreams of having a cute rooftop herb garden were quickly squelched after seeing a black film of soot on all my plants from all the pollution from traffic and construction.  So, one of the first things I did when we moved to a house was to plant a small backyard garden.  A few months later, my garden is exploding with zucchini, and I’m finding all sorts of creative ways to make use of it.  First up is cake!

Now you can eat your veggies and dessert all in the bite (and it won’t be weird or gross).  This chocolate zucchini cake is one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve made.  The pound of shredded zucchini makes the cake super moist and tender, but you can’t taste any bit of veggie.  Instead you may swoon from the intense chocolate flavor from the rich cocoa powder, espresso power, chocolate chips, and chocolate icing.  The cake isn’t too sweet (even with all that chocolate).  It’s easy and quick to make, but it takes a while to cool down after baking.

It’s still early in the season, but the garden is exploding with crops and potential.

One of my favorite ways to use up zucchini, chocolate cake!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Makes one 9×13 inch pan; about 24 servings
(from King Arthur Flour; I rewrote the directions for the recipe a bit, but the ingredients are the same)



1/2 cup (8 tablespoons; 4 ounces) butter
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (4 ounces) sour cream, buttermilk, or yogurt (I used sour cream)
2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup (2 1/4 ounces) All-Purpose Baking Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa
2 teaspoons espresso powder, optional but tasty
3 cups (12-18 ounces) shredded zucchini (about one 10″ zucchini)
1/2 cup (3 ounces) chocolate chips


1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F, and lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan.  I used a Pyrex glass pan so I could see when the cake was set.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder (if using), baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, oil, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Beat in the eggs.
  5. Stir in half of the sour cream, buttermilk, or yogurt.  Then stir in half of the flour/cocoa mixture.  Repeat until all of the flour/cocoa mixture has been added.  Mix until smooth, but be careful not to overmix.
  6. Fold in the zucchini and 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
  7. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
  8. Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top springs back lightly when touched, and it seems set.
  9. To ice the cake, slide the cake out of the oven, and sprinkle the 1 cup of chocolate chips evenly over the top of the cake.  Return the cake to the oven for 5 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Remove the cake from the oven, and use a cake spatula or rubber spatula to spread the chocolate chips into a smooth glaze. It’s OK if the chocolate icing seems a bit thin.  A little goes a long way.
  11. Cool on a rack.  Since this cake is so moist and tender, it’s best to wait until it’s completely cool before cutting.  Otherwise you might have a bit of a mess on your hands.

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