You’d never know this dark, moist Chocolate Zucchini Cake has vegetables packed in. It’s perfect for the chocolate lover or the vegetable hater in your life.
Say what? Zucchini in Cake?
If you would have asked me even five years ago if I was interested in trying chocolate zucchini cake let alone make it myself, I probably would have laughed at you. No, chocolate and zucchini don’t belong together and certainly not in my favorite — chocolate cake. Blasphemy. Then, let’s talk about kids. My kids hate zucchini. It’s one of the vegetables on their naughty list, so they won’t come near it with a 10 foot pole, but they gobbled this cake up. I had an evil grin on my face the whole time.
Want to know a little secret? You can’t taste the zucchini at all. Like at all AT ALL. Like for real life like my 5 year old says. Zucchini adds some much needed health up in there, but I wouldn’t say this cake is healthy…only healthy-ish. This is definitely a dessert. Aside from adding some nutrition, the zucchini also adds some moisture to the cake.
So let’s gather up those last zucchinis from the garden (or grocery store) and let’s hide them in this chocolate cake so our kids will happily gobble it up, and we can all look on with evil grins.
Triple Chocolate Goodness
This Healthy-ish Chocolate Zucchini Cake has cocoa powder (I use Valhrona because it’s the most intense cocoa you can buy around here), chocolate chips (because everyone loves melty pockets of chocolate), AND a chocolate buttercream frosting (because #indulgence) to top it off. This Chocolate Zucchini Cake is great for the chocolate lovers in your family AND the veggie haters.
Tips for making this Chocolate Zucchini Cake
- Use a cheese grater to grate your zucchini. I prefer the finest setting for the cake so I’m guaranteed not to get larger shreds so my jig isn’t up with the kids.
- Like these Corn and Zucchini Fritters with Thyme, I’ve found absolutely no need to dry out the zucchini with a paper towel before adding to the cake mixture, but if you find your zucchini is particular wet, feel free to do this a little bit.
- The espresso powder is completely optional. I usually always use espresso powder when I’m making baked chocolate desserts. It just heightens the chocolate flavor — but you can leave it out if you don’t want to bother with it.
- You can easily make this cake into 1 9×13 inch cake instead of two 8″ rounds. Just be careful with baking times (see next bullet!).
- Don’t over-bake! It’ll be dry. I’ve done it before. Make sure you don’t forget about the cake when it’s in the oven like I did.
Frosting a Chocolate Zucchini Cake
If you’re making a 9×13 inch cake, frosting will be incredibly easy. Slather this buttercream all over the top and call it a day. If you’re doing two 8″ rounds like I have done here, then I highly encourage you to go naked. Just like my Homemade Strawberry Cake, I am not frosting cakes until further notice. It’s just not my thing, and I don’t enjoy it. I strongly encourage you to take a stand against frosting cakes and join me.
If you’re interested in piping some frosting, I use Wilton Tip #32.
Storing the Chocolate Zucchini Cake
This cake will be great the next day as long as it’s kept in an airtight container and stored at room temperature. No need to refrigerate.
I hope y’all enjoy!
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
For the cake
- 8 Tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder, high quality
- 1 tsp espresso powder
- 3 cups zucchini, finely grated (about 2 large zucchinis)
- 3/4 cup mini or regular chocolate chips
For the frosting:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray two 8" round cake pans or 1 9×13" rectangular cake pan and line with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar, oil, and vanilla together until smooth. Add the eggs, then alternate adding the sour cream or yogurt with the flour mixture. Mix until just combined (be careful to not overmix!). Add cocoa powder and espresso powder.
- With a spatula, fold in the chocolate chips and zucchini.
- Place the batter in your baking pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick in the center comes out clean. (Be sure to not over bake — you don't want a dry cake!)
- Remove cake from oven and let cool on a wire rack until completely cool before frosting.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
For the frosting:
- In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract, corn syrup, and salt until combined. With the mixer on low, gradually add in the confectioner's sugar until well combined. Slowly add in melted chocolate and mix until there are no streaks.
- Stick in the refrigerator if frosting seems too thin (this happens when chocolate is still a little too warm). Otherwise, frost cake as soon as cake is cool.