An easy chocolate cake that’s full of a hidden surprise: zucchini! This rich and fudgy chocolate zucchini cake will trick even the pickiest of kids into eating their veggies.
My perfect chocolate cake is moist and rich, bursting with chocolate flavor, and easy to make. I know zucchini may not sound very appealing inside chocolate cake, but this chocolate zucchini cake recipe will fool anyone who thinks vegetables don’t belong in desserts.
Just like in my carrot cake, the vegetables in this recipe add moisture and texture. Zucchini contain more than 90% water, and a good amount of fiber and vitamins, so adding them to a cake is nothing more than mixing in flavorless healthy moisture.
This chocolate chip zucchini cake is very adaptable. You can bake it in a loaf pan, a cake pan, or even a muffin tin. You can use either buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt to add additional moisture, using up any extra dairy products you have in your fridge. And depending on preference, you can even keep the peel on the zucchini. It’s an easy, one-bowl recipe that is a great way to use up any leftover summer zucchini.
Preparing the Zucchini
Before you begin making this double chocolate zucchini bread you’ll need to prep your zucchini so they don’t add too much moisture to the cake. If you skip this step, your cake will be gummy and it won’t have the right texture.
Peeling the zucchini is an unnecessary step, but keep in mind if you don’t peel the zucchini there will be bits of green peel in the cake. If you want your cake to not show the zucchini, then peel the zucchini (also peel them if they have a thick skin, often when they are old).
Whichever method you choose, grate the zucchini using the large holes of a box grater or a food processor. Scoop up the zucchini in handfuls, squeezing out excess liquid. You can use a paper towel, dishcloth or even just your hands. Make sure to do this with all of the zucchini (you will need to work in batches) until it is fully wrung out.
How to Make Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Once your zucchini is prepped, the rest of this chocolate zucchini cake recipe comes together as quickly as your oven gets preheated to 350°F/180°C.
Grease whatever pan you choose to use (I prefer an 8×8 inch cake pan) and set it aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (except for the sugar) so that everything is evenly distributed. This helps reduce the amount of mixing you will need to do later once you add the wet ingredients.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until well combined. Add the oil, sour cream (or whatever dairy product you prefer), vanilla extract, and whisk until fully combined.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry and fold with a rubber spatula, just until combined. Fold in the grated, and drained, zucchini and 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. You can sprinkle with more chocolate chips for garnish, if desired.
Bake the chocolate zucchini cake with chocolate chips for 35-40 minutes if using a cake pan, 50-60 minutes for a loaf pan, and 15-20 minutes for muffins. As with any cake, test with a toothpick for doneness especially since the cake is dark and you won’t be able to use color as an indicator.
The chocolate zucchini cake is best 1-2 days after it’s made since the chocolate flavor develops even more, completely hiding any zucchini flavor. The texture also becomes more moist and rich as it rests, so make a double batch since it’s impossible to resist this cake warm from the oven.
Other vegetable recipes:
- 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (45g) natural unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon , optional
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) canola or vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) sour cream, plain yogurt, or buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups (220g) grated zucchini, drained, excess moisture squeezed out (use large holes of a box grater, or shred in food processor)
- 1/2 cup (85g) chocolate chips, plus more for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease an 8×8-inch pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
- In another medium bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until well combined. Add oil, sour cream (or yogurt/buttermilk), and vanilla extract, and whisk until combined. Add egg mixture into flour mixture and fold with a rubber spatula just until combined. Do not overmix. Fold in grated zucchini and 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
- Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the top with chocolate chips if desired. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Cake can be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 month (thaw overnight in the fridge).