Cakes/ Chocolate

Moist and Delicious Chocolate Zucchini Cake

June 9, 2022

An easy, moist chocolate cake made with a surprise ingredient: zucchini! This one-bowl, rich and fudgy chocolate zucchini cake will trick even the pickiest of kids into eating their veggies.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

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. If you’re interested in making this recipe as muffins, check out my Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins.

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.

Zucchini Chocolate Cake

Preparing and grating the zucchini

Before you begin making this double chocolate zucchini bread you’ll need to prep your zucchini so it doesn’t add TOO much moisture to the cake. It’s important not to skip this step or else your cake will be too watery and have a gummy texture.

Peeling the zucchini isn’t mandatory, but keep in mind if you don’t 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).

  1. Grate the zucchini using the large holes of a box grater or a food processor.
  2. 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.
Chocolate cake made with zucchini and chocolate chips

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.

  1. Grease whatever pan you choose to use (I prefer an 8×8 inch cake pan) and set it aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (except for the sugar) so that everything is evenly distributed.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. You can sprinkle with more chocolate chips for garnish, if desired.
  6. 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 masking 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.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

More of my favorite chocolate cake recipes

5 from 6 votes
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
YIELD: 8 inch cake

This one-bowl recipe makes an incredibly rich and chocolatey cake with a secret ingredient: zucchini!

  • 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (45g) 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
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease an 8×8-inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).

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  • Reply
    October 10, 2020 at 3:40 am

    Made this cake yesterday. Turned out amazing. Thanks Shiran for the recepi.

  • Reply
    Gagan Kaur
    October 11, 2020 at 12:15 am

    I will definitely try it bt I wanna ask a question: if I use milk instead of sour cream, youghurt or butter milk, shd i still use baking soda in the batter or thn baking powder will be fine?

  • Reply
    Minu Elizabeth Scaria
    October 13, 2020 at 8:05 am

    I tried the chocolate zucchini cake and it was perfect with the best texture. Thank you for your recipe.

  • Reply
    October 17, 2020 at 7:53 pm

    Tried with regular cocoa powder and included the optional cinnamon. So moist! Definitely will make this often.

  • Reply
    November 7, 2020 at 11:16 pm

    _I’m a little confused about what kind of cocoa powder to use, natural (Hershey’s) or Dutch process? I have both kinds. Which should I use? Thank you!

    • Reply
      November 10, 2020 at 10:11 am

      Use the Dutch process cocoa powder 🙂

      • Reply
        Jaya Bhansali
        February 7, 2021 at 6:35 pm

        Hi, when you say whisk eggs and sugar until well combined do you mean ribbon stage or just till well mixed. Thanks

        • Reply
          February 22, 2021 at 2:48 am

          Just until well mixed. There’s no need to use a mixer or whisk for a long time.

  • Reply
    November 18, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    This is such an easy and very delicious cake. l love to make this cake. My friends can’t believe there is zucchini in the cake. l pass this recipe to many people. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply
    July 5, 2021 at 11:11 pm

    Made this cake for the first time this evening, and I’m so impressed! Thank you for the excellent recipe. I subbed in some of the abundant yellow squash from my garden; before grating the squash, I cut them in half and used a spoon to scoop out all the seeds, because squash seeds are much bigger than zucchini seeds.

    I made the cake dairy-free by subbing 1/4c coconut cream for the sour cream/yogurt. I also skipped the cinnamon, because I planned to cut it into 2 layers and fill with raspberry jam and chocolate custard. The cake came out SO good! Really great texture and flavor. I literally forgot there was squash in it as I was snarfing it down. I don’t think anyone who didn’t know would ever guess there was a cup and a half of vegetable matter in there! Haha. Tasted truly awesome with the custard and jam, and some fresh berries and cherries. This would be a perfect homemade birthday cake. My husband and I made it for no reason at all, and I’m feeling good about our choices

  • Reply
    Judy Piggott
    August 2, 2021 at 12:44 pm

    That is the best chocolate cake I have ever eaten. I will definitely make this again and again!

  • Reply
    Judy Piggott
    August 2, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    This is the best chocolate cake I have ever eaten. I will definitely make this again and again!

  • Reply
    Jill Lange
    July 3, 2023 at 8:13 am

    Would I have to double the recipe to make a 2 layer cake? Would it be a good 2 layer cake? I have extra frosting.
    Thank you for all you’ve taught me,

    • Reply
      Stephanie @ Pretty.Simple.Sweet.
      July 5, 2023 at 2:13 pm

      Hi Jill, yes, you’d have to double the recipe for a 2 layer cake. I have not tried this as a two-layer cake, but I hope it turns out well for you!

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