Zucchini Chocolate Cake

4.90 from 19 votes
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This tender Chocolate Zucchini Cake is a sweet way to slip a serving of vegetables into dessert. Filled with rich chocolate flavor from cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and chocolate frosting, dessert just got a little healthier. Luckily, your guests won’t know the difference!

Zucchini Chocolate Cake - rich and chocolate cake that uses up lots of zucchini

 

I love baking with zucchini, since recipes made with this abundant garden veggie tend to be moist and delicious. People often think that zucchini bread is all you can make with it, but the possibilities are truly endless. This rich and creamy chocolate zucchini cake is at the top of my list of options. 

When you can add vegetables to a homemade chocolate cake without anyone being the wiser, I call that a win. It might even be able to justify having seconds! If you’re as excited about this zucchini-chocolate combination as I am, you’ll love Healthier Zucchini Brownies, too.

Why You’ll Love Chocolate Zucchini Cake

  • This cake is so rich, moist, and chocolatey, no one will ever guess there is zucchini mixed in.
  • It’s easy to make with a list of common ingredients and simple mixing instructions.
  • Healthy ingredients like zucchini and plain Greek yogurt make this recipe’s nutritional value a step above other chocolate cakes. 
  • It’s the best way to use up a bounty of garden zucchini. So when you have a ton of it in the garden or are gifted giant zucchini from neighbors, you’ll know exactly what to make. 
  • If you have picky eaters in your house, you can peel the zucchini before grating it. This takes out any green flecks so they’ll think they’re eating regular chocolate cake! Your secret is safe with me.

What You’ll Need

Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the post for the FULL PRINTABLE recipe card.

For the Cake:

  • Zucchini – Drain your shredded zucchini well before using it. 
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips – Use your favorite brand of high-quality chocolate chips. 
  • Cocoa Powder – Use regular (not dutched) cocoa powder for the best texture. 
  • Butter – Use your favorite high-quality butter for the best taste. 
  • Eggs – Help to bind the batter ingredients together and provide richness.
  • Plain Greek Yogurt – Adds a touch of tangy flavor, similar to a buttermilk cake. 
  • Flour – All-purpose flour is best here, as it provides a sturdy but tender cake. 
  • Canola Oil – This neutral cooking oil helps provide richness. See the FAQs below for other types of oil you can use. 
  • Sugar – As expected, sugar adds sweetness, but it also helps keep this cake moist once it’s baked. 
  • Vanilla Extract – Choose pure vanilla extract for that warm, aromatic flavor we all love. 
  • Baking Soda – This leavener reacts with the acidity in the cocoa powder to help the cake rise. 
  • Baking Powder – Provides the majority of the rise in this tender chocolate cake. 
  • Salt – Enhances all the flavors and balances out the sweetness.

For the Frosting:

  • Cocoa Powder – For the frosting, use high-quality cocoa powder. You can use the same type as in the cake, or use a dutched variety for a mellow flavor.
  • Powdered Sugar – Use any brand of powdered sugar, and you don’t even need to sift it. Add more to the finished frosting if you want it to be thicker.
  • Vanilla Extract– Pure vanilla extract is always best. 
  • Milk – Use whole milk in this recipe for maximum flavor.
Zucchini Chocolate Cake {Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts}

How To Make Chocolate Zucchini Cake

  • Make the batter base. In a large bowl, combine the butter with salt. Mix well, then mix in the eggs. 
  • Alternate the yogurt and flour. First, add in about half the yogurt, then stir in half of the flour. Repeat with the remaining yogurt and flour.
  • Add the cocoa. Mix in the cocoa powder until you have a smooth batter.
  • Add the bulk ingredients. Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.
  • Bake. Pour the batter into the prepared 13×9 pan. Bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely before frosting it.Frost. Mix the frosting ingredients together until smooth. Add more milk or powdered sugar to thin or thicken the frosting to your liking. Frost the cake once it’s cooled.

Recipe Tips & Tricks

  • Drain the zucchini thoroughly. To avoid excess moisture in your cake, drain the shredded zucchini and squeeze out the excess liquid. It doesn’t need to be bone dry, but you don’t want it to be dripping wet. 
  • Use non-dutched cocoa powder. Avoid “dutched” (alkalized) cocoa powder in the cake recipe. This is because the natural acidity in raw cocoa powder interacts with the baking soda in this recipe to give the cake the best rise and texture.
  • Add espresso powder. Consider adding 1 teaspoon of espresso powder to the batter, which helps to enhance the rich chocolate flavor.
Zucchini Chocolate Cake {Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts}
Can I Use Another Oil For This Cake?

If you don’t have canola oil on hand, no problem. Feel free to use sunflower oil, olive oil, or melted (not hot) coconut oil instead. You could even use melted butter and the cake would still be moist and delicious.

What Can I Use Instead Of Yogurt?

If you don’t have Greek yogurt, you can substitute it with full-fat, unsweetened regular yogurt instead. Be aware that this may create a softer, more delicate cake. You could also use sour cream if you had some.

Serving Suggestions

While this Chocolate Zucchini Cake is brilliant by itself, it’s also easy to enjoy with additional treats and flavors. Here are a few of my favorite options. 

  • Strawberry Milk –  Wash this rich chocolate cake down with a glass of homemade strawberry milk for a treat with no artificial flavors or colors!
  • Berry Fruit Salad – This fresh and tasty berry salad can be served alongside this cake, or with lemon yogurt as a gluten-free dessert offering. 
  • Raspberry Sauce – This easy raspberry sauce adds a tangy, fruity touch and a splash of color to this cake. Use it as a topping or decorate the plate with it before placing your cake slice on top. 
  • Nutella Ice Cream – Always down for more chocolate? Me, too. You’ll adore the flavor and texture of Nutella ice cream with this cake. 
  • Pistachio Ice Cream – Enjoy a slice of chocolate zucchini cake with this creamy, nutty pistachio ice cream for a seriously dreamy combination.
close up chocolate zucchini cake for pinterest

More Tasty Zucchini Recipes

A piece of chocolate cake on a plate
4.90 from 19 votes

Zucchini Chocolate Cake

By Erin
Chocolate Zucchini Cake – a rich chocolate cake topped with chocolate frosting and loaded with plenty of zucchini. They will never know it is in there!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 20

Ingredients 

Cake

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 whole large eggs
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 cups zucchini, shredded and drained
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Frosting

  • 4 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup milk

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350º F. Spray or grease a 13×9 inch pan. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl mix together butter, oil, sugar, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until well combined and smooth.
  • Add the eggs and beat until fully incorporated.
  • Mix in the yogurt and flour, alternating between the two.
  • Add the cocoa powder and mix until the batter is smooth.
  • Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips until evenly combined.
  • Pour into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
  • To prepare the frosting mix together all of the ingredients until smooth, and desired consistency. Add additional milk or sugar if necessary.
  • Once the cake is completely cool; spread frosting over the cake.

Notes

Adapted from King's Arthur Flour

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 375kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 202mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 39g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Erin
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Course: Dessert Recipes
Cuisine: American
Servings: 20
Calories: 375
Keyword: chocolate zucchini cake
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About Erin S

Welcome to Dinners, Dishes, & Desserts where my love of food meets my busy life. My name is Erin and I’m a casual home cook who loves to feed people. On this blog, you’ll find hundreds of quick and easy recipes made mostly from scratch. My days are spent in the kitchen, creating new recipes to share with family and friends.

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30 Comments

  1. I can’t believe that I’ve barely made anything “zucchini” this season! Weird, right? I’ve only been grilling it. Time for cake! 🙂 Looks fab!

  2. This is such a delicious cake. It’s so moist, and the chocolate flavor is really bold. Fantastic recipe.

  3. I just have a question, your eggnog muffins, do you have a recipe to make eggnog? If not how do you make these except for November and December, when eggnog is available at the stores? They sound wonderful, and I would love to try them. I didn’t want to have to wait until November ? Thanks

    1. I don’t have one personally, but there are a million options when you do a google search, and they are all very similar. So I would pick one and try it.