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!
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 down to the recipe card to get the measurements and full instructions!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
More Tasty Zucchini Recipes
- Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake
- Zucchini Muffins
- Zucchini Fritters
- Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
- Grilled Zucchini
- Zucchini Corn Fritters
- 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
- 4 Tablespoons butter, softened
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/3 cup milk
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Spray or grease a 13x9 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.
Adapted from King's Arthur Flour
Amount Per Serving Calories 375Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 38mgSodium 202mgCarbohydrates 55gFiber 2gSugar 39gProtein 5g
I created a fun group on Facebook, and I would love for you to join us! It’s a place where you can share YOUR favorite recipes, ask questions, and see what’s new at Dinners, Dishes and Desserts (so that you never miss a new recipe)!
Be sure to follow me on Instagram and tag #dinnersdishes so I can see all the wonderful DINNERS, DISHES, AND DESSERTS recipes YOU make!
Be sure to follow me on my social media, so you never miss a post!