Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Also try this double chocolate zucchini bread!

Super rich and fudgy chocolate cake with chocolate chip and chocolate fudge frosting! The best zucchini cake! Recipe on

We haven’t had a double dose of chocolate in awhile. Two weeks is long enough, right? Actually, I stand corrected. Today we experience a triple dose of chocolate.

What you saw in that recipe video was:

√ super chocolate cake

√ with chocolate chips

√ and milk chocolate fudgy frosting

Ok… quadruple…

√ with chocolate goodies on top (choc chips and ch0c sprinkles!)

Super rich and fudgy chocolate cake with chocolate chip and chocolate fudge frosting! The best zucchini cake! Recipe on

Can you just look at how rich and moist this cake is? It tastes even better than it looks, I swear. The real secret behind it are the hidden vegetables inside. If you’re one who believes veggies should have nothing to do with dessert, keep an open mind. Carrot cake, anyone?!

(Seriously veggies and fruits (apple!) produce the moistest cakes on the planet. I love it!)

I will say this: the thought of a dessert like black bean brownies has me running for the hills. But chocolate zucchini cake? Now that’s something worth sticking around for. And hey. Maybe you can change my mind about the bean brownie thing. Is it really that good?

The best part about this chocolate zucchini cake? You don’t even realize there’s zucchini inside of it. When in reality– there’s 3 cups of it!! THREE!! The chocolate completely masks any and all signs of vegetables. This is totally the way to get your greens.

Let’s discuss a few things before we begin.

If you’re looking for a mellow dessert, this isn’t it. For mega chocolate flavor, use both natural unsweetened cocoa and chocolate chips inside the batter. Cocoa powder takes place of some of the flour– and make sure you’re using natural unsweetened cocoa powder, not dutched cocoa. Remember why? And I know I linked to this article recently as well: the reason why I use both baking soda and baking powder in baked goods. The two are related as most of the leavening occurs with the natural cocoa powder (acid) and baking soda (base). Ok enough about that!

Chocolate chips are key to those melty pockets of chocolate in each slice. Because melty pockets of chocolate are always the right choice.

To accentuate the chocolate flavor, add a dash of espresso powder. This ingredient is totally optional, but I highly recommend its addition. The chocolate zucchini cake won’t taste like coffee. Rather, the espresso powder helps bring out the intense chocolate flavor.

Cocoa powder can dry out baked goods– much more than flour. Did you know that? To compensate for it, let’s ensure there is plenty of moisture in the cake batter.

  1. Eggs. 4 of them. Remember room temperature is important.
  2. Sour cream or plain yogurt– the real moist-makers!
  3. Brown sugar instead of all white sugar. Brown sugar not only provides moisture, but flavor as well. Fave ingredient in the kitchen!
  4. 3 cups of shredded zucchini. Testing how much we can get away with… without actually tasting it! 3 cups is perfect. Zucchini is pure magic in cakes. Nothing but flavorless moisture.
  5. 1 cup of oil. Now you can try replacing *some* of the oil with unsweetened applesauce. I’ve done this with chocolate cakes and muffins and the result is wonderful, but I do not recommend replacing all of it. Regardless of the zucchini inside, this isn’t health food. It’s dessert! Don’t make it something it’s not! 🙂

Make sure you’re using 9×2 inch cake pans– at least 2 inches high is the minimum because these cakes can rise up quite tall. Just bought these cake pans and I’m obsessed with them (not sponsored, I’m recently addicted to USA Pan!). High quality, sturdy, and all-around even baking on my cakes.

As an alternative, you can make this into a sheet cake or even a big batch of cupcakes. See my recipe notes.

For frosting, let’s go with a smooth, silky, and creamy milk chocolate fudge frosting. OR you can totally do a creamy vanilla buttercream instead. There was just enough frosting to frost the entire layer cake AND a little leftover for some fun piping on top! Totally optional; decorate however you’d like!

Super rich and fudgy chocolate cake with chocolate chip and chocolate fudge frosting! The best zucchini cake! Recipe on

Super rich and fudgy chocolate cake with chocolate chip and chocolate fudge frosting! The best zucchini cake! Recipe on

I used Ateco #30 tip for the piping.

Super rich and fudgy chocolate cake with chocolate chip and chocolate fudge frosting! The best zucchini cake! Recipe on

Super rich and fudgy chocolate cake with chocolate chip and chocolate fudge frosting! The best zucchini cake! Recipe on

Deep, dark, luxuriously rich, crazy moist, and weirdly loaded with vegetables that you absolutely can’t taste. Is this cool or what?! Start collecting your 3 zucchinis NOW.


Chocolate Zucchini Cake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 10-12
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


This super rich and moist chocolate zucchini cake is topped with milk chocolate fudge frosting- you won’t even taste the vegetables!


  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 3/4 cup (63g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (80g) sour cream or plain yogurt, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini (about 3 medium)*
  • 1 cup (180g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • chocolate frosting or vanilla frosting


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease two 9×2 inch cake pans. (Make sure they’re at least 2 inches high, deep dish style.) Set aside.
  2. Make the cake: Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, espresso powder (if using), and salt together in a large bowl. In another large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, sour cream, vanilla, and zucchini together until combined. Pour into dry ingredients and beat on medium speed until completely combined. Beat in the chocolate chips. Batter will be slightly thick.
  3. Pour batter evenly into cake pans. Bake for around 25-32 minutes or until the cakes are baked through. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done. Allow cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.
  4. Assemble and frost: First, using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Discard (or crumble over ice cream!). Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with 2nd layer and spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides. Pipe any leftover frosting on top. (I used Ateco #30 tip.) Decorate with chocolate sprinkles or mini chocolate chips if desired. Slice and serve.
  5. Cover any leftover cake and store at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Prepare cakes and frosting 1 day in advance. Keep cakes at room temperature, covered tightly. Refrigerate prepared frosting in an airtight container, then bring to room temperature when ready to use. Frosted or unfrosted cakes may be frozen up to 2 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature, if desired, before serving.
  2. Special Tools: Box Grater | Glass Mixing Bowls | KitchenAid Stand Mixer | KitchenAid Hand Mixer | Round Cake Pan | Cupcake Liners | Cupcake Pan | #30 Ateco Closed Star Tip | Disposable Icing Bags
  3. Blot the Zucchini: Give the shredded zucchini a very light blotting with a towel. Don’t squeeze too much moisture out, just a little blot before adding to the wet ingredients. I own and love this box grater— works quickly!
  4. 9×13 Cake: Interested in making a sheet cake instead? This batter will fit into a 9×13 pan. The bake time is long– at least 45 minutes to ensure the thick cake is baked through. Same oven temperature.
  5. Cupcakes: This recipe yields 24-30 cupcakes. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out *mostly* clean with no wet batter. Same oven temperature.

Also try these as cupcakes! Directions in the recipe notes.

Chocolate zucchini cupcakes! So moist, rich, and easy! Topped with milk chocolate frosting. Recipe on

Super rich and fudgy chocolate cake with chocolate chip and chocolate fudge frosting! The best zucchini cake! Recipe on
Super moist and rich chocolate zucchini cupcakes with chocolate frosting! You won't taste the zucchini and everyone FLIPPED for these cupcakes! Recipe on


  1. 4 layers of chocolatey goodness? Yes please. I’ve never tried zucchini in cakes. When I see them they look outstanding and moist and indulgent and I think this one may have just tipped me over the edge. Looks sensational Sally

  2. This is the perfect chocolate cake and frosting. I followed the recipe to the T. Thank you so much for the recipe. I’m now looking forward to trying as many of your recipes as I can. I’m going on the search for the perfect yellow cake.

  3. Hi!
    Would it be possible to leave out the choc chips? Where I stay, its really difficult to find good quality choc chips that dont taste like cheap chocolate and i’m scared they will ruin the flavour!


  4. Hi there! Made this cake last week although it was an incredibly moist intense chocolaty goodness it did not yield enough frosting to decorate in fact barely enough to cover the cake. I am making it again today and will double the recipe

    1. Hi Moe! I haven’t tested it. Coconut sugar isn’t quite as sweet as either refined sugar, but maybe that’s what you’re going for 🙂 Let me know if you try it.

  5. I once made chocolate and zucchini cupcakes with raspberries; they were so good! I must try and recreate those cupcakes with this recipe: do you think I could add raspberries to the batter? How should I go about it, if I can? And how long should I bake them for as cupcakes? Thanks!

    1. I would try gently folding in the raspberries at the end with the chocolate chip. See my recipe note for baking this as cupcakes!

  6. Hi sally, using silicone baking pan would still require the same temperature and length of time for the cakes? Any special instructions…using these pans for the first time

    1. I don’t bake with silicone but from what I understand, you should not need to adjust the baking temperature. Just be sure to place the pan on a flat cookie sheet for stability!

  7. Hello there Sally,
    Can I use a Bundt pan for this delicious cake…planning to make it ,sans the frosting, this time around!

  8. Hi Sally,
    This looks delicious and I am keen to make it for my son’s birthday cake, however I am wanting to make it in advance as I am working the days leading up to the party. Would the cake freeze well? Kris

  9. Hi Sally

    I love Chocolate cake but never seem to get the right texture my mother in law had some Zucchini growing in her garden my sister in law made a Zucchini lemon cake but I want to try something different so I goggle it I found this Recipe by you the first time I made it I I made a layer cake but mixture was to little much for my sandwich pan so mixture I had left over I used for cup cakes I so love this cake I love the texture they are light and most of all really moist so now I just used the mixture for cupcake as my grandson call them little cakes so thank you for sharing this amazing recipe

  10. Hi Sally,
    I really want to try this recipe because this cake looks delicious and heavenly!! But unfortunately I’m having a bit of a problem, I’m not able to find ‘sour cream or plain yogurt’ in my part of town. And so I was wondering if it is alright to use ‘stirred yogurt’ for the cake instead of ‘sour cream or plain yogurt’? Or will this upset the whole recipe?

    And I also wanted to use ‘White Chocolate Ganache’ from the Tuxedo Cake Recipe for this Chocolate Zucchini Cake, but I couldn’t find heavy cream around. Can I use ‘whipping cream’ instead of ‘heavy cream’ to make the ‘White Chocolate Ganache’?

    Thank You!

    1. Hi Ray! You can use stirred plain yogurt for the cake. Heavy cream and heavy whipping cream are practically the same and can be used interchangeably in recipes, including the white chocolate ganache from my Tuxedo Cake.

  11. Hi Sally,
    We live in a hot and humid place. I’d like to know if your chocolate frosting can stand our weather? If not , what would you recommend?

    1. Hi Gina! The frosting is OK out in warm temperatures for a few hours. For longer storage, I recommend keeping it in the refrigerator though.

    1. Hi Sally,
      Thanks for great recipe! If I use two 7×3” pans instead of 9”, do I need adjust the temperature or time?

  12. Hi Sally. Fantastic and super moist layer cake! Made it for the first time last week and already have someone asking me to make it again. He would like some pecans in it though and I assume it would work well…. any idea of how much I could get away with in the batter though? 1 cup total? Less? Thanks!

  13. Hi Sally! Do you peel the zucchini? Thank you!!! Your blog and recipes are my absolute favorite!!! Blessings

    1. Hi Kelly! Sometimes I peel the zucchini, but not always. It doesn’t make a difference in this recipe. Make sure you wash the zucchini really well first.

    1. Hi Sarah! I don’t have any experience baking with gluten free flour but other readers have reported back that they use it successfully in my recipes. Let me know if you try it!

    1. Hi Cindy! I haven’t tried this as a bundt cake but readers have had success 🙂 Bake at 350 Fahrenheit for almost triple the time. Keep an eye on it!

    1. Hi Gail! I haven’t tried this as a bundt cake but readers have had success Bake at 350 Fahrenheit for almost triple the time. Keep an eye on it!

    1. Cocoa powder is already very light, so the combination of cake flour and cocoa powder would be much too light to hold up to the moisture of this cake, especially the zucchini. Stick with all-purpose flour.

  14. Made these as cupcakes and they are soooo good!! So chocolatey and delicious and so moist!! This recipe is a keeper for sure!! Thank you Sally!! I love your recipes and this joins my ever growing list

  15. Flippin yum! Terribly moist. Could maybe use more sugar, but even zucchini haters love it! Was looking for ways to use up my too many zucchinis from garden. This recipe was the jackpot!♥️

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally