Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Super moist and indulgent chocolate zucchini cake is studded with chocolate chips and topped with chocolate fudge frosting. Made with three cups of shredded zucchini (you can’t taste it!), this is the most decadent way to eat your greens.

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

Today, we have a triple dose of chocolate in the form of luxuriously rich chocolate zucchini cake. No you can’t taste the zucchini. No you can’t see the zucchini. It’s unbelievably delicious and I’m showing you exactly how to make it!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Video Tutorial

What you saw in the recipe video:

  • Super chocolate cake
  • Loaded with chocolate chips
  • Topped with fudgy milk chocolate frosting
  • Garnished with chocolate chips and chocolate sprinkles– quadruple chocolate!

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

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?!

Why You’ll Love This Chocolate Zucchini Cake

  • Just as loved as my chocolate cake
  • Super moist and rich
  • Mega chocolate flavor
  • Easy to make
  • Uses up summer zucchini
  • 3 cups of vegetables hiding inside– you don’t even taste it!
  • Covered in chocolate buttercream

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Ingredients

This decadent cake is made with fresh summer zucchini and pantry basics. Did you know that cocoa powder can dry out baked goods much more than flour? To compensate for this, we ensure there’s plenty of added moisture in the cake batter. Let’s review:

  • Flour: Sturdy all-purpose flour is the base of this cake recipe. Do not use cake flour– when combined with ultra-light cocoa powder, cake flour is too fine.
  • Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder: Cocoa powder takes the place of some flour– and just like in my regular chocolate cake recipe, make sure you’re using natural unsweetened cocoa powder. Do not use dutch-process cocoa powder. If you’re interested, see dutch-process vs natural cocoa powder for an in-depth explanation.
  • Baking Soda & Baking Powder: Use both baking soda and baking powder for lift.
  • Espresso Powder: Espresso powder accentuates the chocolate flavor. While totally optional, I highly recommend using it. The chocolate zucchini cake won’t taste like coffee– rather, the espresso powder helps bring out the intense chocolate flavor.
  • Salt: Salt balances the flavor.
  • Oil: Oil adds moisture. 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 don’t 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! 🙂
  • Sugar: We’ll use a combination of brown sugar and white granulated sugar. Brown sugar not only provides moisture, but flavor as well.
  • Eggs: 4 eggs bind everything together and add moisture. Remember room temperature is important.
  • Sour Cream: You can use sour cream or plain yogurt– the real moist-makers!
  • Vanilla Extract: Pure vanilla extract adds flavor.
  • Zucchini: There are a whopping 3 cups of shredded zucchini in this recipe. 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.
  • Chocolate Chips: For mega chocolate flavor, we add chocolate chips to the batter. They’re key to those melty pockets of chocolate in each slice. I use semi-sweet chocolate chips, but mini chocolate chips or even dark chocolate chips would pair wonderfully.

How to Make Chocolate Zucchini Cake

This chocolate zucchini cake comes together quickly and easily! Simply whisk the dry ingredients in one bowl and beat the wet ingredients together in another bowl. Combine the wet ingredients and dry ingredients on medium speed, then add the chocolate chips. The cake batter will be slightly thick– thanks to all of the zucchini! Divide the batter between two 9-inch cake pans. You can make a quarter sheet cake using a 9×13 inch cake pan. See my recipe notes for details.

Need cupcakes instead? This recipe yields about 24-30 cupcakes. Bake at the same oven temperature for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out *mostly* clean with no wet batter.

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

Chocolate Frosting

We’re topping and filling this chocolate zucchini cake with smooth, silky, and creamy chocolate buttercream. It’s my favorite chocolate buttercream recipe, but follow the higher ratio included in my chocolate cake recipe– we want a little extra frosting for in between the layers and any decorations on top. The frosting recipe included in the chocolate cake recipe makes enough to ensure we get maximum chocolate frosting in every bite!

If you would rather top this cake with vanilla frosting, use the vanilla frosting included in my white cake recipe.

Regardless of which you choose, you’ll have enough frosting to frost the entire layer cake AND a little leftover for some fun piping on top. Decorate however you’d like!

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

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

More Chocolate Recipes

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

Deep, dark, luxuriously rich, crazy moist, and weirdly loaded with vegetables that you absolutely can’t taste. After one bite you’ll be convinced this is the best way to eat your veggies!

Print

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

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

Description

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


Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.

Notes

  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, and 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.

Keywords: chocolate zucchini cake

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

341 Comments

  1. Hello Sally~

    Wondering if this recipe would work without the chocolate chips? I’m considering this recipe with your ganache frosting. Thank you.

  2. This is by far the BEST chocolate cake ever. Hands down. Everyone who has eaten it can’t believe it has zucchini in it. One week I made it 3 different times because it was loved that much. So simple to make and I didn’t even mention how unbelievably moist it is. It’s great without the frosting but why would you want to do that lol. Double the chocolaty deliciousness I say. I even turned it into cupcakes for easy serving. So glad you shared it. It’s one of my go too recipes.

  3. Hi Sally ,had never heard of a zucchini chocolate combo and I tried this out for a small baking competition and won the second place ! The cakes texture and taste was outstanding and would love to try out all your other recipes . Thank you so much

  4. I would rate it more than 5 if I could! I had RAVE reviews on the chocolates cupcakes I made!!! I need to make this a bunt cake for Christmas. What sort of baking adjustments should I make?
    As always, Sally, your recipes make me look good!
    Please get back to me ASAP, as I need to make this again on Tuesday.
    Thanks so much!

    1. Thanks Nancy! I haven’t tried this as a bundt cake but readers have had success. Bake at 350 degrees F for well over the baking time the layers require. Keep your eye on it and use a toothpick to test for doneness.

  5. Curious? I’m planning on making this at high altitude (7000 ft). Do I need any adjustments? Didn’t see any comments in this regard.

    1. Hi Janine! I wish I could help, but I have no experience baking at high altitude. I know some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

  6. I just have say that this is the moist and by far the best chocolate cake I have ever made!!!!! Well done!

  7. Hi Sally! This cake tastes great, based on the scraps I had. I subbed half of the oil for applesauce and it worked brilliantly. For whatever reason, I wasn’t expecting it to be as deeply moist as it was on the outside, which made decorating it a bit of a challenge. Could be I just didn’t use enough frosting (I used the swiss meringue buttercream on it). Thanks for another good recipe.

  8. Hi Sally – I’m so excited to make this cake for my Galentine’s soiree this week. Could I use a bundt pan? I’m afraid my 9″ round cake pans aren’t tall enough.

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Jesse! I haven’t tried this as a bundt cake but readers have had success. Bake at 350 degrees F for well over the baking time the layers require. Keep your eye on it and use a toothpick to test for doneness.

    1. Hi Diane! I’m unsure of the nutritional info of this recipe, but there are many great online calculators like this one: https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

  9. All I had at home was Dutch processed Special Dark cocoa powder. I added 1 tablespoon white vinegar for an acid to react to the baking soda. It turned out amazing!

  10. I replaced the zucchini with steamed broccoli wizzed in the food processor. It was AMAZING and my green phobic 4 year old had no idea he had just consumed his nemesis

  11. Hi Sally! Could I put fresh strawberries sliced up in between the layers to add freshness or would that just be too much moisture?

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