This rich, delicious, and moist Chocolate Zucchini Cake recipe will have you running to the garden or farmer’s market for more fresh zucchini. Be the super hero that turns vegetables into a decadent zucchini cake with frosting.
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
I look forward to zucchini season every single summer. I wish it was because I was all kinds of healthy and loved veggies just because.
The honest truth is that I love my zucchini chocolate coated. I absolutely love baking with zucchini because it adds such an amazing and moist texture to baked goods.
One of our friends gifted us with a bunch of fresh zucchini, so I was looking online for some new zucchini recipes to try. A recipe for zucchini brownies stood out to me, but I thought it seemed like a lot of sugar. I modified the recipe by using less sugar, using coconut oil, and a dark cocoa powder.
The changes I made to the brownie recipe gave it more of a Texas sheet cake taste and look once it cooled. It doesn’t matter if you call it cake or brownies…either way, it’s delicious!
This is seriously the best chocolate zucchini cake I have ever had. In fact, it’s so good that I made this chocolate zucchini cake recipe THREE times in THREE days last week. Trust me, no one will ever suspect that you included vegetables in this amazing chocolate cake!
Baking with Zucchini
Zucchini has a very mild flavor, so it pairs well with just about everything. Using grated zucchini in baked goods results in a great moist texture. It also adds a boost of good healthy nutrition.
When choosing zucchini too bake with, look for ones that are small, firm, and have a shiny peel. Smaller zucchinis are better because they are more tender and usually have a higher water content.
Do not squeeze the moisture out of the grated zucchini unless the recipe specifically tells you to do it. Most zucchini recipes are written based on the water content of the vegetable. The dry ingredients and wet zucchini will perfectly balance each other out in the end product.
The secret ingredient in this gooey moist chocolate zucchini cake is the grated zucchini. Most recipes have you squeeze the excess liquid out of shredded zucchini. This particular zucchini cake needs all the moisture and liquid.
- Coconut Oil – use a solid coconut oil for this recipe
- Sugar – a mixture of brown and granulated sweetens this cake and gives it a good flavor
- Vanilla – adds more flavor
- Flour – make sure to use the spoon and sweep method when measuring flour
- Dark Cocoa Powder – gives the zucchini cake a rich dark color and taste
- Salt – balances out the sugar
- Baking Soda – adds a little bit of lift
- Zucchini – 3 medium zucchinis will yield 2 cups packed grated zucchini
How to make Chocolate Zucchini Cake
This chocolate zucchini cake comes together in minutes. Just make sure you beat the dry ingredients and zucchini long enough to form a dough.
- Mix all the ingredients together until it forms a dry powder.
- Wash, dry, and grate the zucchinis using a box grater with medium holes. Do NOT squeeze out any of the extra water. The moisture from the zucchini will create the thick dough.
- Add the grated zucchini to the dry ingredients and beat until a stiff dough forms. Once all the dry ingredients are mixed in, stop
- Spread or press the batter in a 9×13 pan and bake.
- Cool and frost before serving.
BRUCREW TIP: Want to make a chocolate zucchini cake with chocolate chips? stir 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips into the cake batter before baking it.
Dark Chocolate Frosting
Adding a layer of fluffy dark chocolate frosting takes this chocolate zucchini cake recipe to the next level. You can also sprinkle powdered sugar on top if you want to skip the chocolate frosting recipe.
- Beat the butter, powdered sugar and cocoa powder until crumbs form.
- Slowly beat in the heavy cream and vanilla until everything is mixed in.
- Mix on high until light and fluffy.
- Spread on top of the cooled chocolate zucchini cake.
Tips for the Best Chocolate Zucchini Cake
- Use young or small zucchinis for this chocolate cake recipe. Large over grown zucchinis tend to be drier, and then the cake will bake very dry too.
- Do not squeeze the moisture out of the grated zucchini! The moisture in this zucchini cake comes from the water in the vegetable.
- Beat the dry ingredients with the zucchini until a stiff dough forms! A stand mixer makes this much easier. Once all the dry ingredients are incorporated, stop mixing. Over mixing can result in a gummy texture.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many zucchini are in a cup?
One medium zucchini is about 5 ounces and will yield about 1 cup of sliced zucchini or 2/3 cup grated packed zucchini. 3 medium zucchinis are close to one pound and will produce two cups of grated zucchini.
Do you need to peel zucchini when using it in baking?
No, you do not need to peel your zucchini. Just wash and grate the vegetable. The peels will soften while baking, and almost seem to disappear or melt into the baked goods.
Does zucchini cake need to be refrigerated?
Counter: This chocolate zucchini cake recipe can be covered and left on the counter for 2-3 days. I actually think it tastes even better after sitting one night.
Refrigerator: If you need to make it ahead of time or keep it longer, place the covered cake in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
Freezer: Wrap the cooled unfrosted cake tightly in plastic wrap and foil and place in a freezer safe bag. Freeze for 1-2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, and add the frosting before serving.
Chocolate Zucchini Recipes
- Zucchini Donuts
- Zucchini Cake with chocolate chips
- Zucchini Brownies
- Zucchini Pound Cake
- Zucchini Cookies
- Chocolate Cream Cheese Muffins
- Dark Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Zucchini Dinner Recipes
- Zucchini Slaw
- Shrimp Zoodles
- Summer Zucchini Salad
- Stuffed Zucchini with hamburger
- Pizza and Salad
- Chicken Zoodle Soup
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For the Cake
- 1/2 cup solid coconut oil
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups packed shredded zucchini (3 medium)
For the Frosting
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick baking spray.
- Beat the coconut oil, sugars, and vanilla until it looks like wet sand.
- Add the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda and mix again. The mixture will be very dry.
- Add the grated zucchini and beat until it forms a thick batter/dough.
- Press the batter in the prepared pan. Bake for 24 minutes. Remove and let cool.
- Beat the butter, cocoa powder, and sugar until it looks like a dry powder.
- Slowly add the whipping cream and vanilla. Beat until mixed in, then beat on high until light and fluffy.
- Spread on the top of the cooled cake. Store in a covered container.
*adapted from All Recipes
Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 192Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 116mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 1gSugar: 17gProtein: 2g
(original photo from August 2014)
*The recipe for Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake was first published August 2014. The photos were updated July 2017, and the post was updated and republished May 15, 2021.