This rich, delicious, and moist Chocolate Zucchini Cake 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.
Why This Recipe Works
I look forward to zucchini season every single summer. I absolutely love baking with zucchini because it adds such an amazing and moist texture to baked goods.
One of our friends gave us some fresh zucchini, so I was looking for some new zucchini recipes to try. I found a recipe for zucchini brownies, but it had too much sugar in it. 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!
If you love moist dark chocolate cake, then you will want to try this Dr Pepper cake and this flourless chocolate cake as well.
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 recipe 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 is needed to make the thick dough.
- Add the grated zucchini to the dry ingredients and beat with a stand mixer until a stiff dough forms. Once all the dry ingredients are mixed in, stop mixing.
- Spread or press the batter in a 9x13 pan and bake.
- Cool and frost before serving.
BRUCREW TIP: Want to make a chocolate zucchini cake with chocolate chips? stir ½ 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.
On the 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.
In the 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.
In the 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.
Tips and Tricks
- 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.
One medium zucchini is about 5 ounces and will yield about 1 cup of sliced zucchini or ⅔ cup grated packed zucchini. 3 medium zucchinis are close to one pound and will produce two cups of grated zucchini.
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.
No, this cake with zucchini can be left out on the counter for a few days. If you need to store it for longer, then I would keep it in an air tight container in the fridge.
More 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
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(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 2021.
I have a question. I have tons of summer squash. Its dryer than zucchini. Will it work for the choc chip squash cake and this dark chocolate squash cake? I have had great luck making lemon poppy seed bread with summer squash. Can I sub bakers chocolate too?
I've actually never tried it with summer squash, but I would think it would work ok. How much drier is it because there isn't any other liquid other than from the veggie. If you try it keep me posted on how it turns out.
I made it with summer squash. I added another 1/3 cup of a yogurt/ milk mix I used instead of sour cream. It was AWESOME! Probably the best moist dark chocolate cake ever! I put dark chocolate frosting on it because it was a gift for the students next door. They love it.
That's awesome to hear. I'm so glad it turned out, and that everyone loved it! 🙂
Love this cake. Someone brought in large zucchini's to work so I thought I would try your recipe. It was a big hit. Everyone at work enjoyed and it disappeared. By far my favorite chocolate cake. It's a keeper.
I just made this last night. I thought it was a little on the dry side, but I didn't quite have 2 cups of zucchini. Husband ate 2 pieces and my son 4, so it was definitely a hit.
Yeah, you need the 2 full cups of shredded zucchini. Also, if your zucchini was larger and drier that might affect the outcome. I have made this so many times and never had one turn out dry. I'm sorry yours did...but I'm glad it was a hit anyway!
These were delicious! Thanks for a great recipe!
Love the recipe but maybe my zucchini didn't have enough water. Batter never really thinned out enough to pour, it was more lumpy...but still delicious! I wanted to add liquid but was afraid it would become too thin then. I had to use more whipping cream for frosting than recipe called for as well... Suggestions?
The batter for this cake will never be pourable. You beat the zucchini into the powder mixture last, and it will become a thick stiff dough. I'm not sure why you needed more whipping cream. Did you add the powdered sugar and whipping alternately?
This looks soo good. If you make it in a round cake pan, will it just make 1 cake?
I have not made this in anything but a 9x13 dish. What size round pan are you looking at using? You might need to bake it in 2 layers depending on the size of your pan. Your baking time would be different too, but I'm not sure on the time since I haven't tried that. Keep me posted on what you do!
So I did make it in a 9 inch springform can pan. And I cut the cake in half. It came out very good. Loved the icing. I couldn't even tell there was zucchini in it.
Amy @ Amy's Healthy Baking
Jocelyn, you are my HERO for doing a 24-day cleanse! No way could I give up sugar for that long... I barely last 24 hours without it. And umm, we'll just pretend dark chocolate doesn't count. Because if it didn't, I would totally say this cake would be okay on a cleanse! 😉
So has anyone actually made this? I just did and the batter was really dry, couldn't get the cocoa/flour mixture stirred in completely. I baked it anyway and then though,t are there no eggs in this recipe? Just took it out and it's flat and doesn't looked all the way cooked and still could see some dry areas. I turned the oven off and put them back in. Made the frosting and will try, but they look nothing like the picture and I am quite disappointed so far.
Lynn, I have made this 3 times now and it turned out every single time. Did you squeeze the liquid from your zucchini??? Most recipes have you do that, but you can't do that in this recipe. It needs all the moisture from the zucchini to bake right. I shred the zucchini and put it right in my cocoa/flour mixture. And no there are no eggs in this. You need to use a stand mixer or hand mixer to really incorporate the zucchini into the dry ingredients. It should be a thick batter that needs pressed into the pan.
No I didn't squeeze it out. I followed all directions and used a hand mixer but was just so dry I should have added something. It's inedible. But the frosting is good.
No, you really do not need to add anything else. All three times I made it I beat it until a thick dark batter formed. I'm wondering if yours just needed to be mixed longer. Beating it longer produces more juice from the zucchini that wets the dry ingredients. I am so sorry it didn't work out for you.
I guess that's it. Maybe my zucchini were dry too. It's ok, not your fault!
Can you substitute something other than the coconut oil?
You can use a regular cooking oil like canola in place of the coconut oil. I hope you enjoy the cake!!!
Thanks. My granddaughter is allergic to nuts and eggs, so this recipe sounds perfect!
I am not a morning person either. Ugh, despise mornings. But this cake-wow! Loving the dark chocolate!
Thanks Chels! 🙂
My husband's on a diet but the neighbors aren't! I'm headed for the kitchen!
This cake looks so good! I love that you are using zucchini with chocolate.
Thanks Mom! 😉
Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction
I can't resist dark chocolate! Love how rich this cake looks!