Zucchini Chocolate Cake Recipe

Indulge in the unusual combination of rich chocolate and garden-fresh zucchini with this unique cake recipe. The moist, fudgy texture of this cake is complemented by a smooth, creamy frosting, creating a balance of flavors that is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth and make you see zucchini in a whole new light.

Zucchini Chocolate Cake Recipe
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Most of these ingredients are pantry staples, like flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, sugar, butter, vanilla extract, and eggs. Buttermilk, while not as common, can be found in the dairy section of most supermarkets. As for the star of the show, zucchini, you'll want to look for firm, small to medium-sized ones, as they are the most flavorful.

Ingredients for Zucchini Chocolate Cake and Frosting

flour: Used as the base for the cake's structure.

unsweetened cocoa: Gives the cake its rich, chocolatey flavor.

baking soda: Acts as a leavening agent to make the cake rise.

salt: Enhances the flavors of the other ingredients.

granulated sugar: Adds the necessary sweetness.

butter: Provides moisture and richness.

vanilla extract: Adds depth to the cake's flavor.

eggs: Contributes to the cake's structure and richness.

buttermilk: Adds tartness and creates a tender crumb.

zucchini: Adds moisture and a subtle earthy flavor.

milk or cream: Used in the frosting to create a creamy texture.

cocoa powder: Adds a chocolatey flavor to the frosting.

powdered sugar: Sweetens and thickens the frosting.

vanilla extract: Enhances the flavor of the frosting.

One reader, Corry Pratt says:

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This zucchini chocolate cake recipe is a game-changer! The zucchini adds moisture and a subtle veggie goodness, making it a guilt-free indulgence. The rich chocolate flavor and creamy frosting are a match made in heaven. It's a must-try for chocolate lovers and a sneaky way to get in some veggies!

Corry Pratt

Essential Techniques for Baking a Perfect Chocolate Zucchini Cake

How to prepare the cake batter: Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then create a well in the center and add the wet ingredients. Fold in the grated zucchini until no flour pockets remain.

How to make the frosting: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat, then add the milk and sifted cocoa powder. Stir to combine, then remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract and sifted powdered sugar. Spread over the slightly warm cake and allow to cool/set for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

How To Make Zucchini Chocolate Cake

This chocolate cake is loaded with fresh zucchinis and topped with a rich chocolate frosting. This dessert takes just half an hour to whip up.

Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes



For Cake:

  • 2cupsall purpose flour
  • ½cupHershey’s unsweetened cocoa
  • 2tspbaking soda
  • 1tspsalt
  • cupgranulated sugar
  • 1cupbutter,melted
  • 1tspvanilla extract
  • 3eggs,lightly beaten
  • ¾cupbuttermilk
  • 2cupzucchini,grated and squeezed dry

For Frosting:

  • ¾cupbutter
  • cupmilk,or cream
  • ¼cupcocoa powder,sifted
  • cupspowdered sugar,sifted
  • 1tspvanilla extract


  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Create a well or nest in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the butter, buttermilk, vanilla extract and eggs.

  2. Using a spatula or wooden spoon stir for 10 seconds, then fold in the grated zucchini. Continue mixing until no flour pockets remain.

  3. Place into a buttered (or sprayed) 9×13 inch baking pan. Place in the oven and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 28 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

  4. Meanwhile, to make the frosting, in a medium saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the milk and sifted cocoa powder.

  5. Stir to combine, then remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract and the sifted powdered sugar. Spread over the slightly warm cake.

  6. Allow to cool/set for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.


  • Calories: 605.63kcal
  • Fat: 29.24g
  • Saturated Fat: 18.03g
  • Trans Fat: 1.09g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 7.71g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.36g
  • Carbohydrates: 84.98g
  • Fiber: 2.76g
  • Sugar: 65.23g
  • Protein: 5.81g
  • Cholesterol: 112.45mg
  • Sodium: 414.99mg
  • Calcium: 53.51mg
  • Potassium: 215.35mg
  • Iron: 2.03mg
  • Vitamin A: 250.96µg
  • Vitamin C: 3.85mg

Pro Tip for Achieving the Perfect Texture in Zucchini Chocolate Cake

When grating the zucchini, there's no need to peel it first. The skin is soft and packed with fiber, and it will add a nice touch of color to your cake. Also, make sure to squeeze out any excess moisture from the grated zucchini before adding it to the batter. This will prevent the cake from becoming too soggy.

Time-Saving Tips for Making This Chocolate Cake Recipe

Prep ahead: Grate the zucchini and prepare the frosting a day in advance to save time on the day of baking.

One-bowl method: Use a single bowl to mix the dry ingredients, wet ingredients, and zucchini to minimize cleanup.

Double batch: Make two cakes at once and freeze one for later to save time on future occasions.

Convection bake: Use the convection setting on your oven for faster and more even baking.

Food processor: Use a food processor to quickly grate the zucchini for the cake.

Substitute Ingredients For Zucchini Chocolate Cake Recipe

  • zucchini – Substitute with carrot: Carrots can be used as a substitute for zucchini in a chocolate cake recipe. They provide a similar moisture content and mild flavor, making them a suitable replacement.

  • buttermilk – Substitute with plain yogurt: Plain yogurt can be used as a substitute for buttermilk in the cake batter. It provides acidity and moisture, similar to buttermilk, and helps create a tender crumb in the cake.

  • hershey's unsweetened cocoa – Substitute with Dutch-processed cocoa: Dutch-processed cocoa can be used as a substitute for Hershey's unsweetened cocoa. It has a smoother, more mellow flavor and is often used in baking to achieve a richer chocolate taste.

  • butter – Substitute with vegetable oil: Vegetable oil can be used as a substitute for butter in the cake batter. It helps to keep the cake moist and can be used in a 1:1 ratio as a replacement for melted butter.

  • granulated sugar – Substitute with coconut sugar: Coconut sugar can be used as a substitute for granulated sugar in the cake batter. It has a similar sweetness and can add a hint of caramel flavor to the cake.

  • powdered sugar – Substitute with maple sugar: Maple sugar can be used as a substitute for powdered sugar in the frosting. It provides a natural sweetness and a subtle maple flavor, enhancing the overall taste of the frosting.

Creative Ways to Present This Chocolate Zucchini Cake

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting the zucchini chocolate cake, focus on creating a visually stunning plate. Use a combination of edible flowers and chocolate shavings to add a touch of elegance to the dish.

  2. Incorporate contrasting textures: Introduce a contrast of textures by adding a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream to complement the rich and moist zucchini cake.

  3. Utilize artistic drizzling: Enhance the presentation by drizzling a chocolate ganache in an artistic manner on the plate, creating an eye-catching design that adds a touch of sophistication to the dessert.

  4. Garnish with fresh berries: Add a pop of color and freshness to the plate by garnishing with a selection of fresh berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries, to provide a delightful contrast to the rich chocolate flavors.

  5. Incorporate gold leaf accents: For an opulent touch, consider delicately placing gold leaf accents on the plate to elevate the visual appeal and create a sense of luxury around the zucchini chocolate cake.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making a Delicious Chocolate Cake

  • Mixing bowls: You'll need various sizes for mixing ingredients and preparing different components of the recipe.

  • Whisk: Use a whisk to combine dry ingredients, beat eggs, and mix the batter until smooth.

  • Spatula or wooden spoon: These are essential for folding in the grated zucchini and ensuring the batter is well mixed.

  • 9×13 inch baking pan: This will be used to bake the cake. Make sure to butter or spray the pan before pouring in the batter.

  • Medium saucepan: You'll need this to melt the butter and mix the frosting ingredients over low heat.

  • Measuring cups and spoons: These are necessary for accurately measuring the ingredients.

  • Oven: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for baking the cake.

  • Sifter: Use a sifter to sift the cocoa powder and powdered sugar for the frosting.

  • Cooling rack: After baking, place the cake on a cooling rack to cool before frosting.

How To Properly Store and Freeze Homemade Chocolate Cake

  • Once the zucchini chocolate cake has cooled completely, you can store it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. It will keep well at room temperature for up to 3 days.

  • If you want to keep the cake fresh for a longer period, you can store it in the refrigerator. Place the cake in an airtight container or wrap it securely with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. It will stay fresh for up to 5-7 days in the fridge.

  • For longer storage, you can freeze the zucchini chocolate cake. Here's how:

    • Cut the cake into individual slices or portions.
    • Wrap each slice tightly with plastic wrap, making sure there are no air pockets.
    • Place the wrapped slices in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag, removing as much air as possible.
    • Label the container or bag with the date and contents.
    • Freeze for up to 2-3 months.
  • To thaw the frozen zucchini chocolate cake, remove the desired number of slices from the freezer and let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Alternatively, you can thaw the cake at room temperature for a couple of hours.

  • If you want to freeze the entire cake, it's best to do so before frosting it. Wrap the cooled cake tightly in plastic wrap, followed by aluminum foil, and place it in the freezer. When ready to serve, thaw the cake in the refrigerator overnight, then frost it as desired.

  • If the cake is already frosted, you can still freeze it, but the frosting may not look as smooth and perfect after thawing. To minimize damage to the frosting, freeze the cake uncovered for about an hour until the frosting hardens, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil before storing it in the freezer.

How To Reheat Leftover Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place a slice of zucchini chocolate cake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the cake is heated through and the frosting starts to melt slightly. This method will help restore the cake's texture and make the frosting gooey and delicious.

  • For a quicker option, place a slice of the cake on a microwave-safe plate. Heat it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds, or until warm. Be careful not to overheat the cake, as it may become rubbery. The microwave method is best for those who prefer a softer, more moist texture.

  • If you have an air fryer, you can use it to reheat your zucchini chocolate cake. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C) and place a slice of cake in the basket. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until heated through. This method will give you a crispy exterior and a soft, warm interior.

  • For a more indulgent treat, reheat a slice of the cake in a skillet with a dollop of butter. Melt the butter over medium heat and place the cake slice in the skillet. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until the cake is heated through and the edges are slightly crispy. The butter will add a rich, decadent flavor to the already delicious cake.

  • If you want to maintain the cake's moisture content, wrap a slice in aluminum foil before reheating it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C) and place the wrapped cake slice on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until heated through. The aluminum foil will help prevent the cake from drying out during the reheating process.

Surprising Fact About Chocolate Zucchini Cake

The zucchini chocolate cake recipe is a delightful way to incorporate vegetables into a sweet treat. This recipe cleverly uses grated zucchini to add moisture and texture to the cake, while the cocoa and buttermilk create a rich and indulgent flavor. The frosting, made with cocoa powder and powdered sugar, adds a decadent touch to the cake. This unique dessert is a great way to sneak in some extra veggies while satisfying your sweet tooth.

Is Making Chocolate Cake at Home Cost-Effective?

This zucchini chocolate cake recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. Zucchinis are affordable and readily available, making this a budget-friendly option. The use of basic pantry staples like flour, cocoa, and sugar keeps the cost low. The overall verdict rating for this recipe would be an 8. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people would be around $10-15, making it an economical choice for a delicious dessert option.

Is This Chocolate Cake Recipe Healthy or Not?

The zucchini chocolate cake recipe, while undeniably delicious, is not particularly healthy. The main concerns are:

  • High sugar content: With 1¾ cups of granulated sugar in the cake and 3½ cups of powdered sugar in the frosting, this recipe contains a significant amount of added sugars.
  • Butter overload: The cake and frosting combined use nearly 2 cups of butter, contributing to a high saturated fat content.
  • Refined flour: The recipe calls for all-purpose flour, which is a refined carbohydrate lacking in fiber and nutrients compared to whole grain alternatives.

Despite these drawbacks, the recipe does incorporate zucchini, which adds moisture, fiber, and some nutrients to the cake. However, the health benefits of the zucchini are overshadowed by the less wholesome ingredients.

To make this recipe healthier without compromising on taste, consider the following modifications:

  • Reduce the sugar in the cake by 25-50% and use a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup in the frosting
  • Replace half the butter with Greek yogurt or unsweetened applesauce to cut down on saturated fat
  • Swap half the all-purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour or almond flour for added fiber and nutrients
  • Increase the amount of zucchini to 3 cups for even more moisture and fiber
  • Use dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content for the frosting to boost antioxidants and reduce sugar

Editor's Opinion: Why You Should Try This Zucchini Chocolate Cake

This zucchini chocolate cake recipe is a delightful way to incorporate vegetables into a sweet treat. The combination of zucchini and cocoa creates a moist and rich cake, while the creamy frosting adds a decadent touch. The use of buttermilk and vanilla extract enhances the flavors, resulting in a well-balanced dessert. However, I would recommend adjusting the sugar quantity to suit individual preferences. Overall, this recipe offers a unique twist on traditional chocolate cake and is sure to impress with its unexpected ingredient.

Enhance Your Zucchini Chocolate Cake Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Asparagus: Try serving with a side of roasted asparagus drizzled with garlic and parmesan for a savory and flavorful contrast to the rich chocolate cake.
Honey Glazed Carrots: For a touch of sweetness, pair the zucchini chocolate cake with honey glazed carrots, adding a pop of color and natural sweetness to the dessert.
Berry Salad with Citrus Dressing: Create a refreshing and light side dish by serving a mixed berry salad with a citrus dressing, providing a refreshing and tangy accompaniment to the decadent chocolate cake.

Similar Recipes to Try If You Love Zucchini Chocolate Cake

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup: This creamy tomato basil soup is the perfect comfort food for a cozy night in. The combination of fresh tomatoes, basil, and cream creates a rich and flavorful soup that will warm you up from the inside out.
Grilled Lemon Garlic Salmon: Grilled lemon garlic salmon is a light and refreshing dish that is perfect for a summer barbecue. The tangy flavor of the lemon and the savory taste of the garlic complement the tender, flaky salmon perfectly.
Mango Coconut Popsicles: These mango coconut popsicles are a refreshing and healthy treat for a hot summer day. The sweet and tropical flavor of the mango pairs perfectly with the creamy coconut milk, creating a delicious frozen dessert.

Appetizers and Main Dishes to Serve with Zucchini Chocolate Cake

Stuffed Mushrooms: Delight your guests with savory stuffed mushrooms filled with a flavorful mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs. These bite-sized appetizers are the perfect way to kick off any meal.
Caprese Salad: Tantalize your taste buds with a refreshing Caprese salad featuring ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fragrant basil drizzled with balsamic glaze. This classic Italian dish is a light and delicious way to start your dining experience.
Main Courses:
Chicken Alfredo: Indulge in a creamy and rich pasta dish that combines tender chicken with a velvety Alfredo sauce. The flavors meld together perfectly for a comforting and satisfying meal.
Beef Stir Fry: Experience the bold and savory flavors of a beef stir fry, packed with tender strips of beef, crisp vegetables, and a flavorful sauce. This dish is a delightful balance of textures and tastes.

Why trust this Zucchini Chocolate Cake Recipe:

This zucchini chocolate cake recipe offers a delightful blend of rich chocolate and moist zucchini, creating a unique and indulgent dessert. The combination of cocoa and grated zucchini provides a healthier twist to a classic chocolate cake, adding depth of flavor and moisture. The inclusion of buttermilk and butter ensures a tender crumb, while the homemade chocolate frosting adds a luscious finish. With simple instructions and common pantry ingredients, this recipe promises a delectable treat that's perfect for any occasion. Trust in the harmonious marriage of zucchini and chocolate for a delightful and unexpected culinary experience.

Want to share your experience making this Zucchini Chocolate Cake Recipe or have any tips to enhance it further? Join our Baking and Desserts forum to discuss this delectable treat with fellow baking enthusiasts!
Can I use a different type of flour for this recipe?
Yes, you can use whole wheat flour or a gluten-free flour blend as a substitute for all-purpose flour. Just keep in mind that the texture and flavor of the cake may vary slightly.
Can I use a different type of milk for the frosting?
Absolutely! You can use almond milk, soy milk, or any other non-dairy milk as a substitute for regular milk in the frosting. The flavor and consistency may change slightly, but it will still be delicious.
Can I omit the zucchini from the cake?
While the zucchini adds moisture and a subtle flavor to the cake, you can omit it if you prefer. However, the texture and moisture level of the cake may be affected.
Can I make this cake ahead of time and freeze it?
Yes, you can definitely make the cake ahead of time and freeze it. Just be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it in an airtight container. When you’re ready to enjoy it, simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.
How long will the frosted cake last?
The frosted cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week. Just be sure to cover it to prevent it from drying out.

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