Chocolate Zucchini Cake packs a triple chocolate punch with chocolate chips in a chocolate batter topped with chocolate frosting! It is chocolatey heaven!

A slice of Chocolate Zucchini Cake on a blue plate

I was a little skeptical about adding zucchini to baked goods, but once I tried it, I was sold! I love the moist chewiness zucchini brings to things like quick breads and this Chocolate Zucchini Cake!

Unlike the Chocolate Zucchini Cake Taste of Home puts out, this recipe packs in double the chocolate with cocoa and chocolate chips in the batter- not to mention chocolate frosting! If you’re looking for a tender, moist, super chocolatey cake that feeds a crowd- then this is the recipe for you!

A slice of Chocolate Zucchini Cake on a blue plate

Chocolate Zucchini Cake in a 9x13 baking dish

Recipe Notes for This Chocolate Cake :

Zucchini:  

The recipe calls for unpeeled zucchini. This should work with pretty much any zucchini that you buy or grow. However, if you discover that your zucchini has an incredibly tough skin—more like a melon than a gourd—you make want to consider peeling it. Again, this should only occur in rare, rare circumstances. Just give it a wash and cut off the ends. Grate with either a hand grater or a food processor.

This recipe is a great way to use up any zucchini you have leftover in your kitchen. In that case, the quality of the zucchini isn’t a huge deal, you get what you get. However, if I’m planning ahead and buying zucchini specifically for this recipe, I’ll usually buy two or three. This is because zucchini is a finicky vegetable. Sometimes it can be really moist, sometimes not. Cutting into the zucchini and discovering that it’s dry is a huge bummer—unless you have a few back-up zucchinis ready to go.

Baking: 

This recipe for chocolate zucchini cake has two awesome ingredients that contribute to the overall moist texture: zucchini and buttermilk. Because the cake is so moist, however, you need to be very careful not to underbake it. The overall cook time will vary depending on the type of pan you use. Just be careful that you don’t pull the cake out of the oven too soon! Rely on the good ole toothpick technique to assure doneness.

High-Altitude Baking:

Anybody who lives in high-altitude areas knows that baking can be tricky. I have a friend in Denver who tried this exact recipe, and it comes out perfectly! So when you’re loading up the van to spend a week in the mountains, don’t forget your zucchini!

Frosting: 

I’ve included a recipe for a rich chocolate buttercream frosting. This pairs wonderfully with the richness of the cake and makes for a really cohesive dish.

However, in terms of being healthy, chocolate zucchini cake with buttercream frosting might not be the best option.  I adore this frosting, and the zucchini in the cake is healthy enough for me and my family. But here are two alternatives to the buttercream frosting that will lower the overall calorie count:

1. Dust the cake with powdered sugar instead of frosting.

2. Serve the cake with a dollop of whipped cream instead of frosting.

Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake: 

One of my favorite ways to serve this recipe is as a Bundt cake. Really, it’s not much more complicated than pouring the cake batter into a Bundt pan. The only change in the process is that you’ll probably need to increase the bake time a little bit. I usually add five minutes to account for the depth of the Bundt pan (as opposed to something like a sheet pan). Make sure you use a nonstick cooking spray that contains flour so your cake doesn’t stick. I use  Pam Baking nonstick spray (not an endorsement).

Usually, I’ll drizzle a lighter glaze over top instead of using the full-on buttercream frosting when I make this dish as a Bundt cake.

Cocoa Powder: 

As with any recipe calling for cocoa powder, the quality of the cocoa powder determines a lot. If you buy the cheapest stuff in the store, the taste of the cake will reflect that. I usually try to find a middle-cost cocoa powder.

Can This Be Make Ahead Of Time:

My Chocolate Zucchini Cake with chocolate chips holds very well for several days. The zucchini keeps it moist. Just makes sure it is tightly covered and stored in a cool place. If you need more than a few days, consider freezing it!

How To You Freeze:

Just like freezing any baked treats, make sure that the cake is completely cool. You can freeze in the pan with several layers of cling wrap topped with a layer of foil. You can also freeze individual pieces. It is best to wrap each one individually in cling wrap and then place in a ziplock back. You can freeze frosted or unfrosted!

Other Variations:

For a delicious variation on this cake, try using dark chocolate cocoa powder. Dark chocolate zucchini cake is fantastic!

Walnuts are a nice alternative to the chocolate chips.  I love the slight crunch the walnuts provide, I’ll sometimes use other ingredients instead. For my nut-sensitive friends, I’ll replace the walnuts in the recipe with chocolate chips. Making a chocolate zucchini cake with chocolate chips is also great for birthday parties and kids.

Or, instead of chocolate chip zucchini cake, try a chocolate zucchini cake with peach halves. The peach halves pair really well with the rich, sweet cake.

To extend the recipe, I’ll pour the batter into a cupcake pan and make chocolate zucchini cupcakes. Just remember to shorten the cook time.

Making this chocolate zucchini cake gluten-free requires using your favorite flour substitute. I just use gluten-free flour.

Healthy Option:

This cake is already one step toward healthy with the fiber boost from the zucchini. If you want to increase the ‘healthy’ factor and make a super healthy Chocolate Zucchini Cake, you can experiment with sugar substitutes and applesauce in place of the oil to decrease the overall calorie and fat content. I’d love to hear if you try it!

More Of Our Best Chocolate Cake Recipes

Do you have a recipe you consider to be the Best Chocolate Cake Recipe? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Let’s compare notes. ♥

  • Triple Layer Chocolate Cake brings you three layers of delicious chocolate cake and frosting and is always a big hit.
  • Our Chocolate Sour Cream Cake has an incredibly moist texture that only sour cream can bring to the party. Almost ready to post live, please stay tuned! ♥
  • My Chocolate-chocolate Chip Cake Topped With Chocolate Ganache is my dad’s favorite (it starts with a cake mixe so its a snap to make!)! Its moist, chocolatey cake drizzled with a silky smooth ganache is sheer perfection.
  • One of my all time favorites, Quadruple Chocolate Poke Cake Aka Death By Chocolate Poke Cake, packs a major chocolate punch.
  • I think Poke Cakes are so much fun, and Chocolate Poke Cake is off the charts chocolatey! Easy to make because it starts with a mix. We just photographed it so it too will be live shortly!

SAVE THIS CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE

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Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Chocolate Zucchini Cake packs a triple chocolate punch with chocolate chips in a chocolate batter topped with chocolate frosting! It is chocolatey heaven!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 689 kcal
Author Kathleen

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 2 1/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 3/4 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, at Room Temperature
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Cup Buttermilk Well Shaken
  • 2 Cups Grated Zucchini Unpeeled
  • 1 Cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips

Frosting:

  • 3/4 Cup 1 1/2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, at Room Temperature
  • 3 Cups Confectioner's Sugar Sifted
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2-4 Tablespoons Whole Milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9 X 13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, mix together the granulated sugar, 1/2 cup butter, and oil until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in vanilla.  Mix in dry ingredients, alternately with buttermilk in 3 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan. Even top of the batter with a small offset spatula.
  4. Place baking pan in preheated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cooling completely.
  5. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat 3/4 cup butter until creamy. Add powdered sugar, and 1/2 cup cocoa together until well combined. Add 2 Tablespoons of milk and beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Add milk as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.

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Nutritional Information

Nutrition information will vary based on the specific products. To be safe, check the nutrition facts labels of your products. Optional object listed above have been left out of nutritional data.

Nutrition Facts
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Amount Per Serving (1 /12 of the recipe)
Calories 689 Calories from Fat 324
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 36g 55%
Saturated Fat 23g 115%
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 80mg 27%
Sodium 315mg 13%
Potassium 303mg 9%
Total Carbohydrates 90g 30%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 65g
Protein 6g 12%
Vitamin A 6.8%
Vitamin C 4.5%
Calcium 4.6%
Iron 18.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.