Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

August 2009 429

It’s moist, fudgy, and rich with chocolate flavor. The surprise is that it’s got two cups of zucchini in it, but you’d never know.  Many of the zucchini cakes out there on the blogosphere  and in cookbooks look more like quick breads than cakes, with a dense, heavy texture. This one is different. You could bake it in two round layers and serve it as a special celebration cake and everyone would think you’re a genius. It’s light and is really the texture of a delicious cake from a specialty bakery – only better because it’s homemade and it’s loaded with all those antioxidants from the chocolate and the zucchini.

Yes, chocolate cake that’s good for you. (Well, let’s not mention the sugar ok?) Zucchini are not only rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants. They’ve got beta-carotene, vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, potassium and phosphorus. And they’re a good source of fiber. So the next time your mom says “Eat more vegetables,” ask her to whip up this chocolate zucchini cake.

I got the recipe from “The Repressed Pastry Chef,” who adapted it from a recipe from the King Arthur Flour company. She changed it to include a chocolate ganache frosting and I did the same. Who could argue with cream and chocolate? Not I for sure. But there are those who would opt for a vanilla frosting, and we’ll forgive them their shortcomings if that’s what floats their boat (or frosts their cake, if we’re staying with the food metaphors.)

Start by grating the zucchini. I used a disc on my food processor made for such a purpose, but you could grate by hand on a cheese grater if you don’t have a food processor. Drain in a colander for an hour or so with a weight pressed down on the top.

August 2009 412

Then proceed as follows:

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

For a printer-friendly recipe click here

for the cake                                                                                                                                                                                                1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (4 ounces) sour cream or yogurt
2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup (2 1/4 ounce) Dutch-process cocoa
2 teaspoons espresso powder, optional but tasty
2 cups shredded zucchini (about one 10″ zucchini, about 12 ounces)
1/2 cup (3 ounces) chocolate chips

… for the icing
6 oz heavy cream
9 oz chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly coat a 9″ x 13″ pan with baking spray. (I used two square 8” pans instead and gave one away – but it would freeze nicely.)

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, oil, sugar, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Beat in the eggs.

Stir in the sour cream or yogurt alternately with the flour. Then add the cocoa and espresso powder, mixing till smooth. Finally, fold in the zucchini and 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake for 35 - 40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a rack.

To prepare the frosting, heat the heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate chips. Wait 3-5 minutes then stir to combine. It may take a few minutes of stirring for the ganache to come together… but it will.  It will thicken as it cools… when warm (but not hot) pour over cake and smooth with offset spatula. Allow frosting to set for about 30 minutes before serving… or not.


  1. I made the choc zucchini recipe from Gourmet magazine last nt, came out delicious and light, if you can believe it!
    I love zucchini bread and I love your icing!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Wow this looks delicious! I love the photo. It makes me want to reach through the computer screen and take a bite!

  4. Sounds delicious and perfect to make this in summer.

  5. I have always wanted to make something like this with zucchini, I just don't have the guts to bake! Your's looks awesome!

  6. Healthy chocolate cake. Count me in. And please extra chocolate for me.
    I've been thinking about all the eggplant you have. Have you made the eggplant ravioli that was featured this month in "La Cucina Italiana"? Yum! they would be nice with this cake

  7. i guess i've never tried zucchini cake for just the reason you mention -- they're usually more like quick breads. this chocolatey version looks awesome though.

  8. This looks delicious. I'll be making this for sure!

  9. I just posted this same recipe on my blog! Isn't it just delicious?! Your pictures are making me wish I still had some left....YUM!!


  10. You did a beautiful job! So glad you did the ganache on top :) :)

  11. Two of my favorite things - chocolate & zucchini - delicious! Looks so good!

  12. Linda, You're such a tease! Look at that icing! Would you bake for me?

  13. This is an awesome recipe. I present Dove Chocolate and will adapt this recipe to use our wonderful chocolate. The zuchinni is such a great ingredient as it makes the cake moist, chewy and "HEALTHY".

  14. Yum! It looks perfectly chocolatey!

  15. what a great looking cake. the recipe looks very nice. you would never guess it had zucchini in it!

  16. Beautiful, delicious, and...healthy? Well maybe not but I'm going to make this--maybe even this weekend. Great post!

  17. I love chocolate zucchini cake! The zucchini adds such a moistness, and you feel like you're being healthy at the same time...

  18. Oh my -- this looks divine! I'm going to link to it on my blog, if you don't mind. :o)

    P.S. Saw your link on Melissa D'Arabian's fan page on facebook; definitely glad I checked out your blog now! :P

  19. Gooey, sinful chocolate cake that's good for you! Who would have thunk? Well, it's good for you in my book. After all, zucchini is a vegetable. And vegetables are food for you. Ergo, my twisted logic.

  20. I made this tonight and it turned out more dense than cake-like. I hope I didn't add the wrong amount of flour :( It still tastes good, but not quite what I was expecting. May have to try it again sometime.

  21. Chocolate heaven! Must be super moist with the addition of zucchini! Ciao, Roz

  22. I will try this recipe as the regular one I use is about 80 years plus old! It is away from the home I am presently in; with that said, this recipe calls for 1/2 cup of wheat germ and 1 tblsp. maple syrup (the real thing), yum and the best recipe I have ever, ever had for a chocolate cake thanks to grand mother and even perhaps g. grandmother who was a Sioux Indian princess.

  23. These look so good. Love the zucchini addition. The dark gooey chocolate in these are undeniable! Wish I had some with a steamy cup of coffee!