Chocolate Zucchini Cake

This decadent chocolate cake is hiding a healthy serving of zucchini, but you wouldn’t know it. It is moist, chocolatey and so delicious!

I think this zucchini recipe is my new favourite zucchini recipe! I mean, CHOCOLATE! This recipe is definitely for all my fellow chocolate lovers.

This cake is deliciously decadent. I mean, ultra chocolatey. BUT without all the fat of a traditional chocolate cake! I actually didn’t use any oil or butter for this cake at all. All the moisture comes from zucchini and apple sauce.

Chocolate cake is my weakness, but a chocolate cake that is actually pretty healthy? Now, we’re talking.

Slices of Chocolate Zucchini Cake topped with chocolate frosting.

There is still actual sugar in this cake, so it is still a treat. But all things considered, with all of the zucchini and healthy substitutes in this chocolate zucchini cake, I am pretty happy with the ingredients in this recipe and I think you will be too!

And if you don’t tell anyone there is zucchini in this cake, they wouldn’t even know. So, shhhh! Don’t even tell those picky eaters they are eating vegetables!

A chocolate frosted 9x9 inch chocolate zucchini cake on parchment paper.

Why you should make this Chocolate Zucchini Cake

  • It’s super easy to make!

  • It whips up in just 1 bowl.

  • It incorporates a good amount of zucchini but you can’t even taste it.

  • This recipe is a great way to sneak in more veggies (undetected).

  • This recipe uses up that zucchini you’ve been wondering what to do with.

  • Its delicious!
A chocolate zucchini cake cut into square slices on parchment paper.

Tips for making Chocolate Zucchini Cake

This cake is pretty simple and straight forward, but there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you get the best results.

  • Do not skip step 1! As much as it may be tempting to just shred the zucchini and toss it into the bowl, step 1 of this recipe encourages you to sprinkle the zucchini with salt and let it rest for 20 minutes before ringing out the excess water. This is important as it will remove some of the moisture from the cake so you don’t end up with a super wet batter.

  • Line your baking dish with parchment or grease it very well. There is nothing worse than putting in the work to bake up a delicious cake only to have it fall apart on you when it sticks to the baking pan. Parchment is your friend here. You can also grease the baking pan with butter, but I tend to go with parchment as it has never failed me.

  • Use your food processor. If you’ve got a food processor that you hardly use, its time to break it out of the cupboard! There is no easier way to shred zucchini than in a food processor. Of course, you can still use a hand grater if you want to, but personally, the food processor is my favourite appliance for reasons like this!

  • Do not overmix your batter. This is true for all baked goodies. You want to mix them up until everything is incorporated and then let it be.
Closeup of a slice of chocolate zucchini cake showing undetectable zucchini.

Ingredients in Chocolate Zucchini Cake

  • Zucchini: shredded zucchini is used in this cake. Before adding it to the batter, as much moisture as possible is squeezed out to ensure the batter does not get too wet.

  • Salt: sprinkled over the zucchini to help draw out moisture.

  • Flour: regular all purpose flour or whole wheat flour can be used in this cake.

  • Brown sugar: Can substitute regular sugar or a sugar substitute. I don’t recommend using liquid sweeteners such as maple syrup or honey as the moisture content will affect the texture of the cake.

  • Cocoa powder: Adds the chocolatey flavour to this cake!

  • Baking soda & baking powder: both baking soda and baking powder are used as leaveners in this recipe.

  • Eggs

  • Apple sauce: unsweetened apple sauce adds moisture to the cake. It takes the place of oil and butter in traditional cakes, producing a much healthier cake that is still moist and delicious.

  • Cinnamon and Vanilla extract: added flavour.

How to make Chocolate Zucchini Cake

  1. Prep the zucchini: Lay shredded zucchini out on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt. Let rest for 20 minutes, then place in a clean dish cloth or paper towel and squeeze out all the water.

  2. Prepare the baking pan: Preheat oven to 350 and line a 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper.

  3. Mix the dry ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, add all of the dry ingredients and whisk them together.

  4. Mix all of the ingredients together: Add the wet ingredients as well as the zucchini to the dry ingredients and mix to combine everything. The batter will be thick like a brownie batter.

  5. Bake: Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish and bake it for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

  6. Frost: To make frosting, mix melted butter and cocoa powder in a bowl. Add the vanilla, powdered sugar and milk and mix until well combined. If mixture is too thick, add more milk a teaspoon at a time. If it is too runny, add more powdered sugar. Frost cake!
Photo collage showing the steps for making a chocolate zucchini cake.

Slice and enjoy!

Square slices of chocolate zucchini cake with chocolate icing.

Can this cake be made vegan?

This cake is naturally dairy-free since it does not include any butter or milk in the batter. It does, however, include eggs.

I have not personally tried replacing the eggs with vegan substitutes but imagine it can be made, though it will likely result in a denser cake. Possible replacements for the egg should replace the moisture content they provide so adding more apple sauce may work. Once again, you may end up with a denser, brownie-like texture so keep that in mind.

If you do make the cake without eggs, I would love to hear how it turned out!

Storing this cake

If possible, it is best to bake this cake the day you intend to eat it. It will have the best texture the day it is baked and the day after. With time, the zucchini will release more moisture, making the cake more moist. If you have leftovers, you can still store them in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days.

Can you freeze this cake?

Yes, chocolate zucchini cake can be frozen. Once it is completely cooled, wrap the whole cake or individual slices in plastic food wrap first and then in foil. Place the cake in a freezer safe bag. These layers will help prevent freezer burn. Note: while you can freeze the frosting as well, if you are preparing this in advance, its best to freeze the cake without the frosting.

I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I do!

-Cathy

Closeup of a slice of chocolate cake topped with chocolate icing.

If you like this cake, you may also like:

Flourless Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cupcakes
Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Post updated on August 6, 2022 with new photographs and more information.

Slices of Chocolate Zucchini Cake topped with chocolate frosting.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Herbs and Flour
This decadent chocolate cake is hiding healthy zucchini, but you wouldn't know it.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16 servings
Calories 102 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups zucchini shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour all purpose or whole wheat
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Wet ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce unsweetened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the frosting

  • Note: NOT a healthy frosting. Feel free to use your own favourite frosting!
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Instructions
 

  • Lay shredded zucchini out on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt. Let rest for 20 minutes, then place in a clean dish cloth or paper towel and squeeze out all the water.
  • Preheat oven to 350 and line a 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add all of the dry ingredients and whisk them together.
  • Add the wet ingredients as well as the zucchini to the dry ingredients and mix to combine everything. The batter will be thick like a brownie batter.
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish and bake it for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
  • To make frosting, mix melted butter and cocoa powder in a bowl. Add the vanilla, powdered sugar and milk and mix until well combined. If mixture is too thick, add more milk a teaspoon at a time. If it is too runny, add more powdered sugar.
  • Frost cake and enjoy!

Notes

The nutritional information is an estimate and does not include the frosting.

Nutrition

Calories: 102kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 2gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.4gTrans Fat: 0.003gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 251mgPotassium: 113mgFiber: 1gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 59IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 37mgIron: 1mg
Keyword cake, chocolate, chocolate cake, dairy free, zucchini
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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