The Best Chocolate Zucchini Cake
This is literally the best chocolate zucchini cake in the history of ever. So fluffy, so moist, so perfectly chocolatey. It’s amazing!
It is also the main reason I plant zucchini in my garden year after year.
Even when those zucchini squash grow to baseball bat-size proportions, they work for this best-ever cake (just peel off the tough skin, scrape out the seeds and finely shred the zucchini).
It Starts with Zucchini
Zucchini squash is absolutely necessary for the outcome of this cake.
So if you’re looking for a substitution, the only one I can suggest in good conscious is yellow squash. It can usually be interchanged with recipes that call for shredded zucchini.
This recipe calls for two cups of shredded zucchini. Finely shredding it gives the cake the best texture.
While many recipes call for squeezing out the liquid in shredded zucchini, it’s not necessary in this recipe unless you are using frozen, shredded zucchini. Once it is thawed, it will have quite a bit more liquid to it; drain that watery liquid off before using.
Straightforward Cake Batter
Other than the shredded zucchini, the ingredients for this cake batter are pantry and fridge staples.
The zucchini is mixed with the wet ingredients and then the dry ingredients are added.
Mix just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Kind of like a good muffin batter, you don’t want to over mix this cake batter much or else the cake crumb might not be as soft and fluffy.
Bake, Cool, Frost
The cake bakes up like a dream. Slightly puffed in the center and soft and tender throughout.
I don’t bother flipping the cake out of the pan or frosting it in any kind of elegant way, shape or form.
This is a casual, rustic cake. We’re here for the ultimate effect of zucchini on chocolate cake (read: it’s amazing) and not for any persnickety purposes.
Frosting for Chocolate Zucchini Cake
My favorite frosting adornment for this cake is a simple, lightly sweetened chocolate whipped cream. I literally just throw into a blender: heavy cream, a bit of powdered sugar, cocoa powder until it feels right, and a bit of vanilla. And then blend until thick and creamy.
The pillow chocolate whipped cream with the fluffy, moist, decadent cake is an amazing combination.
Of course you can also dig into the cake straight out of the pan, no frosting necessary. It almost feels kind of breakfast-y that way. And none of my eyes will judge you for it.
Or a classic chocolate frosting does quite well, also.
I know there are a million things you can do with your zucchini crop (not the least of which are these baked zucchini bites and of course my go-to zucchini bread), but seriously, this chocolate cake wins them all.
This cake recipe comes from my Aunt Marilyn. It is a tried-and-true family favorite and has been for years and years. Nothing can beat it.
I wait all year for zucchini season. Which I guess, in a way, could really just be renamed: chocolate zucchini cake season.
The Best Chocolate Zucchini Cake
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups (318 g) granulated sugar
- ¾ cup buttermilk (see note)
- ½ cup (113 g) melted coconut oil, avocado oil, canola oil or vegetable oil
- 2 cups (283 g) finely shredded zucchini
- 1 ½ cups (213 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (43 g) natural, unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch pan with cooking spray and set aside. I always use an aluminum/metal baking pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, sugar, buttermilk and oil.
- Stir in the shredded zucchini.
- Add the flour, cocoa powder, salt, soda and baking powder.
- Stir until just combined and no dry streaks remain.
- Spread the batter evenly in the pan and bake for 25-35 minutes until the top springs back lightly to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- Let cool completely.
- Serve with a dollop of lightly sweetened chocolate whipped cream (see note) or spread with chocolate frosting and cut into squares.
Recipe Source: adapted slightly from my Aunt Marilyn (I reduce the sugar from 2 cups to 1 1/2 cups, as well as reducing the oil a bit, and use buttermilk instead of milk)
178 Comments on “The Best Chocolate Zucchini Cake”
Delicious chocolate cake.
Yes I’ve made it several times and it’s always a big hit!! The kids don’t know that there’s zucchini in it, and always ask for more! It is moist and chocolatey
we just can’t get enough of this cake! ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Hi! Do you think this could be made into a layer cake – both in terms of texture and size? Thanks!
For quantity, yes, I think it would work in two 8-inch round pans. It has a softer texture than some other chocolate cakes, but I think it should hold up ok if the frosting is light.
So delicious as plenty have said before. I made it into cupcakes instead and it made 24. The chocolate whipped cream as suggested was the PERFECT addition. The bittersweet of the whipped cream (I used dutch cocoa) was just perfect with the sweet of the cake. Next time I might reduce the sugar in the cake just a smidge, though it’s not overly sweet as written. You win again Mel. You always win!
This cake is amazingly delicious!! I added your chocolate frosting to it which just made it that much better. Every bite we took was followed by a “oh my goodness this is sooo good” or “will you make this again”. Thank you for another wonderful recipe!
Hands down the best chocolate cake ever!
Delicious! This cake was everything you promised it would be. Thanks for another great recipe.
I made this cake today for my kids and my parents with one of my moms monster zucchini’s from her garden! It was DELICIOUS!!! We all loved it! Came out perfectly! I even made your whipped cream frosting to go on top- the perfect touch! Great recipe! Thank you !!! I just love your site and tell everyone about it We can’t wait to try your zucchini brownie recipe next!
So moist and delicious! Rave reviews.
So glad I found this recipe. It’s definitely a keeper just as others have said. I also, only used 3/4 sugar as a previous person commented. FYI I used only 2 eggs and it turned out great.
I made this with a delicious, light chocolate buttercream, and it was the perfect combo. This is my new favorite way of making zucchini!
I made this cake dairy and gluten-free for my SIL and it turned out AMAZING! I actually made the regular recipe and a small cake for her and they tasted exactly the same! I just used almond milk and vinegar to make dairy-free buttermilk and a gluten-free flour blend (King Arthur Flour). Turned out SO GOOD! Favorite cake!
Good gracious this is a winner! I’ll be making it again and again. I used 3/4 cup sugar and found it just sweet enough for my family. Thank you Mel!
I am ready to make this! But I have been wondering why you said you always use a metal/aluminum baking pan instead of glass?
Hi Marisa, I’ve found that aluminum/metal baking pans bake much more evenly than glass pans.
SO delicious and moist!!! I will definitely make it again! I live 6,000 ft above sea level and didn’t change a thing and it was perfect! My kids didn’t even know there was zucchini in it. 😉
Oh and the chocolate whipped cream was a game changer. WOW!
Perfect texture and taste! Amazing!
This is also a go-to favorite at our house! We do sprinkle chocolate chips over the top before baking. And our favorite topping is a scoop of vanilla ice cream, with a simple mountain huckleberry sauce drizzled over it all. Double-yum!!!!
You had me at huckleberries. YUM!
This cake was a thumbs up! However, I used the unsweetened cocoa powder for the chocolate whipped cream and didn’t love it. I bet the Dutch-process would taste much better. My cream was too bitter, so I probably added almost another 1/3 cup of powdered sugar and liked that. Thanks for the recipe!
Do I peel the zucchini first?
No, you don’t need to peel the zucchini.
THE BEST!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!
This was absolutely beautiful…one of the best chocolate cakes EVER!! What’s so great is that it’s not only a breeze to prepare, but so delicious as well! My family LOVED the chocolate whipped cream.. lucious!
Thank you Mel for another big score from your collection❣️. P.S. Not sure why so many had issues with the cake & recipe, it’s practically infallible!
Very moist, very tasty! Doesn’t even need frosting (though yours sounds delicious).
I made this into a bundt cake and topped it with chocolate ganache. Holy cow. It was the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had. Super moist and chocolatey and completely delicious.
I love this cake! Could it be baked in cupcakes? My son REALLY wants cupcakes for his birthday.
I haven’t tried it, but others have tried it in the comments with good results.
Thank you for sharing this very delicious recipe We’ve replaced it as a new family favorite. However We’d love to add chocolate chips. Have you had success adding semi-sweet chocolate chips? How many?
I haven’t, but I bet it would work great! I’d suggest tossing the chocolate chips in with the dry ingredients first to help prevent them sinking to the bottom while baking. Maybe start with 1 or 1 1/2 cups and see how that goes!
Hey there. I see many of your recipes have granulated sugar, so would you mind sharing a couple of other choices in lieu of the sugar please? I love your recipes but I’m helping my 8 year get healthy.
You could experiment with other sugars like honey or monk fruit sugar or stevia. I can’t offer much advice as I don’t use those as substitutes for granulated sugar.
This recipe is incredible. I took my overgrown zucchini from greenhouse to oven within an hour. Thanks Aunt Marilyn for the bundt cake timing. It was perfect at 45 minutes. I live in Canada at 3000 ft above sea level with a very wonky electric oven. This was the most amazing cake I have ever made. Thank you!
So happy to hear that, Katherine – thank you!
Warning – this cake is dangerously delicious. Four of us devoured an entire cake in less than a day, and then we did the same thing 2 days later when we baked another cake.
A few of my kids couldn’t handle the texture so for the second one I used the food processor to shred and then to chop. The resulting tiny bits changed the texture enough to win one more kid over. Which means less for me, but that’s probably a good thing.
My cocoa and flour lumped terribly when I put it in my wet mixture.
It turned out terribly (like chuck in the trash terrible)
What did I do wrong 🙁
Does it matter if I use Dutch processed cocoa or regular natural cocoa? I read that Dutch processed doesn’t react with baking soda and so might not rise.
The rise might not be quite as high but I often sub Dutch process for natural unsweetened and in most cases it works ok (you might decrease the baking soda to 1/2 teaspoon and increase the baking powder to 1 teaspoon).
If you make a day before you serve, do you need to refrigerate?
You can…or it’s fine covered at cool room temp, too,
I notice in this recipe and your best chocolate cake (which I LOVE!) that you use a neutral oil instead of butter. Do you know if there is a particular reason these recipes need that or if butter works just as well?
It really depends on the cake. Sometimes a cake recipe (with the makeup of other ingredients) needs oil for a more moist cake. You can always try subbing melted butter, but it may not have the same texture.
Made this tonight, exactly as noted in the recipe. I used frozen zucchini and just drained it really well. I also used almond milk in my “buttermilk”. used a 9×13 glass pan. I didn’t frost it but did sprinkle chocolate chips on top before baking.
It turned out perfectly. It’s delicious.
Hi Mel, could you make and freeze this cake? I want to make this in advance for my daughters birthday then cut into shapes and decorate on the day, do u think it would still taste the same defrosted?
The taste should still be great! I have noticed the top of the cake gets a little softer/more moist and kind of sticky after freezing so keep that in mind.
Absolutely delicious! Served it to my Bridge group today and everyone loved it. I didn’t have a 9 x 13 pan so baked it in a square pan 9 x 9. It took about 50 minutes to bake and was wonderfully moist.
Delicious! Made it for a dinner party, served with fresh blueberries and the chocolate whipped cream on top. (I added 2 Tbsp of chocolate liqueur to the whipped cream instead of the vanilla). Everyone raved about how moist and chocolatey it was!! The kids had no idea there was a vegetable in it, and they all begged for seconds! This is a keeper.
I’m making this today again for Labor Day festivities. It’s a great cake. I always squeeze a little water out of the zucchini just in my hands over the sink. Anyway, this cake is the best and always a hit. I think I get more requests for this recipe than any other I make during the summer.
I’m making this today again for Labor Day festivities. It’s a great cake. I always squeeze a little water out of the zucchini just in my hands over the sink. Anyway, this cake is the best and always a hit. I think I get more requests for this recipe than any other I make during the summer.
Was just talking to a friend last night about this cake. She’s made it 3-4 times and told me how much she loved it. We laughed when I told her it is my favorite cake to. Best recipe!
This is good cake, but very wet on the bottom. I went back to review the recipe and noticed the ingredient list did not include buttermilk, but when you click “make it” buttermilk is listed. i did use the butter milk.So probably making the cake without the milk would result in a drier cake. Just an observation.
I’m a little confused, Betty – I see buttermilk in the ingredient list right below the sugar.
Mel, on my reader there is 1 page with the list of ingredients where the buttermilk is not listed. When I click on make it, it goes to another page where there is buttermilk. I’m confused by this. Should there be buttermilk or no?
Yes, there is buttermilk. It is listed in the ingredients of the recipe on all devices that I’ve tested it on.
This was a total flop for me. I am always baking zucchini cake recipes and decided to try something that didn’t have chocolate chips….. OMG it was gummy and horrible. I baked it longer like for 45-50 minutes cuz it seemed raw at 35 minutes. Have no idea why except I thought the flour should have been 2 and half cups not 1 and a half cups??? Wonder where it went wrong for me….. we laughed because I have never had a cake fail……. I followed recipe to a T . with freshly grated zucchini.
Hey Brenda – how finely or coarsely grated was your zucchini? I’ve found that the larger the zucchini shreds/pieces, the more gummy the baked zucchini good will be. The 1 1/2 cups flour is correct; not sure why yours turned out so gummy. Darn! I just made this recipe this last weekend as cupcakes and they were light and fluffy, so I’m not sure what went wrong for you.
this cake was a horrible gummy mess even after being baked twice as long as recommended.
So disappointing after all the rave reviews.
Sorry to hear that, Jean – depending on what variety of zucchini you used (or if it has a lot of seeds), you might need to squeeze out extra water. That might help? I’ve made it dozens of times without the gumminess issue so I’m thinking it must be due to how we are each treating the zucchini (or what type of zucchini we are using). Were your zucchini really large or on the smaller side?
Mine was gummy and my flour lumped it was terrible. And Ive never had a cake flop.
The instant the four and cocoa went in it was lump city.
I tried breaking it them up with my fingers (what a mess)
Double checked the recipe did it all as mentioned.
Thought maybe it will bake up ok…
It was a gooey gummy mess
Sorry this didn’t work out for you, Carina. What type of flour did you use?
I made this yesterday and cake baked up nicely but cocoa was too much. Gave these a bitter taste. I used good old Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder. It’s like it needed more sugar to counter the cocoa?
I split the recipe into 2 loaf tins. It tasted great but was about 1/2 the height of the tin. Any suggestion on how I should have adjusted the recipe to loaves?…ie more b. powder or b. soda?
How big were the pans, Sandi? 9X5 or 8 1/2 X 4 1/2? I’ve never made this cake into loaves so I’m not entirely sure, but it sounds like you may not need to split it into two pans if it only baked up to 1/2 the height.
They are 9X5. I wonder if they would cook properly?? Adding more b soda or b powder won’t help? I like to give them away and loaves are easier than one large cake. I just looked at the cake picture and my loaves were close to the same height. I’m going to try them again…they taste fabulous and are so moist.
Would this be good with German chocolate cake topping?
Sounds like a delicious idea!
Sorry – meant to leave five stars. This is truly a five star recipe!!!
So delicious, and a great way to use up a big garden zucchini! I subbed about 1/3 kamut flour for all purpose and baked them in my donut pan for abt 12 min (it filled my 20 donut pan w a little leftover for 2 mini cakes in ramekins) and topped w ganache. So good! None of the kids or husband guessed the mystery vegetable ingredient 🙂
Oh my. This cake. So good. I thought it was pretty fantastic on day one but day two was ridiculous. I will make this again and again and again. My new favourite zucchini recipe of all time. Thank you!
OMG, this is the best cake ever. First of all, this is the first cake I have ever made from scratch and second, it’s the best cake ever. 🙂
I didn’t frost, you don’t need to but I did add a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Hey it’s got zucchini in it, it all balences out health wise. 🙂
I made this doubling the recipe for a 2-layer cake. YUM! So moist and delicious. I even used whole wheat flour and it got rave reviews.
I frosted the cake with my own salted walnut butter cream. I also cut down the sugar in the cake because I don’t like too sweet of a cake. The balance of frosting sweetness to cake slightly sweet was delicious. So good!
I will definitely be making this recipe again!
I used sour cream instead of buttermilk (cause I didn’t have that or regular milk) and only used a cup of sugar and the coconut oil and it was still delicious! Thanks for the recipe!
Could I substitute almond milk for the buttermilk? My son a a dairy allergy.
I’m not sure, Lianne – I haven’t tried it, but I think it might work!
I often replace dairy milk for almond or cashew milk. With things that thicken like pudding just add less
This is a very moist cake. The recipe is very forgiving. I think you can change any part of it to suit your needs. As it says though, don’t squeeze out the juice from the zucchini.
Delicious and such a simple easy to follow recipe. Definitely a keeper. Thank you!
I’ve been following your website for oh so long and love just about everything I try. I have made this cake before in a 13×9 and we just loved it. I’d like to make it again for my daughter’s birthday cake but would like to make it in 2 round pans and then layer them with frosting in between. Do you think this is a good recipe for that?
I haven’t tried that, but I think it would bake up quite well in round pans. Good luck!
I did this but needed to double the recipe. Worked very well.
This recipe is delicious. I didn’t have any vanilla the first time I made it so I put Kahlua liquor instead. It’s now a must. It stays moist and tasty for at least 5 days if it lasts that long. A huge hit with everyone at my work, with my friends and family. I think my sister’s boss brings her zucchini just so I will make this and send him in some.
I added a Tbsp of espresso powder and made mini muffins with them. I piped on cream cheese icing and sprinkled with chocolate shavings and they were absolute amazing. My This recipe is dynamite! I am certainly going to try more of your recipes 🙂
Thanks, Lori! Glad you loved this recipe – thanks for detailing your changes!
Oh my word!!!!This is the best chocolate anything I ever ate! I’m in love!!! After the first delicious pan i’ve done some tweaking and have gotten to replacing all oil with apple sauce, and using 1 cup of whole wheat flour with 1/2 of a flour. Now I feel a bit better about how quickly we go through a pan
Over the top delicious especially with the Chocolate frosting. All came together quickly. I drained the zucchini out of habit and was still ok. I also used whole wheat pastry flour.
I was short a few ounces on powdered sugar when making the icing but was still thick creamy and delicious— died and gone to heaven delicious
Hi Mel, I made this in a bundt pan, it baked perfectly in 45 mins.
It was moist, delicious, and my little one who hates all things vegetable… gobbled it right up (not knowing there was zucchini in it). I’m not normally a ‘sweet’ person (I just love baking not eating it), and I couldn’t resist a few BIG bites of this cake. It was perfect!
Thank you so much for sharing all of your amazing recipes! You make me look like a rock-star in the kitchen. Forever grateful for finding your blog! 🙂
So happy to know this worked well for you in a bundt pan! Thanks, Grace!
I made it the first time and it was delicious the second time I made it I decided to use palm sugar instead of granulated sugar with the coconut oil added also about a fourth of a cup of coconut to the cake batter and then use cream cheese icing with toasted coconut and pecans. Both recipes came out terrifically wonderful delicious
I don’t prefer chocolate cake, nor does my husband but my 6 year old asked me to make him some so I did. This is the best chocolate cake I have tried to date. The texture is just right. It is moist and does not get gummy when you chew it. It also does not stick to your palate. Very enjoyable. I did not have buttermilk or milk to sour so I used organic non GMO soy milk. I also ran out of coconut oil so I had to use butter instead. Just to mix things up a bit I also used 1 cup of white flour, 1/4 cup whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup almond flour and reduced the sugar to 1 cup from 1 1/2. I cut some up and froze it for once a week school snacks. It’s probably healthier than some other snacks kids eat with the high iron from the cocoa and fibre from the flours and zucchini. Thanks for sharing this recipe.
I made this today, hoping to serve it for a family get together tonight. But it was so tasty, that the small group that was here this afternoon ate it right up! We added some semi sweet chocolate chips, and tested it with powdered sugar. Thanks for a perfect recipe!
I made this cake as written when it was first posted and it was awesome! I made it again yesterday and substituted all white whole wheat flour and upped the sugar to 2 cups. It was outstanding again–so moist, and I do admit, I loved the extra bit of sweetness, especially with the wheat flour. So delicious!
This turned out fantastic. My husband and son were VERY impressed. I used an aluminum pans and had to bake for an extra 10-ish minutes. I might suggest baking at 325° for longer than instructed to allow the inside to cook. I used fresh zucchini and didn’t drain, as suggested in the original recipe. I added a thin layer of simple, lightly sweetened fudge icing. Definitely a keeper!!!
Is there a way to make this gluten free by using your quinoa method in your other chocolate cake recipe?
That’s a great question – I’ve never tried it with this cake so you’d have to experiment. Good luck if you do!
I made this cake gluten-free and it was a hit! Thank you for sharing.
how did you make it gluten free?
It truly was the best. We topped it with dark chocolate chips which made it a real treat.
Hi Mel, I’ve followed your blog for a while and made some good things – thank you!
I decided to play fast and loose with your recipe – so I don’t deserve any sympathy – but any baking troubleshooting hints would be appreciated. For a start, I had a huge marrow to use – not at all wet, nice and fresh, probably slightly immature. I peeled it and sliced it thinly on a mandolin. I used half the sugar stated because I don’t like things too sweet. And the taste of the mixture pre-baking was really nice. I didn’t have a pan the same size as yours, so I improvised with a 7in. Springform . It may have been a little full. I cooked it for at least 45mins and it was springy and the skewer came out clean. It smelt great and I was longing to cut into it. I thought it would be a bit like a very fat brownie. In fact, the marrow didn’t break down too well, and the top half cooked fairly well but the lower half is heavy and doughy. I’ve cut it horizontally into two and it’s now a cake of two halves.
I’m inclined to blame the tin, the oven and (possibly) the low amount of sugar – oh and the dryness of the marrow maybe. And myself,
Anyway, you’ve sent me on a learning curve. And the mixture does taste lovely! I will probably repurpose some of it as a chocolate trifle!
Thanks again, your thoroughness and precision is appreciated (I must try to emulate it!)
Sorry this didn’t work out, Gill. Like you mentioned, I think the end result may be due mostly to the squash and the reduced sugar. Also baking in a different size pan may make the baked cake dry if it had to cook longer to compensate for a thicker cake. Hope you try it again!
Mel – whoever said this gets better after 2-3 days was so right! We are happily scoffing it down now – so anyone else who thinks theirs has all gone wrong, just wait a few days and try it again. Really good, moist (no longer rubbery and I don’t know why I was fussing about bits of unabsorbed marrow and the sweetness just right for us, and the chocolateyness). It also nicely used up some of that blinking marrow which is still taking up a lot of fridge space. Oh and I cooked the Italian rolls (using Biga) as well – also v popular, cheers, Mel (oh and am getting to grips with cup measures, although thank you for the ounce conversions – trans Atlantic problem!)
can you use butter instead of iol
Could definitely try!
Yum! My opinion is that this cake tastes even better the 2nd and 3rd day after making! I used coconut oil. One thing I will comment on is that the consistency of my batter was like water. It was SO runny. The only thing I can think of is that my zucchini had been picked 3 minutes before I made the cake, so it was probably extra juicy compared to one that had sat a bit. I should have went with my gut and squeezed it just a bit. I figured, no big deal, I’ll just add a little extra flour. I added enough to thicken up the batter just a bit. It was still quite thin, but it baked up great. And that chocolate whipped cream….oh my. A winner for sure!
Oh yes, and I did bake mine in a Bundt pan, and it was perfect in 35 minutes.
I love this recipe! I would love to figure out the ratios to make this a sheet cake. I doubled it, but had a lot leftover.
I love this recipe, it is so easy and delicous. THANKS MEL!!
Omitted the salt (as am cutting back), and everyone in the household felt the end cake tasted very salty. Disappointing.
Wow, LOVED this cake! Served it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!!
I can’t stop eating this!! Yum!!!
This cake is delicious!
I have made this twice now and brought it to the Koch’s last weekend. Paul said after tasting it, “This has zucchini in it?!” I call it a win. I wanted a more stable whipped chocolate frosting so I took one package of instant chocolate pudding mix whisked in one cup of milk and then folded in a small tub of cool whip. The cake had to travel 7 hours in the cooler so frosting stability was a must. It was awesome!
This cake is amazing!! I’ve made it 3 times in two weeks and that’s saying a lot for be to be baking like that in the summer at 8 months pregnant! Thanks for another great one!
Proud to say I made good use out of my 750 pound zucchini today! This is my dream recipe…one bowl (no mess) and NO DRAINING ZUCCHINI!!!!! Heck yes. Also, I was out of white flour and it turned out beautifully using whole wheat flour. Thanks Mel my Bell
Loved loved loved this cake!! I’ve been cooking from your blog for years and have countless of favorites. After getting back from our Montana vacation (born and raised in the Bozeman area) I had to come home and put together a birthday party for my daughter. I made this cake so the adults had a good yummy cake to eat that wasn’t covered in rainbow skittles. Everyone loved it and my kids actually ended up gobbling up this cake post birthday party. Thanks for all your great recipes that are a staple in our home!
I made this for my mom’s birthday cake and it was delightful. I used a Bundt pan and the cocoa whipped cream was excellent on top. (The chocolate flavour of that whipped cream reminded me exactly of my favourite chocolate ice cream.) The small amount of leftovers were just as moist. Just reading the comment above– I forgot to follow the 45-50 min instructions even though using a Bundt pan and took mine out at about 33 minutes and it was definitely done, so I agree with your comment to take it out sooner.
I am still harvesting zucchini so I made this cake last night to share with friends in a post-theater gathering. I used white whole wheat flour in the recipe and baked it in a Bundt pan in a convection oven. For sure it was done at 40 minutes and I wished I’d checked it sooner, at 35 – so keep an eye on it no matter what Aunt Marilyn says about time, to make sure it doesn’t dry out. Anyway, this turned out very nicely (although not as moist as your pics show) and the cocoa whipped cream was a perfect touch. Everyone enjoyed it. I also enjoyed it (sans icing) for breakfast today. I like it better than the choc-zucc. cookies Mel!
Does this work as cupcakes?
I haven’t tried it but you could certainly experiment!
Hey! Did you try making this into cupcakes?
I haven’t yet!
My kids loved this cake, even the zucchini hater of the family. I served it with regular whipped creme since I had some on hand. It was delicious. We all loved it warm the best.
Hi Mel, I wanted to double check on the vanilla. Is 1 tablespoon correct? It seems like a lot for one cake.
Yep, the 1 tablespoon is correct.
Mel, I’m always looking for the best recipes and just when I think I have one after trying different ones several times I check your site and there it is…AGAIN!! I’m just going to your site first from now on. This zucchini cake was INSANE! It is everything you said t would be and more. The whipped topping was DANGEROUS. I could eat a bowl of it. And so simple and quick to make. Thank you thank you thank you!!
I love your recipes and always check your site when I have a question! I’m wanting to make a chocolate whipped cream for an ice cream cake I’m making and I remembered seeing one here. Now I see two — the one described in this recipe, and the one on the quinoa chocolate cake that uses chocolate chips with the whipping cream. Do you have a preference? Are the results similar? This one seems easier, but I do love melted chocolate and cream in all it’s forms (never tried it as whipped cream, but it makes a sweet ganache, fondue, or fudge sauce). Thanks!
I think this whipped chocolate cream is a bit less fussy than the other one – and equally as delicious!
Thanks! I’m sure it will not disappoint.
Is it possible to omit the cocoa powder for the cake?
No, I’m afraid not.
Delicious!! Delicious alone, delicious with the whipped cream, delicious with the leftover rainbow chip frosting sitting in the refrigerator. Glad I could use up some of the zucchini abundance from the garden. How does one plant yield so much?!?
It’s my 20 year high school reunion this August too! Unbelievable! And I’m still having babies. AHH!
Anyway, this looks gorgeous! We moved last fall and much to my disdain I have nowhere for a good garden in my new yard. I gambled and planted in what seems to be garden boxes but they are all in the shade and hardly anything has come up! My garden looks like it thinks it is still June! Zucchini was a total gong show but thankfully my mom is bringing me some this weekend.
Incidentally, I haven’t worked too much with it before. By shredded zucchini, do you mean we should process or grate it? Can I use the food processor to grate or would that obliterate it?
Hey Tara, good question on the grating. I use the large holes of my box grater or the food processor. Either works great – do you have a large shredding disc for the food processor (as opposed to a disc that would shred it super fine)? If so, I’d use that one.
Congrats on 20 years. 🙂 And on still having babies!
This cake is just as you promised – DELICIOUS!!! I used my food processor with the grating disc and it was perfect. I cut the zucchini in smaller pieces to fit in the feeder tube. It was perfect and saved time grating by hand.
So when I “assigned” myself (cuz that’s how I roll) to bring a dessert to a church meeting tonight it was a given that I would probably be making one of your recipes. Well, I knew this cake would be a winner when I read this was The BEST Chocolate Zuchhini Cake and that it came from your Aunt Marilyn. That and the fact that I have a plethora of zucchini in my garden. It was only AFTER pulling the cake out of the oven that I realized I COMPLETELY FORGOT to add the buttermilk (way too much multitasking today). As I was about to ditch the batch and start over, I decided to taste it and discovered nothing but pure joy with morsels of chocolate zucchini cake dancing around in my mouth! Pretty sure it was the chocolate chips that I added to the batter that helped save my near baking failure. And while my “mistaken” version turned out surprisingly delicious, although probably not as moist as your version, I can’t wait to make it again with the buttermilk. As a side note, I made these into cupcakes using my Demarle square muffin mold and piled them with your chocolate whipped cream (another bomb.com recipe). Thanks for your never ending and amazing recipes. My sister and I refer to you so often and as if you lived next door that we have resorted to just saying it’s from “Mel’s”.
What?? That’s amazing it worked out without the buttermilk. You don’t even need me in your life! 🙂
Mmm, totally the best way to eat the humble zucchini! Thanks for another great recipe. Have a wonderful day.
This looks very similar to a recipe I make. But I add some cloves and cinnamon. I’ve also gotten all crazy and added some garam Marsala in place of the cloves and cinnamon. A delicious twist!
Hi! This is my first attempt at using zucchini in a dessert… Do I peel the zucchini first and then grate it? Thanks!
Hi Marcie – I never peel my zucchini before shredding. Hope that helps! 🙂
Thanks, Mel! I made the cake today and it turned out delicious! I’ve never had a recipe of yours turn out bad which is why I was willing to give this a try (even though I was worried about having a weird texture in the cake!). Thanks for always being so reliable with fantastic recipes! 🙂
Mel, I’m at work and I think I need to leave right now and go home and make this cake!! Thank you for sharing!!
Hi Mel – in all of the times you have made this cake, have you ever attempted a gluten free version? Could you suggest any substitutions for the regular flour? I find that baked goods that have moist ingredients (like zucchini, pumpkin, etc) make the best gluten free version! Thanks!
Hey Heather – I haven’t made this gluten-free, sorry! Do you use the cup4cup or better batter blends ever? I hope I didn’t slaughter the names of those. But I’m guessing that a substitution like that would work fine but I’m not sure.
Oh my MEL!!!! This was so so yummy!! My girls were VERY skeptical about the giant zucchini I was grating, but after one bite, they were all digging in with a fork! The chocolate buttercream frosting was so divine! I doubled the recipe (remember the giant zucchini 😉 ) and it fit in a jelly roll pan, plus a half jelly roll pan…so we’ve got LOTS of cake to eat for breakfast too! Thanks for sharing!!!
This looks amazing considering that I have a ton of zucchini to use! On a side note, do we get a recap of your Africa trip soon!? Looking forward to hearing about that!!
Yes! Next week! 🙂
I was just thinking the same thing!
This looks yum! Do you suggest storing the cake room temperature or do you like it stored in the fridge? I plan to use your chocolate whipped cream. I take it you would just dollop that on slices rather than spreading on full cake?
It’s delicious at room temp or chilled, in my opinion, and yes, I just dollop a big spoonful of whipped cream on each piece (kind of like strawberry shortcake).
Yep, were definitely making this one…TODAY!
Made this today. My whipping cream was spoiled so I made chocolate fudge frosting instead. We had company for dinner and everyone loved it, even my kids who don’t normally like cake. I subbed almond milk for buttermilk so I could make some dairy-free cupcakes, too, and it was so good!
This is delicious! I served it with the chocolate whipped cream that you suggested, and a few blueberries on top. I ran out of all purpose flour so subbed white whole wheat flour for half of it. Couldn’t even tell there was ww flour in it! Thanks for the recipe!!
The whipped chocolate frosting is delicious! If I made it more might end up in my mouth than on the cake 🙂
This counts as a serving of vegetable, right?
Yep, it’s in the oven. Will report results!
Omg! HEAVENLY CAKE and the Chocolate whipped cream was great with it!
Great timing! I made this cake this afternoon and frosted it with your chocolate frosting recipe (because it’s Monday and we need to get through the week somehow!). I took a sneak piece and it’s amazing!
I can’t think of anything better to do with zucchini! This looks delicious and I would rush to make it except I’m out of cocoa powder. Thanks for another great recipe!
This looks amazing! Can I ask where you’re from? I don’t know any other food bloggers from Montana! I’m from the Bitterroot 🙂
Hi Annie – I went to high school in Montana (Billings) but now I live in southwestern Idaho.
Hey Annie, I am not a food blogger (personal blog with some food because I LOVE to cook), but I live between Bigfork and Kalispell on 8 plus wooded acres with my dog and cat.
Not sure looking at your blog if you are still in Montana…
Sadly I’m not, I certainly wish I was though! I moved to the Midwest after grad school and have been here for a few years now. My mom and brother are still in western Montana so I get home to visit as often as I can. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to living without mountains!
Sounds like you have a beautiful spot! I love the Kalispell area.
I’m in Kalispell! Nice to know there are other Mel’s fans in the valley 🙂
Hee – we have a little virtual MKC fan club in Flathead Valley!
I DID make this cake and as promised, it is the BEST and comes together way to fast. I made a full recipe: half baked as cupcakes (12) and half in cast iron loaf pan.
Hey girls, I am from Anaconda. I live in WA now, but my heart will always be in Montana.
This looks perfect!! And I have the end of summer lack of motivation too. Lol but I could make and eat this warm and cold.
So your aunt’s recipe uses milk instead of buttermilk, and it works fine? What’s the advantage to using buttermilk?
Hey Amanda – I think it makes the cake more moist and tender.
I swear by this cake! I keep grated zucchini in my freezer just to be able to make it all year!
This looks amazing! Which frosting is used in your photos? The choclolate frosting or chocolate whipped cream? Thanks for posting these today…I have tons of zucchini to use!
This sounds like something I need to try, as I have massive amounts of zucchini to use. Also, the idea of making cakes to give away is the best idea yet.