Chocolate zucchini cake may be the most decadent dish you can make with a green vegetable! This eye-catching Bundt cake has deep, rich chocolate flavor from both cocoa powder and melted chocolate. While you may not be able to taste the zucchini, it is the secret ingredient that makes this cake extra moist.
Does the combination of chocolate and zucchini sound odd to you? If so, I understand. Chocolate goes well with many fruits – oranges, raspberries, and strawberries come immediately to mind – but chocolate is not usually paired with vegetables. In this case, however, chocolate and zucchini work beautifully together in this exceptionally moist and fudgy cake.
Why put zucchini in a cake? Well, there are a few reasons. First, there comes a point every summer when gardeners are overwhelmed with zucchini. We make every zucchini recipe we know and give some away to neighbors and friends, but there is still So. Much. Zucchini. This cake uses 3 whole cups of shredded zucchini, which is about 2 medium squash, so it is a great way to use up extra zucchini in an unexpected way.
Another reason to use zucchini in a chocolate cake? Well, it does add some nutrition to an otherwise pretty indulgent dessert. So perhaps the zucchini makes people feel better about going back for that second slice?
Lastly, and perhaps most important, the zucchini does have a role to play in this cake even if you can’t taste it. Zucchini is naturally full of water and as a result, it adds a lot of moisture to the cake. Cocoa powder, in particular, is notorious for making baked goods dry. Here, the zucchini combats that dryness giving this cake its perfectly tender and moist texture.
One other secret ingredient in this cake is espresso powder. It’s optional and you definitely can make the cake very successfully without it. But, if you love chocolate and make a lot of baked goods with chocolate, I highly recommend picking up a jar of espresso powder.
Espresso powder, when used in small quantities like a teaspoon or two, does not make chocolate cakes and sauces taste like coffee; rather it simply deepens and enriches the chocolate flavor. Espresso powder can be hard to find in stores, but you can order it easily online (here). One jar will last for ages and you will notice a difference in your chocolate baked goods.
I like to glaze this zucchini cake with a rich chocolate ganache to add even more chocolate flavor. But it also is delicious – and beautiful to look at – with just a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
When you offer unsuspecting guests a slice of this moist, fudgy cake and don’t tell them that it has zucchini in it, they will never know! No one can taste the zucchini, but it is actually is the secret to this cake’s incredible texture. Just be sure you check for food allergies before serving!
So if you are ready to turn a green vegetable into dessert, then Chocolate Zucchini Cake is the recipe for you!Print
- 3 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
- 2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup natural cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. espresso powder (optional)
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream (may substitute plain Greek yogurt)
- 3 cups grated zucchini (typically two medium zucchini)
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 8 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 350℉. Grease and flour the inside of a Bundt pan or spray with nonstick baking spray.
- Melt the unsweetened chocolate in a small saucepan over very low heat. Set the melted chocolate aside and allow to cool while you prepare the rest of the cake.
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder (if using), cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Mix the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer using the paddle attachment on medium speed until light and thick, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in the oil. Continue to mix until the batter is thick and bright yellow, about 2 minutes.
- Add the melted chocolate, vanilla, and sour cream and mix just until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed, scraping down the sides as necessary, just until the flour disappears.
- Fold in the shredded zucchini and chocolate chips by hand, making sure that they are thoroughly incorporated. Ladle the batter into the Bundt pan and smooth the top.
- Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the Bundt pan to a wire rack and allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, place the cooling rack on top of the pan and flip it over. Tap on the pan to release the cake. Allow the cake to cool completely before glazing. (If you prefer, feel free to skip the chocolate ganache and dust the finished cake with powdered sugar.)
- To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Bring the cream just to a boil and pour it over the chocolate. Allow the heat of the cream to melt the chocolate, then whisk together. Allow the ganache to cool for a few minutes, but not so long that it becomes thick and will not pour.
- To glaze the cake, drizzle the ganache on the top of the cake, letting some run down the sides. Serve right away.