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Soft and moist chocolate zucchini cake is deliciously sweet. You’d never guess it’s filled with grated zucchini!

Zucchini is a surprisingly delicious addition to a classic Chocolate Cake recipe, and it adds the perfect amount of moisture. This chocolate zucchini cake is just as moist as our Sour Cream Chocolate Cake!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake sliced into a square and topped with chocolate frosting.

chocolate Cake + Zucchini

Now that summer is coming to a close, zucchini is abundant and recipes have been popping up everywhere. Instead of using it in my favorite bread, I decided to grate some up and use it in this incredible chocolate zucchini cake. It’s the BEST!

No one will ever guess that there’s zucchini in this cake! It practically disappears into thin air when baked.

Instead of using a full-size cookie sheet to bake the batter in, I opted for a 9×13-inch pan. That way it comes out nice and thick. If you love chocolate cake, you will love this!

Adding grated zucchini to chocolate batter in a mint bowl.

How to make chocolate Zucchini Cake

This chocolate zucchini cake recipe is simple and packed with chocolate flavor!

PREP. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking pan.

BATTER. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Create a well or nest in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the melted butter, buttermilk, vanilla extract, and eggs.

Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon stir for 10 seconds, then fold in the grated zucchini. Continue mixing until no flour pockets remain.

BAKE. Place into prepared baking pan. Bake for 25-28 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

FROSTING. Meanwhile, to make the frosting, in a medium saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the milk and sifted cocoa powder. Stir to combine, then remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract and the sifted powdered sugar.

Spread over the slightly warm cake. Allow to cool and set for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Recipe Tips

Make the best chocolate zucchini cake with these simple tips!

Zucchini. No need to peel the zucchini before shredding it. Just wash and dry it. Shred the zucchini with the smaller grate. The finer shredded zucchini will have a less noticeable texture in the cake.

Batter. Don’t forget to sift the cocoa and sugar as they have a tendency to clump. To avoid overmixing don’t use an electric mixer. Mixing this cake by hand will produce a softer moist crumb.

Buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand you can make your own using milk and lemon juice.

Additions. You can add chocolate chips or chopped nuts directly to the cake batter or sprinkle it on top of the frosting.

Easy clean up. Lining your cake pan with parchment paper can help keep the cake from sticking for easy removal.

Baking pans. Easily cook this up in different pans. Since different ovens can cook a little differently start checking 5 minutes before the suggested end time. Insert a toothpick if it comes out clean, then it’s done.

  • Cupcakes: 350°F bake for 18-22 minutes
  • Two 9” round pans: 350°F bake for 25-32 minutes
  • Sheet cake pan: 350°F for 28-30 minutes
  • Bundt cake pan: 350°F for 50-55 minutes
Pouring chocolate frosting on top of a baked chocolate cake.

Storing Info

STORE. Always store a cool cake. Warm cakes will continue to steam and the extra moisture can cause the cake to get soggy.

  • Counter: Cover leftover chocolate cake with zucchini and store it at room temperature for 3-4 days.
  • Fridge: Cover and store in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
  • Freezer: Wrap the cake whole, or sliced, with plastic wrap then again with aluminum foil. If it has frosting flash freeze first. Label and freeze for 2-3 months. Thaw before serving.
A close up of a slice of chocolate zucchini cake topped with chocolate frosting.

Recipe FAQ

Can I use frozen shredded zucchini to make chocolate zucchini cake?

Absolutely! Freezing your vegetables is a great way to preserve them to use later. Shredded zucchini can last in the freezer for 3-4 months. Be sure to squeeze the liquid out before freezing it and after it has thawed.

Can I use dutch-process cocoa powder to make chocolate zucchini cake?

I recommend using natural cocoa powder, but in a pinch, you can use the dutch process. Replace the natural cocoa with an equal amount of dutch process AND replace the baking soda with 3 teaspoons of baking powder. The baking powder will help replace the acid that is in natural cocoa but not dutch processed cocoa which is needed to help the cake rise.

How do I squeeze out the excess moisture from the zucchini for a chocolate zucchini cake?

After the zucchini has been shredded, place it in a nut milk bag or kitchen towel and wring it out. A good quality paper towel can also be used to absorb excess moisture.

For More Baked Zucchini Recipes, Try:

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4.88 from 16 votes

Zucchini Chocolate Cake Recipe

By: Lil’ Luna
Soft and moist chocolate zucchini cake is deliciously sweet. You'd never guess it's filled with grated zucchini!
Servings: 12
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes

Ingredients 

Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups zucchini grated and squeezed dry

Frosting

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Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350 °F and prep a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray or butter.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Create a well or nest in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the melted butter, buttermilk, vanilla extract, and eggs. Using a spatula or wooden spoon stir for 10 seconds, then fold in the grated zucchini. Continue mixing until no flour pockets remain.
  • Place into a buttered (or sprayed) 9×13-inch baking pan. Place in the oven and bake at 350°F for 25-28 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  • Meanwhile, to make the frosting, in a medium saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the milk and sifted cocoa powder. Stir to combine, then remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract and the sifted powdered sugar. Spread over the slightly warm cake. Allow to cool and set for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 609kcal, Carbohydrates: 84g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 18g, Cholesterol: 114mg, Sodium: 678mg, Potassium: 210mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 65g, Vitamin A: 965IU, Vitamin C: 3.7mg, Calcium: 52mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Making this recipe? Tag us!
Share it with us on Instagram using the hashtag #lilluna, so we can see what you’re creating in the kitchen!

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I LOVE, and I mean LOVE Zucchini recipes – especially sweet ones! Can’t wait to try this, Natalie! Thank you! For more great recipes be sure to check out Life Made Simple.

About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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4.88 from 16 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




20 Comments

  1. Amy L Huntley says:

    5 stars
    I have made this recipe several times and it is always a family favorite!

  2. Kristina says:

    5 stars
    When i was a teen I THOUGHT my mom was crazy to use Zucchini tO make bread. I was so wrong. So i knew zucchini cake had to be just as delicious and i was so right! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Olivia says:

    5 stars
    I love basically anything with zucchini in It. SummErtime is a great time for all those zucchini recipes. You would never know theres zucchini in this chocolate cake. So moist and good. It almost seems healthier!

  4. Misty says:

    5 stars
    i love zucchini and its even better with chocolate! Yummy and so moist

  5. Becca says:

    5 stars
    The BEST way to eat zucchini! 😉

  6. Kara says:

    5 stars
    One of the tastiest ways to eat zucchini ever! The chocolate frosting makes it even more yummy. 🙂

  7. Joy says:

    5 stars
    This cake is so moist!! I love adding zucchini to desserts…makes it so soft! This was super easy & that frosting is delicious!

  8. Sumit050 says:

    4 stars
    I did not drain or squeeze out the moisture from the zucchini. It took about 34 minutes for cake to test done. It looks super-moist, but hopefully will not be gooey. I would suggest adding something to the recipe itself.

    1. Lil' Luna says:

      In the ingredient list after the zucchini, it does say squeezed dry 🙂 Hope it turned out, ok!

  9. Claire Watson says:

    4 stars
    I did not read the comments before making the recipe (I know, shame on me, usually I do but for some reason I forgot this time). I did not drain or squeeze out the moisture from the zucchini. It took about 34 minutes for cake to test done. It looks super-moist, but hopefully will not be gooey. I would suggest adding something to the recipe itself, saying “2 cups grated zucchini, squeezed dry” for people like me. .

    1. Lil' Luna says:

      Good idea! I’ll make the change now. 😉

  10. KareninStLouis says:

    Did you squeeze the liquid out of the grated zucchini before adding it to the batter or leave it as is?

    1. Lil' Luna says:

      I dried the zucchini and squeezed out the liquid. 😉