Chocolate zucchini cake

In case you couldn’t tell from the billion degree weather and thousand percent humidity (those are scientific facts) we’ve been having, summer is officially here! Which also means my parents have a bunch of veggies they’re currently harvesting from their garden.

My mom came up briefly for the #FamiliesBelongTogether march last weekend and brought with her some squash and zucchini from their garden that I need to make into a stir fry this week.

(She also brought a bunch of farmers’ market tomatoes so I can make BLTs this week, too. Theirs aren’t quite ready yet, plus they need to save their tomatoes for the beach since we’re fancy people and have Caprese salad as a side most meals that week. My extended family can eat quite an impressive amount of tomatoes!)

The squash got me thinking about a zucchini-dense recipe that’s a favorite in my family: a zucchini chocolate cake. Tastes like a chocolate cake, is about the texture of a brownie, but sneakily has a TON of veggies (and said veggies make this an incredibly—dare I say it?—moist cake). My mom used to work in the kitchen at a camp over the summer when she was in high school, and when she first got this recipe she said it reminded her of how they used to shred up zucchini to hide in tomato sauce so the kids would get some extra veggies on the sly. If this sounds unappetizing to you, I promise you hardly notice the zucchini in this recipe!

I’m more in it for the chocolate cake aspect than the sneakily-hiding-veggies aspect, but hey, if I get some veggies in with my chocolate cake, that’s fine with me!

I’m not going to use the tasty homegrown zucchini for this (why bother when you’re hiding it?), but it’s cheap and plentiful at the grocery store. I haven’t made this cake recently but I’m thinking it’s time to rectify that situation.

Chocolate zucchini cake


1/2 cup softened margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Combine the butter/margarine and sugar with a mixer.

Add eggs one at a time, beating well.

Beat in oil and vanilla.

Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Gradually add to mixture.

Fold in zucchini, walnuts, and chocolate chips.

Pour into a 9 x 13 inch greased pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

16 Replies to “Chocolate zucchini cake”

  1. Chocolate zucchini cake is one of my faves! We don’t put chocolate chips in it, but my mom tops it with a cream cheese frosting, which is a great addition. Now I have to go to the farmer’s market so I can make one!

    1. Oooh cream cheese frosting is something I love on anything ever so that definitely sounds good! My mom always makes sure to buy a thing of spray whipped cream when she makes this cake because that’s also fantastic on it too.

  2. I’ve already saved this to my pocket. With any luck I’ll find some zucchini at the farmer’s market next weekend. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Woohoooo hope there’s a ton of zucchini at the farmers market and that you like the cake!

  3. nomnomnom zucchini. and chocolate. and cake. this sounds ideal! I love zucchini bread and zucchini fritters personally. this will be a good one to test on the boy and see if he notices. 😉

    1. Grilled zucchini is also amazing. Zucchini’s just amazing, especially when you add chocolate on the mix!

      Yessss I totally support testing this out on the boy to see if he notices. But you’ll have to make sure he doesn’t see you making it since it’s hard to hide the massive amounts of zucchini necessary to shred up two cups of it! ?

  4. I love the sound of this cake and why not get a few extra veggies with my chocolate 🙂

    Your Mom was one smart cookie and yeah zucchini doesn’t have a strong flavor and can totally be masqueraded in a great many things!

    1. Yeah it’s basically just water that’s even better for you, so very easy to hide in delicious things like cake! (And healthier things like pasta sauce haha)

  5. Oooh, I routinely use zucchini in all my muffins, it’s my secret weapon for making the perfectly moist muffins, and you’d never know it was there. Even when I fail to puree it, the chunks blend perfectly by the time it’s baked.

    Chocolate AND zucchini, in cake? YES. PLEASE.

    1. Ooh that’s a fantastic baking hack and I think most things would be great with some extra zucchini in them. Let me know how it turns out if you make this!

    1. Hahaha yeah once the zucchini is ready, it’s all ready at once so I’m sure you’ll be able to find people who will be absolutely happy to have you take it off their hands!

  6. I’m not gonna lie, “zucchini” and “chocolate” in the same recipe sounds horrifying. But you’ve got me intrigued since you say it tastes like a normal cake 🙂

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