Chocolate Zucchini Cake

A classic retro dessert, this chocolate zucchini cake gets its incredible texture from summer’s most abundant vegetable.

By Yankee Magazine

Aug 26 2022


Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Photo Credit : Amy Traverso

This cake, long a favorite, may have been invented as a way to put excess zucchini to good use, but it’s so tasty that we recommend it even if you have to buy the produce. The bland flesh, which you grate and fold into the batter, cooks down to the point of undetectability (that’s one way to sneak some vegetables into a picky eater’s diet). And as the cake cooks, all the water stored in the plant’s cells releases, resulting in a wonderfully moist texture.

You can serve this cake as a plain loaf or dust it with confectioners’ sugar. We like to take it a step further, though, and top it with a very easy no-cook chocolate frosting.


2 loaves


½ cup unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
½ cup vegetable oil
1¼ cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk*
2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
¼ cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups grated zucchini (from about 1 large zucchini)
12 ounces mini chocolate chips
Chocolate frosting (see recipe below) or confectioners’ sugar


*If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, mix ½ cup milk with 1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice and let sit for a few minutes.

Grease 2 standard loaf pans, then sprinkle with flour to coat. Shake to remove excess. Preheat an oven to 325° and set a rack to the middle position.

In a medium bowl, use a handheld or standing mixer to cream the butter, oil, and sugar together for 1 minute, scraping the bottom with a spatula halfway through. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat for an additional minute, scraping once more. Add the buttermilk and beat until blended.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, then add to the butter-sugar mixture. Mix until evenly combined, scraping the bowl as needed. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips and mix until evenly combined. Divide the batter among the 2 loaf pans.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, and the cakes are beginning to pull away from the sides, 45 to 55 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar or frost the top with chocolate frosting (see recipe below). Serve.

Chocolate Frosting


1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 or 2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream


In a medium bowl, use a standing or handheld mixer to beat the butter with the confectioners’ sugar for 1 minute. Add cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt, and beat for another minute or two. Add enough milk or cream to reach your desired consistency, then spread over cooled cakes.