Chocolate Zucchini Cake

This chocolate zucchini cake is made with flour, sugar, butter, cocoa powder, and a summery abundance of squash. The zucchini makes for marvelously moist cake.

A chocolate zucchini cake glazed with chocolate icing on a green plate on a wooden table

Reason number #456 to love summer? This luxuriously decadent and (marginally) healthful chocolate zucchini cake. Never again will you be wondering what to do with that seasonal abundance of oblong vegetables threatening to overtake your backyard.–Renee Schettler Rossi

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 1 H, 35 M
  • Serves 8 to 12
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Ingredients

  • For the chocolate zucchini cake
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups finely grated zucchini, from about 2 zucchini
  • For the ganache
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate, at least 60% cocoa, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions

  • Make the chocolate zucchini cake
  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter a 10-inch (25-centimeter) Bundt pan.
  • 2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • 3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk to the mixer bowl, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir in the zucchini. The batter will be quite thick.
  • 4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake the cake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before inverting it onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Make the ganache
  • 5. Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the cream into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until the ganache is smooth though quite thick.
  • Assemble and serve the cake
  • 6. Pour the ganache over the cake. Slice the cake into wedges and make a lot of people happy.

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Recipe Testers Reviews

I was pleasantly surprised by this chocolate zucchini cake. I thought it would taste like zucchini bread with some chocolate thrown in, but the flavor was richer and somehow even more zucchini-y. It's not what I was expecting. The flavor and texture of the ganache make the cake just a little more luxurious. It probably renders the nutritional value of the zucchini null and void, but that’s okay, it’s worth it.

This cake makes a great, not-too-sweet ending to a summer picnic. The recipe didn’t mention whether or not you should wring out the excess moisture from the zucchini, so I didn’t, though I did discard the water which accumulated in the bowl after the zucchini was shredded. The 50 minutes baking time wasn't long enough for my oven. The bottom-most part of the cake wasn't fully cooked; my toothpick test mustn’t have been thorough enough. Next time I’ll bake it for a few more minutes.

Lastly, the recipe says it serves 8. Normally I’m not one to skimp on serving sizes, but I think this would result in very hefty slices. My yield was approximately 16 small slices. I tried a piece of cake before the ganache had fully set, and while the ganache was tasty, I didn’t like the cake as much while it was still warm. I preferred it chilled with the ganache hardened, forming a chocolate shell.

This chocolate zucchini cake is very delicious. You cannot tell that there is zucchini in it. The chocolate flavor is a bit more subtle in the cake, but once the ganache is in place, the chocolate flavor is quite good. A little bit of espresso powder or espresso coffee added to the batter would also help bring out the chocolate flavor.

The ganache also really enhanced the cake, not only its appearance, but also its overall taste. I like to let ganache rest about 5 minutes before applying it to make is less runny. I also apply ganache in 2 batches, so that the first one can set a bit and then the second one takes on a very smooth appearance.

My zucchini was very moist, and the 2 cups weighed about 240 grams. I felt that I should remove some of the water, so I placed the zucchini in cheesecloth and squeezed out a good bit of liquid. Then the 2 cups weighed 200 grams, which was consistent with the recipe measurements. Before grating, I had 1 large zucchini and 1 small one, which together weighed 1 pound.

I love the idea of giving zucchini an elegant step-up in the summer vegetable arena. The cake looked lovely but not pretentious. There was no hint that there was any zucchini in the final product at all. It was flavorful but not too rich. This is a wonderful, indulgent dessert that lifts the humble zucchini to a new level.

I only needed 1 zucchini. It was a little large by grocery store standards, but not so large you would find it on the hood of your car after church. The baking time was spot-on. The cake took about 2 1/2 hours to cool and it released from the pan without any problem. It was so moist that there was a little cake left on the tube part of the Bundt pan but it was not underdone.

The ganache was rich and silky smooth and took very little time to prepare.

Watch out butternut, here comes zucchini. Next time, I might add some vanilla or amaretto to the ganache right before whisking to give it some structure and depth.

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