Indulgent and tender Chocolate Zucchini Cake with a great texture and a hint of orange dancing in the background.
When you add zucchini to dessert, everyone wants to eat their veggies! Whether it’s zucchini-pistachio cupcakes, a zucchini honey loaf or zucchini nut bread cookies – zucchini is a game changer when it comes to baking.
Chocolate Zucchini Cake Recipe
You would have no idea this extremely moist chocolate cake is packed full of zucchini – no green flecks! Made with two full cups of shredded zucchini, I can’t think of a better way to get your daily allotment of vegetables into your diet.
When you bake a cake with shredded zucchini, you will not be able to locate the zucchini back in the cake, nor will it taste like zucchini. The overall reason being the high moisture content of this particular veggie. Most of a zucchini is water, it will disappear into the cake and be soaked up by the flour and cocoa powder. Like most vegetables, the structure of a zucchini breaks down because of the heat. The structures keeping the cells together will break down and soften causing it to “disappear” in the cake itself.
If you’re looking for a luxuriously decadent chocolate cake, this recipe just might be for you.
Ingredients for Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Just like any other cake recipe, you’ll begin with all the regular characters – flour, sugar, eggs, milk and butter and a good amount of cocoa powder to make this cake a chocolate one.
One ingredient that makes this cake a little more interesting is the addition of orange zest – it adds a lovely background nuance to the overall cake flavor. If you’ve never experienced orange and chocolate together, it’s a lovely pairing. The juicy tartness of the orange zest is beautifully complemented by chocolate.
Shredded zucchini is added for moisture and chopped walnuts for texture. If you prefer pecans you are welcome to add those, but the natural bitterness present in walnuts is a perfect addition to this cake.
Chocolate zucchini cakes are not overly sweet, since zucchini doesn’t really contribute to the overall flavor. This is why a sweet, cream cheese frosting is absolutely necessary and welcomed with every bite.
The full ingredient list is located at the bottom of this post.
How to Make Chocolate Zucchini Cake
When it comes to making a cake from scratch, little steps like sifting certain ingredients and making sure others are at room temperature are important.
Because of the zucchini in this chocolate cake, there is more leeway and less worry about overmixing dry ingredients, since the zucchini will keep the cake very moist on its own.
Take the time to prep all ingredients before putting them all together and giving your cold ingredients time to warm up.
You can easily make the cake the day before, chill it and add the frosting a day later. This might be easier since the cake needs to be completely cooled before adding any frosting.
How to Shred Zucchini
You can easily shred your zucchini in a food processor and then give it an extra chop with a sharp knife.
A box grater is also another way to shred zucchini, it just takes a little muscle.
Make sure to leave the peel on your zucchini before shredding.
How To Store This Cake
Since this cake has cream cheese frosting, you’ll want to store it in the refrigerator.
One or two hours before serving, remove the cake from the refrigerator so the frosting has a chance to come to room temperature and the cake layers lose their chill.
More Zucchini Recipes You Will Love:
- Chocolate Zucchini Coconut Cake
Deep Dark Chocolate Sour Cream Zucchini Cake
Low Carb Chocolate Zucchini Cake
25 Must-Make Zucchini Recipes
- Zucchini Pistachio Cupcakes
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Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Chocolate Zucchini Cake:
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted
- 2-1/2 tsps baking powder
- 1-1/2 tsps baking soda
- 1 tsp table salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- zest of one orange
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 cups shredded or grated zucchini
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 2 (8 oz packages) cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
Chocolate Zucchini Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour to 8-inch baking pans. Set aside.
- In a medium-size bowl whisk together flour, cocoa (sifted), baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer or a regular mixer cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy; about three minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, until each is fully combined. Continue to mix adding vanilla extract and the zest of one orange.
- Add the flour mixture in thirds alternating with whole milk; begin and end with the flour mixture. Mix on low speed only until combined. Don't overmix. Fold in zucchini and nuts with a spatula.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle returns clean. Let cakes cool for five minutes in the pan and then flip them out onto wire racks to cool completely.
- Once the cakes have cooled, make the Cream Cheese Frosting. In a large bowl beat together cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract. Once combined continue to beat in confectioners' sugar on low speed. (If not using right away, place frosting in the refrigerator.)
- Frost completely cooled cake and place cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
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