Cakes, Living in Sugar

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake

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Hello friends! Welcome back for another delicious recipe – this one is decorated valentine’s day style as it is only a few days away, but you can make this Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake pretty much any time! It really is a crowd pleaser!

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Plus, it’s basically health food seeing how it has 4 cups of shredded zucchini inside. So why on earth do we marry zucchini and chocolate together? Let’s find out more:

The History of Zucchini Bread

Zucchini bread, in the traditional sense, most likely didn’t show up in American culinary history until the 18th century when chemical leavening agents (baking powder) became widespread. It is possible that zucchini breads were around before then, as home bakers used pearlash as a chemical leavening agent in most quick breads but the first “known” American cookbook ‘American Cookery’ (circa 1796) does not contain a recipe for a zucchini bread.  

Zucchini’s are prolific producers so it is possible that a baker or home cook wanted to use up the supply and added it to a quick bread recipe. Now when chocolate entered the picture is still a bit of a mystery, but I believe that it would have been another creative cook who decided to marry the two.

However it came about we can all be grateful as we can enjoy this decadent Dark Chocolate zucchini bread in our own kitchens.

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Zucchini (about 2 pounds, or 4 small-ish zucchini)
  • Flour
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (I used black cocoa powder)
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Instant coffee or expresso
  • White sugar
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Semisweet chocolate chips (I used mini chocolate chips)
  • Vanilla Extract

Once you have all your ingredients gathered, its time to shred and purge the zucchini. I shredded mine in my food processor, but you can also do this by hand with a box grater. Once shredded, purging the zucchini is a critical step in making this bread. Purging in this sense essentially means removing the excess water from the zucchini. If you skip this, you may end up with a cake that won’t cook all the way through or is dry on the outside and underbaked in the middle.

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake sliced on a plate

I purge my zucchini in a colander set over the sink and after it has drained for about 15 minutes, I use paper towels to pat it dry. This ensures that the surface moisture is wicked away.

Some quick tips:

  • This bread comes together quickly after the purging. For this quick bread, we add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined. Once combined you will want to bake immediately so as to not loose any leavening ability.
  • I baked my cake in a 10 cup Bundt pan, but you can split this recipe into two loaf pans if you don’t have a Bundt.
  • The Black cocoa is not necessary but adds a super-rich dark color to this bread which I love. You can check out the kind I used here!
Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake

So is it a cake or is a bread? You’ll just have to make this Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake yourself and find out!

Happy Baking!



More Easy Recipes:

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake is packed with nutrients and of course chocolate! It's decadence you can feel good about!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 16 Slices
Author Danielle


  • 4 cups grated zucchini from about 2 pounds or 4 smallish zucchini
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa I used black cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter 12 Tbsp or 1 1/2 sticks, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Glaze:

  • 2 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch salt
  • Up to a ¼ Cup Hot Water
  • Food coloring as desired


  1. Place the freshly grated zucchini in a sieve over a bowl or sink to purge excess water while you work on prepping the other ingredients and preparing the recipe. If for some reason your zucchini is on the dry side, hydrate the shredded zucchini by soaking it in water first, and then place in sieve. After 15 minutes, pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F, with a rack in the middle. Grease a 10 cup bundt pan or two 9×5-inch loaf pans with baking spray or butter.
  3. Vigorously whisk together the flour, unsweetened cocoa, baking soda, salt in a large bowl. Whisk until there are no more clumps and the ingredients are well combined.
  4. In a separate large bowl (I used a stand mixer) beat together the sugar and eggs until smooth, about a minute. Add the melted butter, instant coffee granules, and vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
  5. Mix the shredded zucchini into the sugar egg mixture. Follow with the flour to the zucchini mixture in 3 additions, stirring to combine after each addition.
  6. Working quickly, pour batter into the prepared pan(s) and place into the oven. Bake for 50 -60 minutes at 350°F, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean and easily. Make the glaze while the cake cooks.
  7. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a blunt knife around the edges to separate the cake from the pan. Remove from the loaf pans and let cool completely on a rack.
  8. Frost with the simple icing or leave plain.

To make the Glaze:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl a whisk until smooth. Start with 2 tbsps of hot water and increase until desired consistency is achieved. I like it thick but pourable. Add food coloring as desired.

Recipe Notes

Store in an airtight container at room temp for up to 3 days.
Recipe inspired by Simply Recipes

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