Chocolate Zucchini Cake


One of my favorite twisted hobbies is to sub out unhealthy ingredients for unusual healthy ones and wait until Justin has finished eating to tell him about it.

Now I will say he’s usually very open to exotic ingredients and healthy substitutions. I don’t actually need to fool him… except maybe when it comes to his desserts. He has a psychological divide somewhere between “dessert” and “vegetable” (or beans, as the case may be), which I first discovered when I made a chocolate chip cookie dough dip from chickpeas. It was for a study session at our apartment and everyone ate the dip and made positive comments about it. I thought it was great myself, and Justin said I needed to stop tempting him to get fat. But when I gleefully let him know that it was actually pretty healthy, he couldn’t take another bite. That ruined it for him. Oh well. More leftovers for me?

Since then, he tells me he’s fine with the substitutions as long as he doesn’t know about them. Like the time I added spinach to my mint chocolate chip ice cream, I know he was suspicious. He told me that he was enjoying the dessert and that I should please never tell him what was in it.

So. With our history considered, I was amused when Justin repeatedly asked me “Okay, now what kind of cake did you say you were making?” as if he were trying to trick me into confession. I simply answered “Chocolate!” But he knows it is never just chocolate with me.

Now, all that being said, never fear: I would not say this cake is any more healthy than most. (Though I’m sure it beats my mom’s Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie n’ Oreo Fudge Brownie Bar post. Go ahead and check out that heart attack!) The zucchini in this recipe is barely noticeable; it simply functions to keep the cake super moist. If you are already a fan of zucchini bread, this won’t be much of a stretch.

When you’re overloaded with zucchini crops this summer and you’re not sure you can handle another zucchini saute, casserole, or bread, this is a great recipe to remember!



Chocolate Zucchini Cake


  • 2 medium zucchini, trimmed and grated (I grated mine on the medium holes of a box grater)
  • 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2-3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar




Using a cheesecloth, squeeze as much water as possible from the grated zucchini. Transfer zucchini to a bowl and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325 °F. Lightly grease a 9″ cake pan.

Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together into a mixing bowl and set aside.

At medium speed, beat together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add oil, beating well. Beat in one egg at a time, then add vanilla. Reduce speed to low and beat in flour mixture and buttermilk in 3 alternative batches. Stir in reserved zucchini.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. (Start checking after 1 hour.)  Remove from oven allow the cake to cool completely before dusting with confectioners sugar.

Adapted from The Italian Dish.