Rich Moist Chocolate Zucchini Cake

16 Servings
50 min

This recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Cake and Cupcakes is SO easy! Super rich and fudgy; studded with chocolate chips, frosted with creamy, chocolate buttercream — nobody will even know there’s zucchini hidden inside! It will become a family favorite!

WHY MAKE CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE?Because it’s healthy-ish! It’s made with all natural ingredients; like greek yogurt, avocado oil, organic cocoa powder AND it has a healthy dose of shredded zucchini in the batter. Seriously, like 3 heaping, nutrient rich, green cups worth! Don’t knock zucchini, I am pretty sure God created zucchini to go into chocolate baked goods, because it adds amazing texture, moisture! I’m not a huge zucchini fan, but I’ll eat it all day long in my desserts or quickbreads!

WHAT’S YOUR “WOW” DESSERT?Do you have a go-to, never fail to WOW ’em dessert recipe?! If your answer is no, then print this recipe right now (sorry, I know I can be bossy, but this is one time you will thank me for being bossy).If you do, I’d love to hear what it is! But still print this recipe, because can you ever really have too many go-to dessert recipes? Hey, what can I say, I have 3 brothers, being bossy is natural!I am NOT a chocolate cake fan, in general, I’m not a cake fan; give me cookies, especially Chocolate Chip Cookies all day long, or a good fruit inspired pie, or even brownies, but cakes have never been my thing (except frostings), until I started making this cake! I LOVED IT!

How to Make Chocolate Zucchini CakePreheat oven to 350 degrees and grease two 9" cake pans, line pans with parchment paper. The original recipe calls for two deep dish 9" pans, at least 2 inches deep. I only had shallow 9″ pans, and not wanting the cakes to overflow, I reserved some of the batter and filled a jumbo cupcake pan and made 3 jumbo cupcakes. If you are in the same boat, fill your pans until about 1/2-2/3 full, use leftover batter for cupcakes.

MAKING THE CAKE BATTERIn a large mixing bowl, add all-purpose flour, natural unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, espresso powder (optional), and sea salt together, whisking well.In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl; beat the oil, all natural cane sugar, brown sugar, eggs, greek yogurt (or sour cream), vanilla extract, and shredded zucchini* until combined.*After you shred your zucchini, take some paper towels and lightly blot the zucchini removing some of the water.Pour batter evenly into deep dish cake pans. If you have regular 9″ pans or are using 8″ pans, fill to about 2/3 full, reserve batter for cupcakes. Sometimes I pull out my kitchen scale making sure the batter is evenly distributed.Stir or beat in chocolate chips, on low. Batter will be a bit thick.Pour batter evenly into deep dish cake pans. If you have regular 9″ pans or are using 8″ pans, fill to about 2/3 full, reserve batter for cupcakes. Sometimes I pull out my kitchen scale making sure the batter is evenly distributed.

If you end up with extra batter, pour into a lined jumbo cupcake pan or regular muffin pan, filled to about 2/3 full. I made 3 jumbo cupcakes. Probably would have made 4-5 regular cupcakes.Bake for 20-32 minutes, watch closely, check for doneness at 20 minutes. If toothpick inserted in center of cake, comes out clean it’s done. If toothpick comes out with batter (not crumbs), return to oven for another 3-4 minutes, retest until clean.When done, cakes should spring back when lightly touched in middle. For jumbo cupcakes, check at about 15-20 minutes and regular cupcakes, check at about 12-14 minutes. Remember ovens vary significantly in temperatures, it’s okay to check early to make sure they aren’t baking too fast.Cool cakes (cupcakes) completely in pans, on a wire cooling rack. Be sure the cakes or cupcakes are completely cooled before frosting, you don’t want your frosting slipping off! If necessary to speed up process, you may place cakes in fridge or freezer after cooling for 15 minutes and cool completely, 20-30 minutes.

MAKE CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING


Add softened butter to bowl of stand mixer fit with paddle or whisk attachment.Beat butter on high speed for 3-4 minutes, until light and fluffy.


Add natural unsweetened cocoa powder or dutch-process cocoa powder and mix on low until combined, scrape sides of bowl. With mixer on low, add vanilla extract, slowly pour in powdered sugar alternating with cream/milk.


Once sugar is incorporated, scrape sides of bowl and beater, and add a pinch of sea salt. Increase speed to high and beat for a full 3-4 minutes, until light and fluffy.


If desired, add 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of espresso powder to the frosting.If frosting too thick, add a few teaspoons of cream/milk until correct consistency, if too thin, add a few tablespoons of powdered sugar mixing in thoroughly.


There will be enough frosting for you to pipe frosting on top, practice on parchment paper or a cookie sheet first, it’s easier than you think! And enough if you had a few extra cupcakes to pipe those as well.If desired, decorate with chocolate jimmies, mini chocolate chips or chocolate curls.


Slice and devour! Cover any leftover take and store at room temperature for 2-3 days, fridge up to 5-7 and freezer up to 2-3 months — like it will last that long!

Rich Moist Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Recipe details

  • 16  Servings
  • Prep time: 20 Minutes Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 50 min
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Ingredients

For the Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (I like unbleached)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (like Hershey's)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup avocado or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all natural cane sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar (mix it up, use a little of each)
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek) or sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini (about 3 medium)*
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the Chocolate Buttercream

  • 1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, (I used salted) softened to room temperature
  • 5-1/2-6 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup natural unsweetened or dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/3 cup heavy cream, half-and-half, or whole milk
  • chocolate sprinkles, curls or mini chocolate chips for decorating (optional)

Instructions

For the Cake

Preheat oven to 350° and grease two 9" cake pans (2" deep), line pans, if desired with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, add all-purpose flour, natural unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, espresso powder (optional), and sea salt together, whisking well.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large batter bowl; beat the oil, all natural cane sugar, brown sugar, eggs, greek yogurt (or sour cream), vanilla extract, and shredded zucchini* until combined. With mixer on low/stir, add 1/2 cup of dry ingredients at a time, until all in, then increase speed to medium for about 1 minute. Stir or beat in chocolate chips, on low. Batter will be a bit thick.
Pour batter evenly into deep dish cake pans. If you don't have deep pans, fill 2/3 full, reserve leftover batter for cupcakes. Extra batter, pour into lined jumbo cupcake pan or regular muffin pan, filled to about 2/3 full. I made 3 jumbo cupcakes. Probably would have made 4-5 regular sized cupcakes.
Bake for 20-32 minutes, watch closely, check for doneness at 20 minutes. If toothpick inserted in center of cake, comes out clean it's done. If toothpick comes out with batter (not crumbs), return to oven for another 3-4 minutes, retest until clean. When done, cakes should spring back when lightly touched in middle. Cool cakes (cupcakes) completely in pans, on a wire cooling rack. Be sure the cakes or cupcakes are completely cooled before frosting, you don't want your frosting slipping off! If necessary to speed up process, you may place cakes in fridge or freezer after cooling for 15 minutes and cool completely, 20-30 minutes.

For the Buttercream

Add softened butter to bowl of stand mixer fit with paddle or whisk attachment.Beat butter on high speed for 3-4 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Add natural unsweetened cocoa powder or dutch-process cocoa powder and mix on low until combined, scrape sides of bowl. With mixer on low, add vanilla extract, slowly pour in powdered sugar alternating with cream/milk.
Once sugar is incorporated, scrape sides of bowl and beater, and add a pinch of sea salt. Increase speed to high and beat for a full 3-4 minutes, until light and fluffy.
If desired, add 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of espresso powder to the frosting.If frosting too thick, add a few teaspoons of cream/milk until correct consistency, if too thin, add a few tablespoons of powdered sugar mixing in thoroughly.
There will be enough frosting for you to pipe frosting on top, practice on parchment paper or a cookie sheet first, it’s easier than you think! And enough if you had a few extra cupcakes to pipe those as well.If desired, decorate with chocolate jimmies, mini chocolate chips or chocolate curls. Slice and devour! Cover any leftover take and store at room temperature for 2-3 days, fridge up to 5-7 and freezer up to 2-3 months — like it will last that long!

Tips

  • Make Ahead | I love to bake my cakes ahead of time and freeze until ready to use. You can bring to room temperature or frost frozen and then bring to room temperature. Frosting may be made ahead, stored in fridge or freezer. If desired, whip once thawed.
  • If you don't have time for cakes or cupcakes to cool completely, you may place cakes in fridge or freezer after cooling for 15 minutes and cool completely, 20-30 minutes.

Kathleen | The Fresh Cooky
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