Easy Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Easy Chocolate Zucchini Cake

By Tessa Arias
July 2nd, 2023
4.94 from 183 votes
4.94 from 183 votes

Ultra rich, moist, and fudgy Easy Chocolate Zucchini Cake is the perfect summer treat for any chocoholic and can be made in less than 1 hour! No mixer required. Tons of chocolate flavor!

Yield: 9 cake squares

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Ultra chocolaty! I doubt any kids would guess there’s a vegetable involved here.
Texture:  Rich, fudgy, and moist.
Ease: Super quick and easy. No mixer, no assembling, no decorating.
Pros: Simple summer treat!
Cons: None 🙂
Would I make this again? Absolutely, all season long.

We’re about to head into the height of zucchini season, which is just one of the many reasons you’ll adore this Chocolate Zucchini Cake.

I love getting fresh zucchini from the farmer’s market all summer long. It’s one of those veggies that’s so easy to cook and bake with. You can find a million ways to get creative whether you’re going savory or sweet. And it doesn’t take nearly an hour to cook like root veggies.

Zucchini Cake with Chocolate and a simple icing on top

Adding zucchini to cake happens to be one of my favorite ways to use the stuff. I also enjoy a good zucchini bread, like this Lemon Yogurt Zucchini Bread.

I love snack cakes like this recipe because they’re just one layer, and there’s no assembly or decorating required. They’re also super easy to transport. You don’t even need an electric mixer for the batter or the icing here!

That makes this recipe perfect for bringing to a summer potluck or BBQ. Especially if you have an abundance of zucchini to use up!

Easy Chocolate Zucchini Cake cut into squares

I find many chocolate zucchini cakes to be kind of bland and a little dry. Read my tips below for getting a super rich and fudgy cake with tons of chocolate flavor.

This might just become your new favorite zucchini recipe!

How to Make Moist Chocolate Zucchini Cake

The Best Cocoa Powder for Chocolate Cake

Cocoa powder lends more chocolate flavor than melted chocolate. But it can also zap some moisture, so read my tips below for how to make sure your cake is nice and tender and moist. This recipe uses natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process cocoa powder). Learn more about cocoa powder here.

comparison of dutch process vs natural cocoa powder - they're more different than you might think!

For best results, weigh your cocoa powder and flour to ensure you don’t over-measure. This will result in a dry cake. If you don’t have a digital kitchen scale, then use the spoon-and-level method.

How to Shred Zucchini for Cake (IMPORTANT!)

To avoid gummy, dense, or unbaked Chocolate Zucchini Cake, it’s important to remove as much excess water from the zucchini as possible.

  1. Start by washing the zucchini and trimming the ends. Grate using the big holes of a box grater. Scoop up the shredded zucchini and place in a strainer or colander. Move on to prepare the rest of the ingredients and batter for the recipe.
  2. Once you’re ready to add in the zucchini, wrap it in a clean towel or paper towels and give it a very tight squeeze with your hands to wring out excess water. Do this a few times. If your hands aren’t quite strong enough, you can also press the zucchini inside a potato ricer or hand-held citrus squeezer. This is super effective at getting rid of water.
  3. Once you fold in the zucchini to the batter, stir gently until JUST combined. Over-mixing can cause a tough or gummy texture.

Why Use Butter AND Oil in a Cake?

  • I find this provides the best of both worlds.
  • You get the wonderful flavor from the butter and the moist texture from the oil.
  • This is because oil is a liquid at room temperature so it gives your palate the sensation of moisture.
  • Learn more about Butter vs. Oil in Baking here.

How to Bake a Moist & Fudgy Chocolate Cake

  • In addition to the tips above, using ingredients like brown sugar, full-fat sour cream, and an extra egg yolk all help to add richness and moisture to this cake.
  • That’s because these ingredients both tenderize and draw and hold onto moisture.
  • You can learn more about how baking ingredients work in my Magic of Baking online class.

Can I Substitute the Sour Cream?

You can use full-fat plain yogurt instead!

What Type of Chocolate Chips Should I Use? 

I used semi-sweet chocolate chips, but you could experiment with milk chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips, or even white chocolate chips, if you prefer.

Is it Better to Bake a Cake in a Glass or Metal Pan?

  • This recipe is best baked in an 8-inch metal baking pan.
  • Metal conducts heat more quickly and efficiently than glass or ceramic so you won’t have any issues with an under-baked center.
  • If you must use glass or ceramic, reduce the baking temperature to 325°F and increase the baking time by 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Learn more about Glass vs. Metal Baking Pans in my article here

Frosting for  Zucchini Cake

I used a simple icing for this Chocolate Zucchini Cake recipe, but you could also use my cream cheese frosting or even this chocolate frosting.

Can I Double this Recipe?

Yes! Double all ingredients, bake in a 9 by 13-inch pan, and add about 5 to 10 minutes to the baking time. If using glass, see note above.

How Long Does Chocolate Zucchini Cake Last?

This Zucchini Cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Can You Freeze Chocolate Zucchini Cake?

  • Freeze individual slices on parchment paper for about 15-30 minutes, then wrap each in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container.
  • Defrost in the fridge or on the counter and let come to room temperature before enjoying.
  • I recommend freezing the cake unfrosted.

Piece of chocolate zucchini snack cake on a plate with a fork

More Chocolate Cake Recipes

4.94 from 183 votes

How to make
Easy Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Yield: 9 cake squares
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Ultra rich, moist, and fudgy Easy Chocolate Zucchini Cake is the perfect summer treat for any chocoholic and can be made in less than 1 hour! No mixer required. Tons of chocolate flavor!


For the cake:

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (143 grams) all-purpose flour, measured correctly
  • 1/2 cup (43 grams) unsweetened cocoa, measured correctly
  • 1 cup (200 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup fresh vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) full fat sour cream or plain whole milk yogurt, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (136 grams) shredded zucchini, from about 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 cup (170 grams) semisweet chocolate chips

For the icing:

  • 1/2 cup (63 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon milk


Make the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8 by 8-inch metal baking pan* with parchment paper then spray with nonstick cooking spray.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, and baking soda.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, oil, sour cream, eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla extract.

  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir until a few streaks of flour remain. Squeeze out any additional moisture from the shredded zucchini before adding to the batter (see recipe post for tips on reducing excess moisture, which will create a gummy cake texture). Add in the chocolate chips. Stir until just barely combined.

  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. If your cake sinks slightly in the middle, that's normal because it's so moist and rich!

  6. Let cool completely.

Make the frosting:

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar and milk with a fork until smooth and thick but pourable. Drizzle all over the cake. Let set before serving.

  2. Cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

* If using a glass pan, bake at 325°F for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. 
Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American
Keyword : chocolate zucchini cake, summer, zucchini cake

Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Shagun Moharkar — August 13, 2020 at 12:05 am

    Oh my god! Never have i ever had such a moist and delicious cake!! I am out of words… This is probably the greatest way to sneak in zucchini , thank you so much for this recipe, it turned out phenomenal and was a big hit in my house!!! There are 4 us and we finished it in a day!!!

  2. #
    Safia — August 12, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    I made this cake for the August Baking Challenge. This cake was SUPER easy to make and was so soft, chocolatey, and slightly dense. I promise, you won’t even taste the zuchinni. I guess if you were really looking, then the most “vegetable” flavor you would get would be a faint aftertaste. But honestly, who’s *really* looking for vegetables in their dessert? Especially when you have chocolate cake that looks THAT good?!

  3. #
    Gwen Orel — August 12, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    First recipe I’ve made here won’t be the last! Very straightforward and came out just like the picture. I withdrew one star because I just have to save five stars for favorite recipes of all time LOL But NOT because there were any flaws here. Took a little longer to bake than it said but very nice. I’ve never baked using zucchini before so was nervous but it gave it a nice almost coconut flavor. Yum!

  4. #
    pamela bundy — August 12, 2020 at 11:53 am

    This is one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever tasted. It has intense chocolate flavor and depth and is moist and slightly fudgey. I like the glaze but after a couple of days it melted into the cake. This will now be my go-to chocolate cake recipe.

  5. #
    Kelsey — August 12, 2020 at 9:59 am

    This cake was so good. I would make it 200 times again

  6. #
    Melinda Bowman — August 11, 2020 at 5:51 pm

    This cake is Amazing! It’s very easy to make. I followed the directions exactly. Rich chocolate flavor and super moist cake.

  7. #
    Jorjean Murphy — August 11, 2020 at 5:32 pm

    This was easy, quick and soooo good. I doubled the recipe so I could bring one to work. This cake is so moist and chocolaty. I’ll be making this again for sure!

  8. #
    Kathy — August 11, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    Yum! So moist and so easy! You would never know there’s zucchini in there, such a win!

  9. #
    Sue — August 11, 2020 at 11:38 am

    veggie haters would never suspect there is zucchini hiding in this moist cake!

  10. #
    Sarah Buehler — August 11, 2020 at 9:36 am

    Tastes great and easy to make. I needed to bake the cake an extra 7 min until the cake tester came out clean though.

  11. #
    Christy Thomas — August 10, 2020 at 7:22 am

    I love tricking my kids into eating veggies when it is disguised as cake!! This is so rich and delicious!, and it’s so easy! Definitely a keeper!

  12. #
    Jessica — August 9, 2020 at 6:34 pm

    I never thought I would like a dessert with vegetables in it, but this recipe has changed my mind! Very chocolatey, moist, and overall very delicious!

  13. #
    Catarina J Castro — August 9, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    This cake is absolutely delicious and super easy to bake!Thank you Tessa! It was a huge success.

  14. #
    Maria Luna — August 9, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    Outrageous in word! Killer Chocolate Decadence! I used Special Dark Chocolate Cocoa& Quality Dark Chocolate Chips. Worth every calorie!!!!

  15. #
    Peggy Nelson — August 9, 2020 at 11:05 am

    This Chocolate Zucchini Cake really is fudge-like and decadent and worthy of five stars! Followed the recipe as written and it turned out awesome! The best use of zucchini, IMO.

  16. #
    Faye — August 9, 2020 at 5:32 am

    Not only is this an easy recipe but the best zucchini cake I have made. I highly reccommend it.

  17. #
    Andi — August 8, 2020 at 10:25 pm

    This cake was delicious! Very moist and light.

  18. #
    Christina — August 8, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    I made a double batch. Used Spelt flour, coconut oil & butter and only 1 cup of brown sugar total. It is so moist, chocolAty & delicious!!

  19. #
    Sarah Lawton — August 8, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    This was wonderful! My entire family loved it & will definetly be making it again!

  20. #
    Jessica — August 8, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    this cake is DELICIOUS!! tastes amazing and super moist its even great without the icing drizzle on top! will definitely be making this again!

  21. #
    Sara Wright — August 8, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    Just made this recipe today and everyone loved it! It was quick and easy to make, and I love the simple frosting/glaze. Would definitely make again!

  22. #
    Flavia Casagrande Bastos — August 8, 2020 at 2:07 pm

    I loved this cake!
    It’s been a while that I was looking for a cake recipe that used zucchini.

  23. #
    Julie — August 8, 2020 at 10:13 am

    This cake is so moist and delicious and a snap to make! No mixer, just get the ingredients together and stick in the oven. Love it!

  24. #
    Sara — August 8, 2020 at 7:53 am

    This cake is moist and full of chocolate! I followed the recipe by weighing the ingredients and it turned out perfect. So easy and a favorite in our house. Can’t wait to make it again!

  25. #
    isabelle — August 8, 2020 at 6:41 am

    so so so yummy! a great recipe for summer when you have way too much zucchini…..

  26. #
    Nair T — August 8, 2020 at 3:52 am

    We had a bunch of zucchini and we didnt know what to do with it so we made this delicious moist chocolate zucchini cake and the whole family loved it.

  27. #
    Diana — August 7, 2020 at 7:02 pm

    So easy! It’s rich and so moist. Thank you for all the tips and tricks. They helped!

  28. #
    Bleu Caldwell — August 7, 2020 at 6:01 pm

    Super chocolately, moist, and delicious!

  29. #
    Rita — August 7, 2020 at 9:55 am

    Can this cake be frozen?

    • #
      Sarah Duberry — October 16, 2020 at 9:13 am

      Can I freeze the chocolate zukini cake and hoe long thanks..

  30. #
    Kelly — August 7, 2020 at 9:34 am

    I actually made this gluten-free and dairy-free and it came out amazing!!! (Sorry for substitutions– I wasn’t sure how it was going to come out because I know this can change the outcome of a recipe a TON but I wanted to share in case others were gluten-free and dairy-free and wanted to try!) I used gluten-free measure for measure flour, dairy-free butter and substituted dairy-free yogurt for the sour cream, all in the same quantities listed. I can’t believe how great it turned out– the texture is amazing! And so easy to make! Will definitely make this again.

  31. #
    Carla — August 7, 2020 at 5:32 am

    This recipe is amazing! The cake is so moist and delicious and following your instructions has never failed me to get an amazing end result!
    Also, best way to get my kid to eat zucchini haha

  32. #
    Maria Janowiak — August 6, 2020 at 7:56 pm

    Very easy, delicious, and moist. A little too moist in the middle, but that was my fault. Be sure to cook it long enough!
    Will definitely make again!

  33. #
    Alison Schneider — August 6, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    This was so good! I didn’t appreciate how important the icing was but it took the cake to the next level! Don’t skip it 🙂

  34. #
    Allie gaudio — August 6, 2020 at 4:28 pm

    Easy to make! Super rich and fudgy! Would never know zucchini is in it! Will be making again!

  35. #
    Kerry Salatino — August 6, 2020 at 2:40 am

    This was OMG delicious and the best I have EVER made….definitely squeeze the zucchini as Tessa instructed! I only had one zucchini and it was enough for 1C.

  36. #
    Jo — August 5, 2020 at 7:30 pm

    I’m always looking for ways to use zucchini this time of year. I have to say this one’s a KEEPER. Not too sweet with lots of chocolate flavor. The ULTIMATE Zucchini Cake!!!

  37. #
    Karly Ball — August 5, 2020 at 9:58 am

    This recipe was so easy to follow and turned out great! The cake was really light and moist, and the water drainage tip worked super well in preventing it from becoming gummy.

  38. #
    Tiernan Nelson — August 5, 2020 at 9:52 am

    So easy to make for such a delicious outcome! I will certainly be making this again, the texture and taste are absolutely perfect!

  39. #
    Diane — August 5, 2020 at 5:14 am

    Such a quick and easy recipe! I know it says cake, but I had a piece for breakfast with my coffee and have zero regrets! Delicious!

  40. #
    Sabine D — August 4, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    I just made 2 batches of this, one original and one with the adjustments I have to make for myself. Needless to say the original turned out a lot prettier, with that lovely shiny top and super moist center. Once baked you can’t see or taste the zucchini anymore, which is great if you have kids. My husband made me pack some for his hiking trip tomorrow. My adjusted one was still great for a gf/df/sf cake, but the original is basically a brownie.

  41. #
    Armie — August 4, 2020 at 9:08 am
  42. #
    Lauren — August 4, 2020 at 6:31 am

    Such a chocolatey & delicious recipe! Moist & the chocolate chunks are the best. I like my cake a little cold but either way, it’s a nice little treat & easy to make for any occasion.

  43. #
    Line Gendreau — August 3, 2020 at 6:58 pm

    Going in the redo pile

  44. #
    Cassie — August 3, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    Love how quick and easy this recipe comes together! And of course it’s delicious!

  45. #
    sophia cheung — August 3, 2020 at 2:15 pm

    I’ve made this twice in a week, so satisfying. Rich, moist and chocolaty piece of heaven.

  46. #
    Alan Morlan — August 3, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    This is probably a rookie dumb question, but…can i cheat and use the zucchini noodles available at the grocery store? Maybe cut them into pieces?

    Thank you,
    Alan Morlan

    • #
      Deb — August 28, 2020 at 4:08 pm

      Sure that soundsclike it will work well. Chop fine.

  47. #
    Nadine — August 3, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    I will be testing out this recipe!!! Can’t wait… but I’ve got to get the magic ingredient- the Zucchini ofc.

  48. #
    Marguerite — August 2, 2020 at 7:03 pm

    Easy to make and very delicious. Moist and chocolaty. Great use for the abundance of zucchini this time of year! My family loved it.

    • #
      Deb — August 28, 2020 at 4:06 pm

      That should work well. Just chop fine.

  49. #
    Cindy :-) — August 2, 2020 at 11:17 am

    Soooo incredible. So moist and satisfying. Plan a double batch. This will now be my chocolate go to! And because it’s got zucchini in the batter there is zero guilt. Lol. Baked 15 squares using the Pampered Chef 12 square baking pan (baked 8 minutes). This is now at the top of my favorite Tessa recipes.

  50. #
    Martin — August 1, 2020 at 10:47 pm

    Really super delicious! I followed the recipe exactly and it came out perfect. I will definitely make it again, and I think it would really nice with the addition of some nuts.

  51. #
    Aaron Hockstein — August 1, 2020 at 6:18 pm

    Loved it! Extremely moist and super easy.

  52. #
    Faith — July 10, 2020 at 10:31 am

    If you love CHOCOLATE you will love this! It is very good tasting, moist, and easy to make! But man is it CHOCOLATE! You will need a glass of milk or some ice-cream to help calm down all that CHOCOLATE flavor!

  53. #
    Mandy — July 2, 2020 at 6:49 pm

    I just made this today!!! I’m pregnant and had a chocolate craving after seeing this on Tessa’s Instagram earlier in the week. The recipe is pretty easy to make. We julienned and chopped our zucchini since we don’t have a grater…hah!!

    I had to bake for about 35 minutes instead of 30 minutes, however I may have sent my temperature slightly under 350°, since my oven usually runs hot.

    Overall, easy recipe and REALLY tasty!

  54. #
    Kerri C — May 17, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    Quick easy to follow recipe Was delicious & stayed moist. Will definitely be making again soon !

  55. #
    Morgan M — May 5, 2020 at 8:15 am

    This recipe is amazing. The cake is moist, rich, and flavorful. I didn’t even have to put the icing on as there was enough deliciousness in the cake itself! So easy to make and will be baking again!

  56. #
    Dani — April 24, 2020 at 2:23 am

    Delicious and easy, my family and I loved it.

  57. #
    Jemima — February 14, 2020 at 1:25 am

    This turned out to be a hit in my house so it will be made a few more times as I’m loaded with zucchini that I’ve grown and they ain’t little lol and still got heaps more growing so always looking for more recipes thanks heaps for this great.

  58. #
    Kim — August 31, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    This cake was phenomenal! Super moist! Doubled the recipe. Took about 45 minutes to bake.

  59. #
    Juditta — July 4, 2019 at 1:08 am

    Very tasty. Easy to make

  60. #
    Jennifer Wiseman — June 21, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    I often have shredded zucchini in the freezer. Based on your description, it sounds like it wouldn’t be usable in this recipe. Any thoughts?

    • #
      Tessa — June 26, 2019 at 5:39 pm

      I would thaw and then *really* try to remove as much excess moisture from the zucchini as possible before baking with it!

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