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. #
    Gretchen — August 25, 2020 at 6:52 pm

    Is it possible to be better than delicious???

  2. #
    Robin Mack — August 25, 2020 at 4:26 am

    Best version of zucchini chocolate cake I have made!

  3. #
    Karen — August 24, 2020 at 4:03 pm

    Delicious!!! Definitely a go to recipe for a quick and easy dessert!!!

  4. #
    Gail RD — August 24, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    So good – I added a half cup more zucchini! Family loved it and I am making it to take to friends house tonight!

  5. #
    Fithria — August 24, 2020 at 5:13 am

    Delicious and easy to make with the kids.

  6. #
    María Isabel Gutiérrez Rangel — August 23, 2020 at 4:36 pm

    This cake is really sooo good! Honestly, we were a bit skeptical at first about the zucchini here at home, but once we tried it we realized it really makes the cake super moist and delicious. And also, it’s so easy to make

  7. #
    Jill — August 23, 2020 at 2:49 pm

    The cake is so moist and delicious!!

  8. #
    Cynthia — August 23, 2020 at 11:27 am

    A huge hit at my house. Shhhh. Don’t tell them there’s zucchini in it!

  9. #
    Michelle — August 23, 2020 at 11:17 am

    Delicious, easy cake recipe and rich chocolate flavor!

  10. #
    Mike Gilson — August 23, 2020 at 9:21 am

    The Chocolate Zucchini Cake came out super moist and not unbaked, and not gummy. Was a big hit at the tiny, socially distant fire pit gathering I brought them too. Super tasty!

  11. #
    Mo Oshodi — August 23, 2020 at 8:20 am

    First time I baked a zucchini chocolate cake and its really delicious.

    The cake was moist, sweet, love the chocolate taste plus it’s a healthy cake .

  12. #
    Monica Prudencio — August 23, 2020 at 5:31 am

    This recipe was exactly as advertised! It was incredibly easy to put together and came out moist, fudgy, and rich. The second day was just as good! I had to cook it a few extra minutes but I often find that to be the case so I think it’s just my oven. I would make this again!

  13. #
    Allison — August 22, 2020 at 6:27 pm

    Deep chocolate taste and very moist. I now understand why to use a fork for drizzling. Get the milk ready for this one.


  14. #
    Sandra D — August 22, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    Tessa’s description is absolutely correct. This cake is ultra rich, moist, fudgy and most of all delicious. Recipe was easy to make and is a great way to sneak a little veg into a wonderful dessert. The tipi about squeezing the water from the zucchini with a potato ricer is genius. I feel this cake would be best served with an ice cold glass of milk or even better yet a scoop of vanilla ice cream. A definite winning recipe.

  15. #
    Mae — August 22, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    This cake is so chocolatey and moist, you won’t even taste zucchini. A must for any chocolate lover!

  16. #
    Mallory Jurik — August 22, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    Has a great dark chocolate flavor. The zucchini makes this cake extra moist!

  17. #
    Lotte — August 22, 2020 at 8:17 am

    Wow! I just made it and it was delicious! My little sister doesn’t really like zucchini, but now she can’t stop eating it!! I will definitely make it again;) Thank you very much for this good recipe!

  18. #
    Mallory Z. Skwiat — August 21, 2020 at 9:36 am

    Holy cow… this cake is not only easy, but is so good! Make sure you really wring out the zucchini but other than that I CANNOT wait to make this recipe again! Thank you!

  19. #
    Aaron Macpherson — August 21, 2020 at 6:22 am

    This was phenomenal! So much better than the chocolate zucchini cake I’ve been making for years. My new “go-to” recipe! Definitely making this again the next time I have a potluck or something.

  20. #
    Chrysta Hiser — August 20, 2020 at 11:59 am

    This recipe is a keeper! It was so easy and turned out delicious. Everyone loved it. I will be making this again for sure!

  21. #
    Cheryl — August 19, 2020 at 9:16 pm

    I followed this recipe exactly with the instructions for a glass pan. It is deliciously chocolate and very moist. It rose higher in the pan than it appears in the photo here. I perfect slice of snack cake. Thank you!

  22. #
    Jensen Luciani — August 19, 2020 at 8:39 pm

    Super moist, easy and delicious! Will definitely make this again!

  23. #
    Abiola Olawepo — August 19, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    Eating your cake and having it is a possible with this recipe as its loaded with zuchinni but you can hardly see or taste it. It’s one of my go to recipe when I want to impress anyone especially for the first time. Moist, delicious and healthy, all in one cake.

  24. #
    Cindy Marimon — August 19, 2020 at 10:44 am

    So moist and delicious! A great way to put some veggies into sweet treats. Will definitely make again 🙂

  25. #
    Lori — August 19, 2020 at 6:34 am

    Made this on a whim last week to use a monster zucchini. Everyone loved it! Even zucchini haters asked for seconds – we didn’t tell them the “secret” ingredient! LOL Even without the icing, it was fantastic. Having my 4 year old granddaughter help me make a double batch today!

  26. #
    Elaine — August 18, 2020 at 5:44 pm

    I made this cake and used Truvia Brown Sugar & Fat Free Greek Yogurt. My husband diabetic and can’t have a lot of sugar. It turned out sooooo good you would never know. Thank you so much for this recipe! I am on WW too and am watching not to eat too much sugar. If you wanted to go further, you could use the sugar free chocolate chips and apple sauce in place of the oil. I will try that another day, but for now the cake was gone within 2 days!!!

  27. #
    Mary Perez — August 18, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    This cake is so delicious! Chocolate loaded and moist.

  28. #
    Jennifer — August 18, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    Super fudge and moist!! Will definitely make this again. Even my picky teenager had seconds!!

  29. #
    Kira Olsen — August 18, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    Very rich and moist! Definitely a keeper. It’s so good on its own, it doesn’t even need the icing, imo.

  30. #
    Jill — August 18, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    This recipe is worth every star there is! I measured by weight so the batter was perfect- I only have ceramic and glass to bake in though so it took a frustrating extra 10 minutes to find success! Seriously considering updating my bakeware for your recipes Tessa!

  31. #
    Emily Leishman — August 18, 2020 at 11:07 am

    This was incredible! So rich and moist and chocolate filled! I loved the addition of the chocolate chips! And the glaze was so pretty and perfect! Mine did soak into th cake though, so I would make sure you put it on only a few hours before serving

  32. #
    Marie — August 18, 2020 at 6:03 am

    Made this for the first time and was really impressed. Perfect texture, crumb and taste will make it again.

  33. #
    Elisa — August 17, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    My frosting wasn’t as thick or pretty but as you say, not a beauty contest!

  34. #
    Dorina — August 17, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    It was super easy to make and soooo delicious! Thanks Tessa, greetings from Hungary.

  35. #
    Miha Nambara — August 17, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    This cake has a great chocolate flavor and is super tasty even without the icing. I made this in a 9” round pan because we didn’t have a square pan and we ended with some leftover batter so we made two cupcakes with the leftover. DELICIOUS! What’s great is that there’s zucchini so you’re getting in your veggies 😉
    no guilt

  36. #
    Lorena Plata Martínez — August 17, 2020 at 12:15 pm

    Totalmente feliz…. este cake es una delicia… lo amé, fácil de preparar y rápido. Gracias Tessa, tus recetas siempre increíbles.

    I’m really happy… this cake is delicious.. I loved it. It’s easy and fast to make ..thanks Tessa, your recipes always are incredible.

  37. #
    Taylor — August 17, 2020 at 10:27 am

    This recipe is delicious and so easy!

  38. #
    Jodie — August 16, 2020 at 11:10 pm

    Good chocolate flavor and very easy to make. I used a food processor shredding blade and the zucchini was ready in a jif. We ate it as dessert but I wuld totally eat it for breakfast. It’s not covered in frosting so not super sweet. Great with a cup of coffee.

  39. #
    Simran Thomas — August 16, 2020 at 9:53 pm

    Baked this moist chocolate cake last week. An amazing way to incorporate vegetables into a cake. The zucchini, oil and yoghurt make the cake super moist and juicy! One of the best chocolate cake recipes I’ve tried and trust me you won’t taste the zucchini! Do try this recipe if you’re looking for a moist chocolate cake!

  40. #
    Emily — August 16, 2020 at 9:21 pm

    Rich, chocolatey, and delicious!

  41. #
    Christina — August 16, 2020 at 7:22 pm

    This cake is so easy to make and SO MOIST! I didn’t tell my family that are all zucchini haters that it has zucchini, and none could tell. Everyone loved it. Huge chocolate flavor! Well done, Tessa!

  42. #
    Alexa Vagnozzi — August 16, 2020 at 1:38 pm

    This recipe is everything you want in a cake! I can’t believe how moist and rich it is. Next time I’m definitely making a double batch, and I’m going to make thicker icing because it’s all just so freakin’ good!

  43. #
    Debbi Sherer — August 15, 2020 at 5:59 pm

    Oh. My. Goodness. This chocolate zucchini cake is delicious and so moist. Definitely a keeper!

  44. #
    Carla Franco — August 15, 2020 at 4:28 pm

    This cake delivered on everything it promised: chocolatey, moist, and easy!

  45. #
    Anastasia — August 15, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    Easy to make and very moist.

  46. #
    Mariah Zwirb — August 15, 2020 at 11:59 am

    This cake recipe is so simple to make (no mixer!) and it turned out delicious. It is nice and moist, very chocolatey, and just sweet enough. I would definitely make this again.

  47. #
    Isabela Castro — August 15, 2020 at 9:03 am

    My mind was blown! It’s a delicious, moist, decadent chocolate cake. I didn’t add the glaze because I didn’t have any powdered sugar and I was still so impressed. My family loved it as well!

  48. #
    Amber Cockrum — August 14, 2020 at 9:48 pm

    Loved this recipe. Very moist and sweet

  49. #
    Shannon Nordgren — August 14, 2020 at 7:24 pm

    This cake is SO good! Very most and chocolatey, without being too rich. So easy my 14 year old daughter made it while I was gone! I will definitely make this recipe again. Thank you, Tessa!

  50. #
    Ally — August 14, 2020 at 1:52 pm

    This was easy to make and delicious!! I don’t particularly care for chocolate cake but this was moist and had great flavor! I had to use a glass pan unfortunately and ended up having to cook it for about 40 mins.

  51. #
    Rachel — August 14, 2020 at 10:11 am

    Fast, easy, delicious!

  52. #
    Belinda — August 14, 2020 at 4:38 am

    This is a great recipe! I will definitely be making this one for family and friends (when we are out of lockdown!) The video I have of my kids (3 & 5) when I told them there was zucchini in it is priceless!! Thanks Tessa!

  53. #
    Maggie — August 14, 2020 at 12:25 am

    So Easy, so moist, so yummy!! I’ve already made this twice and I’ll definitely be making it more!

  54. #
    Hannah Chase — August 13, 2020 at 5:22 pm

    So easy to follow the recipe. Perfect texture!

  55. #
    Anne Penner — August 13, 2020 at 3:12 pm

    This was a great way to use up zucchini. It baked up so moist and delicious!!

  56. #
    Jen Sutton — August 13, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    Amazing recipe, tang of sour cream, not too sweet, so soft and fluffy, yum yum yum!

  57. #
    Karen Gillis — August 13, 2020 at 10:46 am

    So delicious, moist, and EASY! Love this cake and it’s helping me use up so much zucchini from my garden.

  58. #
    Maya — August 13, 2020 at 10:39 am

    Amazing. So moist and flavorful. I realized after I started that I didn’t have vanilla extract. I substiuted with equal parts of rum and added some rum to the glaze. So tasty!

  59. #
    Elisa Sellars — August 13, 2020 at 9:52 am

    This cake is everything Tessa said it would be – moist, rich, and easy to make! I used a glass pan and baked only 35 minutes, so the cake sunk in the middle. I know better for next time when family comes to visit. 🙂

  60. #
    Erin Frodl — August 13, 2020 at 5:11 am

    What an amazing summer dessert!

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