Chocolate Zucchini Cake

When I first encountered Clotilde Dusoulier’s fabulous Chocolate and Zucchini website, I thought to myself, “How wonderful, the ingredients of my favorite cake!”

My grandmother taught me how to bake when I was very young, and later when I was in high school she sent us a recipe pulled from Sunset Magazine for Chocolate and Zucchini Cake. Being adventurous, and knowing how good zucchini bread tastes, I tried it and it quickly became my favorite—the standard against which all future chocolate cakes were measured.

Over the years, I’ve modified this cake recipe slightly from the original. I use more zucchini, and a mix of white and brown sugars. The main distinction of chocolate zucchini cake is its moistness. The zucchini absorbes the cocoa while delivering the full flavor of chocolate, but without the heaviness of some other chocolate cakes.

Recipe updated Sept 15, 2012*

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 10-12 servings.


  • 2 1/2 cups regular all-purpose flour, unsifted
  • 1/2 cup natural, unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup soft butter
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 3 cups coarsely shredded zucchini (from about 1 pound of zucchini)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • Glaze (directions follow)


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

1 Set the shredded zucchini to drain in a sieve over a bowl. If no moisture drains out and the zucchini feels dry, sprinkle some water over it and let the excess drain.


2 Vigorously whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda, salt, and cinnamon in a bow, and set aside.


3 With a mixer, beat together the butter and the sugars until smooth. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. With a wooden spoon, stir in the vanilla, orange peel, and zucchini.

4 Alternately stir in the dry ingredients and the milk into the zucchini mixture, including the nuts with the last addition.


5 Spray the inside of a 10-inch bundt pan or tube pan lightly with cooking spray (or grease with butter). Wipe off the excess. Pour in the batter and use a rubber spatula to level the top of the batter. Bake in the oven for about 50-55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean (test at 45 min). Cool in pan 15 minutes; turn out on wire rack to cool thoroughly.


6 Make the glaze by mixing together the glaze ingredients. You can easily do this by hand with a whisk or a spoon. If the glaze is too runny, add some more powdered sugar. If too thick, add more milk. Drizzle glaze over cake.

Cut in thin slices to serve.

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* The original recipe in Sunset Magazine called for 2 cups of white sugar instead of half white half brown, and 2 cups of zucchini instead of 3.


Clotilde's Chocolate and Zucchini Cake recipe - a little bit different than mine.
Reid from Ono Kine Grindz's delicous variation of the chocolate and zucchini cake recipe.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake on Simply Recipes

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Showing 4 of 99 Comments

  • Reid

    Hi Elise,

    I took your advice and checked the cake at 45 minutes. It was done. The taste was perfect. Thanks for the recipe. It’s now a keeper!

  • clotilde

    Dear Elise,
    Thanks so much for the kind words and for the alternate recipe!

  • Colleen

    I just came across your websight recently and love it! I have just made the Chocolate Zucchini cake and it is fantastic. The addition of the orange rind really make it. I plan on trying many more of your recipes. Thanks!

  • Heidi

    Wow – I was so excited to find the chocolate zucchini cake from Sunset magazine! I used to make it a lot about 13 years ago, and lost the recipe. I did a google search typing in “Chocolate Zucchine Cake Sunset Magazine” and was so pleasantly suprized when I was immediately led me to your post on this web site – I couldn’t believe it! This recipe is outstanding. I remember it being so moist and the chocolate flavor is perfect. I always considered the cinnamon and orange peel to be the secret to the wonderful flavor. Sunset magazine included an exceptional zucchini bread recipe in the same issue the chocolate cake was in. The zuke bread recipe includes wheatgerm and maple flavoring – it too is extremely moist and always a hit with my family and friends. Thanks for posting this fabulous old chocolate zucchini cake recipe – I can’t wait to make it again!

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