Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Tried and true moist chocolate zucchini cake with shredded zucchini, orange peel, pecans and a sugar glaze.

Jump to Recipe
Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to Chocolate Zucchini Cake on Simply Recipes. Thank you!


If you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #simplyrecipes — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!

* 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

Showing 4 of 102 Comments

  • Cindy Phipps

    This recipe is excellent as is but I also added a handful of melted semi-sweet & milk chocolate chips. I also substituted orange extract for one of the teaspoons of vanilla. I’ve made this cake several times ; it’s my favorite! You wouldn’t even know that it contains zucchini

  • Charlotte

    This is my second time to enjoy this delicious cake. One of my very treasured “finds”. I bake it just like it is except…LOL..I add 1/8 tsp of salt to the glaze. It deepens the flavor. Thanks for a recipe that uses one of my favorite vegetables…zucchini.

  • Dana Gerstlauer

    I think this is a great recipe! I added 1/2 cup Mini chocolate chips and used pecans. It was very moist and tender. I have the gluten free version of it in the oven now.

  • Heidi

    I substitute the cocoa with Bob’s Red Mill Carob Powder. I also use about half whole wheat flour. Pumpkin puree makes a great oil/butter substitute and makes It a bit healthier too. It comes out rich and decadent without being too sweet, especially if you dust the top with powdered sugar rather than glaze.

  • Sunny

    Is it unsweetened cocoa?

View More Comments / Leave a Comment
Chocolate Zucchini Cake