Chocolate Zucchini Cake Recipe

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

An American friend once explained to me that nobody ever locks their car in her small town… except when it’s zucchini season. Leave your door unlocked then, and you risk coming back to find a crate of zucchini left on your passenger seat.

You see, zucchini plants grow with supernatural vigor, and when harvest season comes around, gardeners are overloaded with their crop, so they’re desperately seeking ways to use it productively.

Chocolate & Zucchini Cake To The Rescue!

And one of the popular uses of a zucchini glut — aside from abandoning it on the steps of the church — is baking quick breads and cakes, including chocolate and zucchini cake, because everything tastes better with chocolate, even zucchini.

I myself did not pick the name of my blog in reference to this cake: I chose it to illustrate the two sides of my culinary personality, my love of fresh, seasonal produce as well as my appreciation for desserts. But knowing about this zucchini baking tradition, I couldn’t not have a Chocolate & Zucchini Cake in my repertoire.

I am not a gardener myself, so I just get my zucchini from the greenmarket, and over the years and the batches, I have tweaked my Chocolate & Zucchini Cake recipe to get it just right for my taste.

It produces a delightfully fluffy cake with a crisp outer crust. The advantage of using grated zucchini in the batter is that it provides extra moisture, allowing you to reduce the overall amount of butter — not that there’s anything wrong with butter, but this cake feels less heavy than most. And there is no way anyone can taste the zucchini in there, as the strands meld with the batter and disappear.

In addition to being a deep and beautiful shade of brown, this chocolate zucchini cake has a voluptuous chocolate flavor. We can thank the cocoa powder and chocolate chunks for that, and also the dash of coffee. This is a trick that my grandmother taught me, and it’s a good one to keep in mind for any chocolate cake; you can’t identify the coffee as such, but it makes the flavor of the chocolate that much more vivid.

Got zucchini? Here are more ideas to use it:
Zucchini Tarte Fine,
Oven-Roasted Ratatouille,
Zucchini Noodle Salad.

Have you tried this? Share your pics on Instagram!

Please tag your pictures with #cnzrecipes. I'll share my favorites!

Chocolate & Zucchini Cake Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Serves 12.

Chocolate & Zucchini Cake Recipe


  • 115 grams (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature, or 1/2 cup olive oil, plus a pat butter or teaspoon oil for the pan
  • 240 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 60 grams (1/2 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 150 grams (3/4 cup) unrefined blond cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons strong cooled coffee (optional)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 350 grams (2 cups) unpeeled grated zucchini, from about 1 1/2 medium zucchini
  • 160 grams (5 2/3 oz) good-quality bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • Confectioner's sugar (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease a 25-cm (10-inch) round springform pan or a 22-cm (8 1/2-inch) square pan.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a mixer (or by hand in a large mixing bowl), beat the sugar and butter until fluffy.
  4. Add the vanilla, coffee, and eggs, mixing well between each addition.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the zucchini, chocolate chips, and about a third of the flour mixture, making sure the zucchini strands are well coated and not clumping too much.
  6. Add the rest of the flour mixture into the egg batter. Mix until just combined; the batter will be thick.
  7. Fold the zucchini mixture into the batter, and blend with a spatula without overmixing.
  8. Pour into the prepared cake pan, and level the surface.
  9. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool for 10 minutes, run a knife around the pan to loosen, and unclasp the sides of the pan.
  10. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar or a chocolate glaze if desired.

This post was first published in April 2004 and updated in August 2017.

  • Meg

    Hey Clotilde, I’m from the midwest and you are absolutely right about the zucchini problem: my grandmother put them in everything from lasagne to cakes to meatloaf when I was growing up. In fact, for the first five years or so that I was in Paris, I didn’t touch the darn things, I was still so tired of them!

    However, I never heard of a *chocolate* zucchini cake – what a great idea! Now THAT might have reconciled me to liking them when I was little!

  • Renee

    Clotilde, what a wonderful combination. doesn’t sound weird at all. I can just imagine the wonderful moistness of the cake from the zucchini, and of course, the unbeatable taste of chocolate! mmmm!
    (sort of abit like a chocolate version of carrot cake I suppose, but with zucchini. and I like zucchini : ) )

    I think this one will definitely have to go onto my ever-lengthening list of “to bake” cakes. : )

  • It’s not only the midwest. They love, love, love the Mediterranean climate of California (and gardeners always overestimate these things). Leaving bags of zucchini on folks’ doorsteps was a done thing when I was a girl. I believe my mother forbade planting of it at our house because she knew that they would be gifted with it in season (esp. by my grandfather who would not take NO for an answer).

    Sounds yummy! We had the standard zucchini bread which was very good (and froze well) but not as luxe as this sounds.

    I must go put out eggs and butter to warm up for pound cake, which is what I am making. I have real Cornish clotted cream and raspberries to go with it.

  • This looks like a wonderful summer recipe, and I can’t wait to try it. I’m hoping to even grow some zucchini of my own this summer!

    Zucchini is possibly my favorite vegetable, but unfortunately it’s difficult to come by and very expensive this time of year. I have a hard time paying $2.49/lb for something that people will be trying to give away in 4 months. So, I will wait patiently. But I’m excited by this recipe; I look forward to trying it!

  • I used to make chocolote zucchini cake as a teenager. It is one of my all time favorites but I haven’t made it in in 20 years and I lost the recipe. Thank you so much Clotilde for this entry and recipe!

  • Elaine

    Having grown up in the Midwest, we learned to add zucchini to just about everything from soups to cookies after my mother planted a few seeds on the border alongside our house. Somehow, we missed mixing it with chocolate, though, so I can’t wait to try this version. A recent Google search gave me the idea of grating, then freezing zucchini in 2 cup increments (I use ziplock freezer bags, making it as airtight as possible) for quick use in future recipes…. Lemon zucchini muffins for brunch? No problem. Thanks for such a wonderful blogsite, Clothilde. It truly is a treasure.

  • I grew up in the Midwest. Not only did I not like zucchini, but my mother used to make me distribute it to all of our neighbors. If they weren’t home, I left it on their doorstep. This made me group These days I like zucchini, but I have trouble getting more than 4-5 zucchini per plant, because it keeps rotting. It makes me a bit sad.

    If you liked the chocolate zucchini cake (one of my favorites growing up), you’ll love zucchini bread. It’s a quick, sweet bread, and it can also be made with chocolate. I can share a recipe if you are interested.


  • This looks great, Clotilde! I’ve never heard of chocolate zucchini cake before, or indeed, any cake/bread made with zucchini. This is turning my established view of vegetables upon its head!

  • Deb

    Clotilde! I love love love that you made a chocolate zucchini cake, so clever and so fitting! The cake looks very yummy and my curiousity is such that I will try this over the summer once zucchini are in season. Thanks!

  • Anne

    Bonjour Clotilde,
    this is just too weird….
    I mentioned to my husband today that I thought it strange that there was no recipe for Chocolate-Zucchini Cake on your site. He said: “you bake the best (sic) CZ cake in he world, send her your recipe!” So I sit down at my computer tonight, open your site and lo and behold…. your recipe looks very good.
    As I have only very recently discovered food blogs, I am not sure what the etiquette is and if return recipes are accepted. I will take a chance, here is my version of a very good moist CZ cake:

    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    1 1/2 cup sugar
    2 eggs
    1 tsp vanilla
    2 cup grates unpeeled zucchini
    2 cup flour
    1/4 cup cocoa
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ground cloves
    3/4 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
    1/2 cup choco chips ( or a bit more!)

    Beat oil & sugar, add eggs, mix well. Sir in vanilla & zucchini.
    I another bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon & cloves. Add to creamed misture alternatively with sour cream, mix well, add choco chips.
    Bake at 325 F (195 C) in a greased 9×13 pan for about 45 min. (it should be slightly moist in the center)
    Eat or make a simple icing with icing sugar, hot water and a few drops of essence of rum.
    Can be served as a dessert, sprinkled with raspberry couli and a dollop of whipping cream.
    Since I grow Zucchini in my veggie garden, I usually make a big batch of this cake and put it in the deep freezer.

    I hope you will try it some day.

    • Georgette Eichberg

      Anne: I also had not made a zuchini choc. cake for several years. Your recipe is more like what I am used to. Simple, with enough sugar and no complicated mixing. I found Clotilde’s recipe dry, not sweet enough and the mixing steps ridiculous. Looks like quite a few of those commenting had never heard of a zuchini choc. cake. ??? Hard to believe. I just finished making the cake, made a cream cheese/butter frosting and sampled it. Will not make it again. I am reluctant to post a negative comment since I would be obviously the only one doing so. Thanks for your not so chichi recipe.

    • Jen

      I loved this recipe thanks for posting it. I couldn’t find my original one and wanted to stock up the freezer with muffins for the kids for school snacks, this was perfect thanks Anne!

  • jun

    hi clotilde! would really like to try this out … but what is the difference between baking soda and baking powder?

  • Meg – I can imagine the zucchini burnout syndrom! In passing, the lasagna idea sounds great, too…

    Renee – Chocolate carrot cake, that’s exactly the kind of texture we get here!

    Charlotte – The pound cake sounds luscious…

    Kristi – Summer zucchini are just so much tastier than out of season, it’s well worth the wait taste-wise too!

    Elise – Oh you really have to get back on the C&Z cake saddle! Do you recall your recipe being somewhat similar to this one?

    Elaine – Thanks for the very kind words! And… may I ask for the zucchini lemon muffin recipe? It’s very tempting!

    Alain – I’ll certainly take you up on your offer, I’d love to try a simple zucchini bread!

    Angela – Indeed, isn’t zucchini the most versatile of veggies? That about proves it! :)

    Deb – Glad you liked the idea! And I’m sure you’ll love the cake, do let us know if you try it!

    Anne – What a coincidence! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe. I like the idea of the cinnamon and cloves, and the addition of sour cream must be great, too. I’ll give it a try next time!

    Jun – They are both leavening agents, and baking powder is actually baking soda mixed with a dry acid. More info (on substitutes, etc.) can be found at but both can be found in the baking aisle of most grocery stores. Hope you like the cake!

  • kelli ann

    clotilde –

    just wanted to drop you a line – i made your fabulous cake 2 nights ago (late, which was a mistake for my general state of well-being, but passons – and it really is delicious. in fact, i have been inspired to organize a bake sale for my son’s daycare, so we can bring in a local musician and have a little concert! i’d like to work a cake walk in to the sale; either raffle off a cake or have an auction with bids. i have to find an irresistible recipe! something that’s really spectacular!

  • Kelli – I’m delighted you enjoyed the cake, and hope you have great success with your bake sale!

  • Dora

    Clotilde – First of all your website is wonderful. I live in the San Francisco Bay area and have a similar philosophy around food!

    I tried this recipe and everyone loved it. I think I’ll add more zucchini next time. I used a very large zucchini which may have given it a different moisture content. My zucchini was 4 lbs! They grow them big here!

    I’ll have to try more of your recipes. Thank you!

  • Dora – Delighted you tried and liked this, thanks for reporting back!

  • Hi Clotilde – I found the recipe for C&Z cake! and have dedicated it to you :-)

  • tasha

    i think that this cake looks wanderful and makes my mouth water by just looking at it. so WELL DONE

  • tasha

    would you like to be my email mate? if so reply my names tasha, whats yours?
    how old are you? do you live in dorset? if not were abouts do you live? i live in blandford, its a bit boring there.

  • Robin

    Hi Clotilde!
    I just want to inform you that your chocolate & zucchini cake was wonderful. I never thought zucchini would work in a cake, but this was among the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever tasted.
    Since I found no coffee granules I used cappucino powder, but it was fine that way, too.
    I have decided to try your other recipes as well.

  • Cris

    I am addicted to this recipe, but zucchini is out of season in Wisconsin. So I substituted peeled, grated beets for the zucchini. The result was an extremely dense, moist cake with a hint of the earthy flavor of beets. I covered it with a chocolate glaze. It was really good.

  • Miss Piggott

    This is the best chocolate cake I have ever baked… I made it twice: first time was good, but the second time was GRAND!
    I used a whole bag of baking powder (since the flour mixture and the zucchini exceeded 500 grams), put less than 170 grams of chocolate chips and added some milk because I thought the batter was a bit too dense this time. Well, the result was a 7 centimeters-high cake (and a very good-looking one I have to admit) that impressed just everyone!
    Thanks for this recipe Clotilde!

  • Kathryn

    Hi Clothilde,
    I plan to make this tomorrow – looks wonderful! I’m wondering about the type of brown sugar you use – cassonade? or where can you get light brown sugar in Paris?
    Thanks for so many special recipes and stories…

  • Salut!
    Just wanted to add that my mom made this cake once or twice when i was a kid, and I LOVED it. Haven’t had, or thought about, it for over 20 years, and despite seeing the name of your blog, I still didn’t make the connection until today… Thanks for rekindling a little bit of my childhood… zucchini are quite prolific in New England too.

  • Ms. Peh

    Dianna, the receipe for the chocolate-zuchini cake looks good and no doubt would be moist.

  • Prakash

    Hi, I stumbled onto this blog, and I am only a recent cook(6 months or so?) b/c I moved out of home, and I really want to cook good food. This recipe looks delicious, and I have seen numerous others, but I am a lacto-vegetarian so I don’t eat eggs( I cheat a bit in pastires, but I prefer not t ouse them in my cooking). Would anyone know of a good substitute for eggs in this recipe?

  • Marie

    I’e made zucchini bread and zucchini chocolate cake for years and love this recipe too! Good for you in trying new things. At 62, I’ve found I really enjoy finding new takes on old recipes & this is no exception. Thank you!

  • Martha Cavanagh

    I live in Tuscany and my l’orto is being taken over by zucchini. It’s amazing! They almost double in size overnight! And I can’t give them away because everybody else here has the same problem. So this cake was a real find. And totally decadent. The brown sugar topping is a nice touch. I didn’t have hazelnuts and used toasted almonds instead. This is a beautifully rich and moist cake. Thanks!

  • I read the blog, I attended the Berkeley book talk, I bought the book, and recently, I baked the C&Z cake (in a 9.25 loaf pan). I received rave reviews (from family and new acquaintances)!

  • Martha

    My husband and I chose chocolate zucchini cake for our wedding cake. The baker thought it sounded disgusting, but agreed to try it if we would agree to have some “normal” yellow cake as well. Of course the chocolate zucchini cake vanished as soon as it was served, and we were left with lots of yellow cake leftovers! CZ is a fabulous cake!

  • This was super-fun to make, and you’re right, it doesn’t taste like zucchini at all :) My only problem was that the cake is significantly taller in the middle than on the sides – so I had to bake it longer so it was thoroughly cooked in the middle – so the rest of it is dryer than it should be. Any ideas how to keep that from happening?

  • For a little extra flavoring, just add some pomegranate. You’d be surprised, and also it’s good for you being a superb antioxidant.

  • angie

    I used to make this cake (without the coffee powder) years ago, but lost the recipe. I saw your book in a shop and was amazed that it was the name of the missing cake, so logged on to your blog. I was thrilled to find this favourite there and instantly emailed your link to my daughter who is a keen gardener. I haven’t made it yet but plan to next week for my grand daughters birthday. Yippee

  • nicole

    this cake looks great. i want to make a small cake (7 inch springform) and was wondering if i can just half this recipe. has anyone done this before?


  • Joette

    Hi Clotilde,

    I’ve made this cake twice and it is truly amazing! I have to take it to work with me so I don’t eat it all! Looking forward to trying other recipes in your book.

  • this is an amazing cake – i just made it. i also found your stories about growing zucchini absolutely hilarious.

  • gildthatlily

    Hi Clotilde,

    I wanted to let you know that I made a vegan version of this cake by using non-dairy butter (Earth Balance brand) and Ener-G egg replacer. It was great! Everyone liked it (vegans and non-vegans alike).

  • Melinda Kirkpatrick

    Hi Clotilde!

    I have been looking forward to trying this recipe for so long. It is absolutely fabulous! I love the topping and the addition of the chocolate chips. I revised mine a bit by substituting half of the butter for sour cream and it worked nicely.



  • I think I’ll add more zucchini next time. I used a very large zucchini which may have given it a different moisture content.

  • Hi Clotilde, I tried this recipe with substitutions (like whole wheat pastry flour, canola oil instead of butter and Ener-G egg replacer). The cake came out very well. Thank you very much for this interesting recipe. I’ve also posted it my blog today.

  • Lauren

    This looks absolutely delicious. I add zucchini (or courgette, as we call it here) to pretty much everything but have never got round to adding it to a cake. I’ve been making a great (even if I say so myself!) chocolate yoghurt cake recently so may combine the two recipes and see how that comes out.

    Just one query; should you attempt to get the moisture out of the grated zucchini first, like you would for fritters, for example? Or is the slightly watery texture of zucchini (it’s amazing how much comes out when you grate it and then queeze it in a teatowel!) exactly what makes the cake so moist?

    Any responses gratefully received! L :)

  • Lauren – Glad this inspires you! I don’t squeeze out the moisture from the grated zucchini: as you suggested, it’s what gives the cake its great texture. Let me know how it turns out if you try something similar!

  • Lauren

    Thank you for your response, Clothilde! I made this at the weekend and it went down a treat. I left off the topping in your recipe and added an American-style frosting of cream cheese, butter, icing sugar and cocoa, which I think went really well with the squidgy, not-too-sweet cake. The only thing I wasn’t 100% sure about was the addition of chocolate chips; I didn’t actually have chips so I just chopped some dark chocolate and added that. It it didn’t melt into the rest of the mixture perfectly, so I ended up with slightly dry chocolate bits that were kind of neither one thing nor the other; maybe I chopped the bits too big, not sure.

    I will definitely try it again and am also considering a courgette and carrot cake (with a cream cheese frosting, of course…most cakes I make are really just a vehicle for ganache or frosting…) – if anyone has tried something similar I’d be very interested to hear about it!

  • Elizabeth

    Made this last night, in a pinch when I couldn’t get hold of my mom to get her recipe, and had a 40 cm zucchini to use somehow — it’s wonderful. Thanks, Clotilde!

    I did squeeze the water from the zucchini and it was very moist. Didn’t have hazelnuts on hand so used ground almonds on top — still quite nice. Will try with hazelnuts next time.

  • karla ramirez

    This has become THE chocolate cake! The cake all other cakes have to measure up to now. Loved it, loved it, loved it!! Thank you so much Clotilde.

  • mmmm….! I made your cake this afternoon – windy and rainy Saturday after the market. I made it because the other day I realized I had too many zukes but today I went out in to the garden in my rubber boots and apron and NONE! I had one measly one on my counter. No matter – I made it with a cup of zucchini and a cup of grated carrot. No coffee crystals so used a vanilla lid of cold GOOD coffee and no hazlenuts so I used walnuts which I always have. It was SOOOOO good! And now I know I can make it with carrots which are always around!

  • terri

    I made this recipe for a friend who doesn’t eat dairy (eggs are fine), and substituted 1/2 cup of canola oil for the butter. I also used a technique that works for carrot cake, where you blend the eggs and sugar in the food processor, then add the oil in a thin stream. I find this helps the ingredients emulsify well, resulting in a lighter cake. The results were smashing!

  • Mary

    I’m making this cake for dinner guests tonight. I haven’t worked with hazelnuts before and was kind of in the dark re. how to toast them. Maybe I’m being silly and I’m the only one who didn’t know, but in case it could be helpful, I used this technique and it worked wonderfully.

  • Tammy

    As soon as I saw whole wheat and coffee (I have a recipe from a friend’s mother that puts coffee in chocolate cake and I have done it ever since!)in the ingredients, I knew this recipe was the ONE!! Like you, I usually read several recipes and come up with a version of my own. No need to do this when I saw yours.

    WONDERFUL recipe!!! I prefer spelt flour and instead of putting the full amount of chocolate chips in the cake, I used half in the topping. I chopped the nuts, sugar and ch. chips in mini food pro and it makes a really nice topping, although I might skip the sugar next time. Next time is coming real soon as I plan to make another two this week again. I doubled the recipe because my zuc was SO BIG. The recipe doubled very nicely!!

    My girls were thrilled that they were eating zucchini in a CAKE!!

    Thanks for such a great recipe ~ you have a new follower ;-).

  • I made this recently, so very good and went down a storm when I took it into work – no one would believe that it was the ‘Courgette Cake’ I’d been talking about.

  • I made it and it turned out to be absolutely marvelous! I found this recipe thank to one blogger girl from Poland.

    I followed your recipe (except for 1 tablespoon of coffee as I didn’t have it at home).

    This cake is moist and very chocolate. Zuccichi is a wonderful secret ingredient of it. I will definately recommend it.

  • Thanks so much for reporting back on this recipe, I’m delighted you like it!

  • therese

    More than ten years after you first posted the recipe and I just made this cake for the second time – it’s perfect! I didn’t even squeeze the excess moisture out of the zucchini (which was less than 2 cups, finely grated). I just changed the vanilla to orange.

  • Mary

    Is it me, or did the hazelnut topping get removed? I really enjoyed the topping, but now I’ll be trying the cake without it. I’m sure it will still be delicious!

    • I had a more recent and better-looking photo without the hazelnut topping, so I amended the recipe.

  • I stumbled on your site two days back. I made your chocolate zucchini cake. I didn’t have a springform pan and I was afraid to use 8 1/2″ square pan thinking it’ll overflow. I should’ve used 7 X 11 but used 9 X 13 instead. Cake didn’t fill the entire pan (that was expected since there wasn’t much batter) but baked very well. I don’t eat anything with eggs, but my kids are waiting for me to cut the cake. Thanks for a nice recipe.

  • I blogged about this. I have given your link. Thanks for a wonderful recipe.

  • Wendy

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous cake! I too didn’t have a springform pan but I baked it in a ring pan and it turned out perfectly. I’ve blogged about it if you are interested.
    Will definitely be making this again and again.

  • This recipe is my favorite use for zucchini ever! It is such a simple, delicious option and easy to bake with my kids. We like to top it with powdered sugar and fresh rose petals from the garden. Thank you!

    • Love the rose petal idea! I assume you’re adding them on top of the baked and cooled cake? Or do you bake the cake with them?

  • I’ve done a version using Maïzena and corn flour, almond powder and Tonka. Delicious for kids and adults ! See here.

  • ff

    Just made this with an overgrown zucchini that a neighbor begged me to rescue. It came out great & was a big hit — moist, rich, deep dark chocolate flavor (thanks to the coffee, I expect).

    My audience always demands icing & I thought ganache would work well on this. But I had no cream, so I tried Paula Deen’s version with evaporated milk, butter, sugar, & chocolate chips — very good.

    Thanks very much for the lovely, easy recipe.

  • I would be curious to know if you have ever tried this as gluten-free recipe. I have access to corn and rice flour; ground almonds – most of the time. Any suggestions?

    • I’ve never made a gluten-free version of this cake, and have little experience in that kind of conversion, so I can’t offer guidance, sorry.

  • You have a smashing recipe here. It came out great with the following modifications –
    Whole wheat flour – atta (used for making Indian rotis), instead of your all purpose flour
    Less than 2 cups zucchini
    No baking soda, so increased baking powder randomly
    Normal salt used for cooking, no sea salt
    Our usual granulated white sugar (yours is much finer but less sweet)
    Soyabean oil instead of butter/olive oil
    Synthetic vanilla flavouring instead of pure essence
    Some drinking chocolate and broken Cadbury milk chocolate bars – hardly one third cup instead of chocolate chips
    Added milk to make it thinner
    In the absence of oven, baked in microwave on high for 4 min in two batches.
    Lots of changes, no? Like I said, a wonderful recipe because it still came out wonderfully tasty! Just a little bit less sweet for we are a sweet toothed people :)

    Thanks a ton!

    And, reading through the comments, the hazelnuts foxed me till I read your explanation :)

    • Indeed, you’ve really turned this recipe on its head! I’m glad you had good results, thanks for sharing!

  • I’ve just made this, it’s yummy! Thank you for the recipe, the cake is really moist and tastes great.

  • Sally

    I love this cake. I have made it every year since the first time you published it on line. I am a twin; and this cake is our birthday treat every year. I need a chocolate cake now though and have no chocolate chips. How can I make the recipe any way? Thanks. sjbmouse

    • Sorry for the belated response. You can definitely replace the chocolate chips with roughly chopped chocolate. In fact, it’s how I always make it as I am weary of chocolate chips and the weird additives in them.

  • I’ve tried your recipe. It’s great!
    I have a Turkish blog. I’m going to publish this recipe on my blog! Thank you very much!

  • Lilluz

    Salut Clotilde! My friend just gave me heaps of zucchinis and I am planning to try making this cake. I have one question though: Do I need to squeeze out the moisture from the shredded zucchini before using it? Thank you :)

    • No, no need to squeeze the juices out of the grated zucchini — it’s precisely what will make the cake moist.

  • TBC

    Using your recipe as a reference point and changing a few things about it, I made an orange-flavored version of your cake. It was delicious.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Sounds lovely, thanks for sharing your version!

  • Katie Pace

    Hi Coltilde,I dearly love this recipe. I made it several times last year. I have been watching the zucchini daily,just waiting for it to be ready, just for this recipe.Also,I would like to tell you how excited I get each time I see your newsletter in my in-box . I recieve many food newsletters but yours is by far my favorite . So many wonderful things to read and see ! Thank you so much ! Katie

  • Charity

    Just curious– has anyone tried making this with yellow summer squash instead of zucchini? I have a lot of that too.

    • It works with any type of summer squash. Happy baking!

  • Joan

    Don’t know what happened. I’m not a baking neophyte but this cake turned out very badly. I followed the recipe exactly, the batter was super thick, and I baked it in a springform pan. It was very dry and not very chocolaty despite smelling great while it was in the oven. A big disappointment! Any suggestions? I see the other people’s raves…

    • I’m sorry you didn’t have good success with this recipe, Joan. From what you describe, it’s possible that you measured too much flour into the batter. I imagine you measured it by volume? If you have a scale and are willing to give the recipe another try, I’d recommend you try measuring the flour by weight instead.

    • Elaine Marie

      Zucchini can vary greatly in amount of moisture. A fresh one from the garden will have much more than an older store bought one. In reading the above comments, it turns out that many people found the batter to be quite thick – no doubt because of the varying water content of their zucchinis. Add a bit of milk or water to the batter to get the right consistency and it should turn out fine.

      • That’s an excellent point, Elaine Marie, thank you.

  • Suzanne

    I made a gluten-free version of this cake last week and it turned out beautifully. I actually had to make it dairy- and egg-free as well, so I made it with a gf flour mix, coconut oil, and flax seeds (1T flax meal + 3T warm water = 1 egg). We all loved it. Thanks!

    • That’s great to hear, Suzanne, thanks for sharing your modifications!

  • Thomas Reich

    I just made this cake today as I had quite a few Zucchini’s left from the garden. Cake came out very nice. Fluffy, moist and rich in chocolate taste. My kids loved it as well.

  • Paul

    Thanks for your recipe. I have been cooking it for the past 3 years and as a mere male contributor to the world of culinary delight i must say it has been a hit – from midnight feasts on night duty with hungry teams on patrol to intimate family gatherings. I have had a little trouble ensuring that it is not overcooked or the middle uncooked mixture as i cook it in one hit. thanks.

    • Wonderful to hear, Paul, thanks for reporting back!

  • Mari

    Hii there. I made this and followed the recipe exactly. I didn’t have extra chocolate or chocolate chips so I left them out. Thought people would think it wasn’t sweet enough. I was wrong, the loved it!!!! Next time I will try without squeezing the water out of the zuchini. I’ll see how that turns out. Thank u so much.

    • Happy to hear it, Mari, thanks for reporting back!

  • Roudie

    Bonjour Clotilde!

    I tried this recipe last week with a glut of Zucchinis from the veg garden I look after in Australia. Delicious!! I used a product called Rice Bran Oil in place of the butter and whizzed up the chocolate in a food processor before mixing. Looking forward to trying more Zook recipes especially the Zook/Polenta tart. Cornmeal is mentioned in the ingredients but not in the method. I assume you just mix it in with the polenta? Merci!!

    • Happy to hear it, thank you! Regarding the polenta tart, in the recipe I was using the term polenta and cornmeal interchangeably — I’ve updated the method to use cornmeal throughout.

  • Ming

    I have been wanting to make the cake for a while but was busy with a test. Then I got my new mini bundt cake mold. I just can’t wait after the test to make it.. So I made them yesterday. Cut the recipe to half and used 1 egg. It was really delicious – soft inside with a little bit firmer crust outside. I made zucchini bread with walnuts before – that was a moisture denser quick bread taste. This one, in contrast, is truelly a cake – a well balance among soft,fluffy, moisture and a little bit cruchy-ish outside(is it supposed to be??). This is the “make you feel good in the bad day” cake. Highly recommended. Thanks, Clotilde!

    • Delighted to hear it, Ming. Hope you score well on your test!

  • Gail

    This cake is SO GOOD! I’m making it for the second time now that I have loads of giant zucchini from my garden that need to be dealt with! I have a question though: how do you think this cake would freeze? I’d like to pop it into the freezer after it cools and bring it for my mom and sisters to try when I see them next week on vacation. Has anyone tried freezing it? Do cakes generally freeze well? Cookies, yes, but cakes? THanks so much – I love your blog!

    • I’m sure this cake freezes perfectly — in general, simple cakes such as this one freeze beautifully (without frosting, etc. of course).

  • Jamie

    wow ! i was skeptical i will admit that but im very happy to say this is simply the BEST choc cake i have EVER had .. mine stayed gooey where some of the choc chips where ooh made it almost like brownies .. was in complete heaven !! dusted it with a bit of vittoria white drinking choc powder .. oh and the big bonus hubby and all 5 kids LOVED it too !! thankyou for such an awesome recipe that will now be a weekly fix :-D

    • I’m delighted, Jamie, thanks for reporting back!

  • Sus

    Help! I made this according to the recipe (with premium ingredients as I wanted this cake to be special), but with dark chocolate instead of chocolate chips and I’ve been told it’s my worst creation (not sweet enough and couldn’t taste the zucchini)!

    Is there anyway to save it like mix the finished goods with a sweeter batter and rebake it? Or just mix it with a mousse and serve it as a pudding?

    Also, were the 2 c. of zucchini supposed to be packed or just grated as is? I assumed the latter, but when I packed it, it was more like 1.6 cups, but I can’t imagine this being the culprit. I usually cut the sugar in most recipes by a half to a third, but since this was my first time making this, I followed the directions using 1 cup brown sugar, so I’m assuming it was the chocolate chips that ruined it. Such a shame as I was looking forward to this!

    • I am very sorry this didn’t turn out the way you expected, Sus. I’ll try to help as I can.

      Regarding the zucchini flavor, it is normal that you can’t taste it: the zucchini is here to provide a fluffy, moist consistency, but its flavor is too mild to get through the chocolate flavor. You were correct in measuring the 2 cups grated as is, not packed.

      As for the sugar, I also make this cake with chopped dark chocolate most of the time, and I find it is just the right sweetness for me and the people I share it with, but that’s completely subjective of course.

      There are several ways you can still enjoy the cake despite it not being sweet enough for your taste: I wouldn’t rebake it, but you can frost or glaze it with a sweet frosting/glaze, or you can serve it with a custard sauce that will be sweeter than you would normally make it. You could also incorporate it into a trifle — again, sweetening the cream or yogurt a bit more.

      I hope that helps!

  • Susan

    Thanks, I meant to say that we could taste the zucchini. My hubby and I have never been too critical of my baking and I’ve always been a bit adventurous, so was a bit disappointed in how it came out, but I think I figured out what went wrong…

    For the scant cup if brown sugar, should that have been packed? I tasted the batter when I was cleaning and it was pretty bad, just thinking if I had checked it before putting it in the oven, I could have added more sugar if it wasn’t sweet enough.

    But really the issue was probably the zucchini, because when I washed the grater, I noticed that it had a strong zucchini smell so I guess I shouldn’t try saving it. ;( but I’m looking forward to making this again (and will def check the zucchini and batter next time =))!

    • Got it. It’s indeed possible that the zucchini you used was a little off. Occasionally they can be on the strong and bitter side, especially the big/overgrown ones.

      As for the brown sugar, yes, it should have been packed. I’ve updated the recipe to clarify that — thanks for pointing it out. If you happen to have a scale that you can use next time, using weight measurements is always more reliable for baking.

      I hope the second time is the charm! :)

      • Shannon McCartney

        I made my usual fall zucchini muffins once and although they looked and smelled wonderful, they had a horribly bitter aftertaste. Now I know why. Unfotunately, I had mixed 4 batches 😕 Looking forward to trying this recipe.

  • Jane

    Hi Clotilde, I found this recipe just by pure luck as I had heard of chocolate and zucchini cake so was searching for one! I am so looking forward to making it for my super health conscious daughter in law for her birthday. Can I use a bundt tin
    to make it look a bit fancy?!

    • Absolutely, you can! Do report back on how you like it.

  • Smee

    I just made this to use up the last of my courgettes from this year. I made this gluten-free, sugar-free AND dairy-free by using buckwheat flour, coconut sugar and coconut oil. I also used 100% cacao chocolate. It is delicious. Merci!

    • So good to hear, thanks for reporting back!

  • Rebecca

    10 years on this recipe continues to impress! In fact, I do believe it is the best chocolate cake I have ever made or eaten! Hands down! SO moist, not too sweet, insanely chocolatey! This will be going into my recipe book and I won’t ever need to google a zucchini chocolate cake recipe again! Merci!

    • Thank you, Rebecca, for such high praise! I love it too, so it means a lot to me.

  • YuChi

    I bought your book 2 years ago and since then I ve tried many recipes. I love your recipes! I ve made your version of zucchini and chocolate a few times already. A friend of mine who doesnt liket zucchini didnt even realize she was eating zucchini with this cake. She was converted ever since! hehehe

  • Dane Kimball

    Zucchini cake is one of my favorite deserts. My wife makes a really good zucchini cake, but it doesn’t have chocolate in it. I should tell her about this because I bet she would like the chocolate zucchini cake better.

  • Hey Clotilde,

    this cake sounds so amazing! I will try to bake it tomorrow :)
    Can I replace the butter by coconut oil? What do you think? It would be perfect then ♥
    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!


  • Catherine

    Help! How much flour do you use? It’s not listed on the ingredients…

    • Thanks for alerting me to this — a formatting hiccup had placed the flour amount on the same line as the butter. You need 240 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour for this cake.

  • Shara Cameron

    Great cake, thanks! After my daughter’s second slice I told her it had zucchini in it and she said “yeah, I know”. She called it mud cake which I think is a good description, so chocolatey and moist, and we loved the choc bits.

  • Tia NKB

    Many years ago I was searching the web for chocolate zucchini cake recipes and I stumbled upon your blog. It has been my favorite ever since. I have not tried this recipe but I will today! I plan to use cassava flour because I cannot have gluten. Thanks for the many years of great recipes.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Tia, and the cassava flour tip!

  • I made this cake for the first time yesterday. It’s great and was a real success, I’ll definitely make it again.

    I took a risk and made it using the all-in-one method in my Magimix. I grated the zucchini in the Magimix, put it in a sieve, while I threw everything else into the bowl and processed it, then mixed it together with the zucchini in a large bowl. It worked. Not the most suitable cake for a pool party, with 6 small children, in temperatures of 34c, but they were able to wash the chocolate off their faces in the pool. I have a question – where does the zucchini go?

    • Thanks so much for your feedback! As for the zucchini, the strands simply dissolve into the batter, bringing moisture and fiber to it.

  • Renee

    Any suggestions to make this cake gf?

    • Suzannah Kolbeck

      I have a GF flour blend that I made that subs cup-for-cup in this recipe (and most others) without any additions.

      • Renee

        Thanks for your suggestion!

        • Suzannah Kolbeck

          You are welcome; I just made this cake today and it was amazing. I had frozen zucchini from last summer, and I thawed and drained it, then cooked this in a bundt pan and sifted powdered sugar at the end. Deeply chocolate-y and not too sweet. Very, very good.

          • Renee

            Sounds good. I like that it’s not sweet too

          • I’m so pleased to hear it, Suzannah!

      • Thank you for your help Suzannah!

        • Suzannah Kolbeck

          My pleasure. Copying from my reply below to Renee:

          “I just made this cake today (with my GF flour) and it was amazing. I had frozen zucchini from last summer, and I thawed and drained it, then cooked this in a bundt pan and sifted powdered sugar at the end. Deeply chocolate-y and not too sweet. Very, very good.”

  • Elle

    Thank you for your wonderful recipes. I look forward to making them with my daughter. My family and I just moved to Paris from San Francisco. We are having a challenge locating almond butter (preferably in organic) and baking powder (French name is helpful too). We managed to located baking soda at the near Carrefour (ahh- success!) Also, what type of flour do your recommend for baking these tasty desserts? The other day we made chocolate chip cookies but they turned out very flat. We used flour labeled Type 65. Thank you for your help. We live in the 7eme.

    • Welcome to Paris! :)

      You can find almond butter at any organic store (Naturalia, Bio C’ Bon, La Vie Claire, Biocoop…).

      I typically use T65 organic flour as well. French flour is pretty different from US flour (different wheat variety) so you can’t expect to have the exact same results that you had back in the US with the same recipes. This is the recipe I use for perfect chocolate chip cookies!

      If you are ever interested in doing a private food tour with me, please get in touch — I frequently have newly settled expats on my tour and it’s a good way for them to get oriented and have all of their most pressing food questions answered. :) You can drop me a note here:

  • Terramom

    I love this blog post and am anxious to get back to it later to dig into the topics. Je me demande lequel est ton mot moins prefere dans la langue Francais. (I am not sure how to say that–I was just translating directly from English, obviously!) Plus, no accents available here. :(

  • Terramom

    I listened to the podcast. I won’t spoil the fun, but I will say, how ironic! Your English is amazing–you have hardly any accent at all.

    • Ha ha yes, I am aware of the irony! And I’ve been carrying this dislike for the past 14 years. :)

  • jennifer moffitt

    I have always loved this cake! A question: I have a surplus of cooked spaghetti squash and was thinking of using that to make a variation of this cake. Do you think the fact that the squash is cooked would throw things off?

    • I think it’s worth trying! Be sure to squeeze the moisture out of the squash well.

  • This is a Mouthwatering recipe, I love chocolate and must try it, thanks for sharing.

  • Lyf

    I cannot wait to make this cake for a friend’s birthday this weekend. Just question – should I bake it the night before or in the morning? Does it improve overtime or best eaten fresh?

    • I would bake it fresh to serve to friends, but it’s still wonderful the next day!

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