Chocolate Zucchini Cake

This chocolate zucchini cake has to be one of the most delicious chocolate cakes ever! It's light and airy, but moist  at the same time, and very easy to make.... We filled and topped it with a chocolate ganache frosting and it was superb.

What a marvellous way to use a glut of zucchinis in the late summer. Once the cake bakes, there is no trace of the zucchini, but it makes the cake beautifully moist.

The cake itself does not taste very chocolatey and it is not overly sweet - which is why I think it needs the chocolate ganache topping. In terms of texture, it is somewhere between a carrot cake and a traditional sponge cake.

Chocolate zucchini cake is delicious the next day too, which makes it convenient in terms of advanced preparation for a tea party. However, the chocolate ganache topping will not do well in the fridge. It will lose its shine.

I found this recipe on, which is a wonderful site all about cake. We tried the original frosting, but found it just too sweet. So we used an alternative chocolate ganache topping.

Also, the original recipe makes an enormous 9x13 rectangular cake. We halved the recipe to make an 8 inch round cake, which was perfect for afternoon tea. You really do need a deep cake pan for this cake. The tin must be at least 2 inches deep, or the cake will overflow. The walnuts are optional - we chose to leave them out.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Level: Cake is easy
ganache is intermediate
Time: 1 hr to make and bake.
Allow 3 hrs total to serving time.
Serves 12 (small slices)

175g (1 cup) all-purpose (plain)
white flour
225g (1 cup) white sugar
40g  (1/3 cup) unsweetened
cocoa powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
175ml (3/4 cup) vegetable oil
225g (1 1/2 cups) grated zucchini
45g (1/3 cup) chopped walnuts

Suggested toppings: Chocolate ganache topping. I love it so much with this, that I've never tried it with anything else! You need 2 times the quantity of chocolate ganache topping to cover and fill this cake.

You can choose to use a different filling if you like, such as chocolate butter frosting with a little cream whipped in.

  • Set the oven to 350F, gas mark 4.

  • Grease an 8inch round x 2 or 3 inch deep cake pan. Line the base with parchment paper. If you only have shallow pans, divide the cake between 2 pans. This is a very loose batter, and I would hesitate to use a loose-bottomed pan unless it was spring formed.

  • In a large mixing bowl, put in the ingredients one by one. You really don't need a mixer for this. It mixes together very easily with just a spoon. Stir each ingredient in as you add it. Once all mixed together, the mixture will be quite runny and there should be no sign of any flour.

  • Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 45-50 minutes. The cake will spring back when touched lightly when it is ready. Take the cake out of the tin as soon as you can using oven gloves to protect your hands. Leave the beautifully baked chocolate zucchini cake until it is cool before removing from the pan.

  • Once the cake is completely cooled, you can top it.

  • If using ganache topping, which runs down the side of the cake, then you should place the cake on the serving plate or cake stand. Use five pieces of parchment paper or foil to put underneath the cake, like the petals of a flower. These can then be removed easily when the frosting is set and the serving plate will be clean from frosting.

  • Cut the cake horizontally. Take about 1/4 of the ganache and sandwich the cakes together. Use the rest of the frosting to carefully cover the top and sides of the cake. Spread it with a palette knife.
Here's a great palette knife from Amazon if you don't already have one. Allow the cake to set for around half an hour. You can keep it in a coolish place - but not in the fridge, or it will lose its shine.

Serve with

This cake is fabulous with fresh mint tea or a nice pot of Earl Grey. It is a fairly rich cake, and so we tend to have just cake and tea when we serve chocolate zucchini cake.

However, if it was part of a full afternoon tea spread, I would serve it with ham sandwiches, tomato sandwiches, buttermilk scones served with butter and cream and Earl Grey or English breakfast tea.

If you loved our chocolate zucchini cake, you might love triple chocolate mousse cake.