Chocolate Zucchini Cake


Last week my coworker Christine gave me two ginormous zucchini. Perfect! I have a ton of recipes or recipes in mind that use zucchini. The first one that popped into my mind was my mom’s family-famous chocolate zucchini cake. I made it my own by topping it with a chocolate icing.

I’m not usually a fan of any cake other than a layer cake. But I grew up eating one-layer rectangular cakes at birthdays and holidays so I can draw on many a one-layer cake when pulling out family-favorite recipes. I decided I wanted to make this cake round instead of rectangular. If I’m having a one-layer cake, I guess I prefer to eat triangular pieces. I figured my 10-inch springform pan would work beautifully.

I was wrong. I always have trouble with that damn pan, especially when trying to ‘frost’ a cake while the cake is still in the pan. My cake took forever to bake because of the size of the pan and the depth of the batter, so it turned out a bit dry around the edge but very moist (even slightly un-done) in the middle. And then after icing the cake (I stupidly doubled the recipe), the icing clung to the sides of the pan when I tried to remove the outside ring which meant that it ripped from the sides of the cake in parts leaving a jagged looking outside edge. Not very pretty.

I do believe the icing was a great addition to an already awesome cake. I should have, however, stuck with the rectangular version. Next time around I will. Going rogue with the size and shape of the pan for this cake is an example of my anything-you-can-do-I can-do-better competitive mentality. Not that I think my mom’s cake needs improving upon – I just want to make the best possible version of my mom’s cake. The lesson here is: Sometimes it doesn’t pay to mess with a good thing.


  • ½ c. oil
  • ½ c. vegetable shortening
  • 1-⅓ c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ c. buttermilk
  • 2-½ c. flour
  • 4 T. Cocoa
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. peeled, shredded zucchini
  • ½ c. chocolate chips (my mom uses more; so do I)
  • ½ c. chopped walnuts (my mom uses more, I omit)

icing ingredients.

  • ½ c. vegetable shortening or margarine
  • 4 T. cocoa powder
  • 6 T. half-and-half or milk
  • 3 to 4 c. powdered sugar


  1. Cream margarine, oil, and sugar. Add in eggs and vanilla and beat well. Combine all dry ingredients. Add buttermilk alternately with flour mixture. Stir in zucchini
  2. Pour in 9 x 11 pan (My mom uses a slightly larger cake pan), sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts evenly over top of cake.
  3. Bake in preheated 325-degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until done.
  4. While the cake is baking make the icing by mixing the shortening, cocoa powder and milk while bringing to a boil and adding the powdered sugar. Whisk vigorously to destroy lumps. As soon as you’ve removed the cake from the oven pour the icing on top.

Optional to the icing: After cake is cooled slightly, my mom sprinkles the top with powder sugar.

Recipe rating: 



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