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Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Custard Sauce

The minute I can get my hands on zucchini, I start making this light and luscious cake. For years it was an often-ordered dessert at my sister's deli. —Peggy Linton, Cobourg, Ontario
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Bake: 55 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    16 servings


  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups finely shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract


  • Preheat oven to 325°. Grease and flour a 10-in. plain or fluted tube pan. In another bowl, beat sugar, oil and butter until well blended. Gradually beat in buttermilk, eggs and vanilla.
  • In another bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves; gradually beat into sugar mixture. Stir in zucchini, chocolate chips and almonds.
  • Transfer to prepared pan. Bake 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool.
  • For sauce, in a large saucepan, mix sugar, flour and cornstarch. Whisk in milk. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.
  • In a small bowl, whisk a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks; return all to pan, whisking constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes. Gently stir in butter and extract. Serve warm with cake. Cover and refrigerate leftover sauce.
Editor’s Note: For easier removal of cakes, use solid shortening to grease plain and fluted tube pans.

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  • pattiejean
    Sep 10, 2019

    This cake is light, chocolatey, moist, and delicious! I made the recipe as written. I found it took longer than 2 minutes for the custard sauce to reach desired thickness. The sauce really added a special decadence to a truly great cake!

  • VictoriaElaine
    Sep 26, 2015

    After reading the reviews, I doubled the baking cocoa to 1/2 cup and left out the cloves. I also added extra chocolate chips. My experience with these types of cakes is that the canola oil can make them greasy, so I used 1/2 cup butter and 1/4 cup canola oil. I was very happy with the results - the cake turned out very chocolately and moist. i did not make the custard sauce.

  • MarlaK
    Aug 23, 2015

    I made this cake tonight and it was delicious! I read all the reviews first and tried to compensate where I though was needed based on what they said. I read there was a potential lack of flavor and not a strong chocolate taste so I scantly doubled the cocoa, 3-4X the cinnamon, doubled the vanilla, decreased the oil to a couple of TBS, and increased the butter to 1 1/2 cups. I kept the sauce the same except slightly increased the almond extract. My changes may sound extreme but it really was a remarkable cake. My in-laws, husband and even all the kids (youngest is 6) loved it. I, too, thickened my sauce a bit more and put it over individual pieces. Serving this one warm is the way to go. A definite keeper.

  • Nana6367
    Aug 9, 2014

    This cake is extremely good. Instead of putting the sauce over the whole cake I put it on as I served it. The sauce seems to break down by the next day so the second time I made it I made the sauce a little thicker. Worked much better. Everyone loved it. My chocolate loving family loved it especially.

  • stayathomemom0105
    Aug 6, 2014

    The cake and sauce was good while it was warm. I thought the cake was good. Next time I wont put the sauce over the whole cake, just as it is cut and served.

  • Shoby
    Aug 6, 2014

    NOT a good cake. Very dense, as cakes from scratch often are. However, it has so little flavor, you can't even tell it's chocolate. My kids said " I thought you said it was chocolate". That about sums it up, except for the sauce, this also had so little flavor, had to add vanilla, which end help a bit, but the other reviews are right, it really does not go with the cake at all.

  • ruthrod
    Jul 28, 2014

    This is close to a 70yr old recipe I got from my mother, I KNOW it is exceptional.

  • tsuop
    Jul 28, 2014

    I can't wait to try this, I make a similar cake in a 9 x 13 with the choc. chips on top. This is an "upgrade" with the fluted pan and sauce. Caution be sure to bake at 325* or it will be dry. I'm giving it 5 stars because it's so close to my recipe. My grandson , who dosen't "like veggies" loves this cake.

  • papotts
    Jul 15, 2014

    The cake was dry and bland. The custard sauce did not go with the cake. Threw out most of the cake along with the recipe. Used the custard and other ingredients to make popsicles.

  • toolbarsco
    Jun 5, 2014

    We really enjoyed this cake. Did not make the custard sauce but served with whipped cream. Yummy.