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Yummy Zucchini Chocolate Cake

As a confirmed chocoholic, this is my all-time favorite treat. I found the original recipe more than 20 years ago, but have lightened it up quite a bit. Everyone asks for the recipe, and no one suspects that it's lighter than most chocolate cakes. —Carleta Foltz, Sunrise Beach, Missouri
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Bake: 30 min.
  • Makes
    18 servings


  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 13x9-in. baking pan with cooking spray.
  • Beat sugar and oil on medium speed 1 minute. Add eggs, applesauce and vanilla; beat 1 minute. In another bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; add to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating just until blended. Stir in zucchini.
  • Transfer to prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and pecans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 10-15 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
Editor's Note
To toast nuts, bake in a shallow pan in a 350° oven for 5-10 minutes or cook in a skillet over low heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
Nutrition Facts
1 piece: 285 calories, 12g fat (3g saturated fat), 21mg cholesterol, 159mg sodium, 43g carbohydrate (27g sugars, 2g fiber), 4g protein.
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Average Rating:
  • 7833louis
    Apr 16, 2020

    Absolutely has turned into my favorite cake! (although I did decrease the sugar to 1 heaping cup).

  • gaylene2
    Dec 5, 2019

    If I see BUTTERMILK in a baking recipe, I'm interested! That always seems to make for a moister product! My family liked this very much. Even the little ones stole little pieces from the table. That's a good sign!

  • Julia
    Aug 29, 2019

    How can you possibly call this sugar laden cake healthy? Just because it has zucchini in it, doesn't mean it's healthy.

  • paula
    Jul 10, 2019

    I originally made this to use up some zucchini but WOW! I have made it 3 times in 2 weeks, My family thinks it maybe one of the best things they've ever had. We are sad when it is all gone...until the next time!

  • shannondobos
    Sep 28, 2018

    I made this cake twice this summer, and got rave reviews each time. It will replace my old chocolate zucchini cake recipe (sorry, mom!) However, I recommend adding the chocolate chips to the top prior to baking. They don't sink to the bottom, so it's just easier than adding after 20 mins of baking. The first time I made this cake I added them at the 20 minute mark as directed, but because the cake had a slight rounded shape in the middle and the top already was starting to firm up, the chocolate chips just rolled to the edges and didn't adhere to the middle. It was still great, but it made the edge pieces extra chocolaty and the middle with almost none. Just add them before you bake.

  • meliss.beyer
    Jun 23, 2018

    I wanted to try something different using zucchini and came across this recipe. I cut it in half and baked it in an 8 by 8 pan. In general, the cake was simple enough to make. I liked that the topping wasn't frosting. The actual cake could have had more chocolate for and it seemed to take quite a bit longer to bake. Overall, I'd make it again and maybe add chocolate chips to the actually cake batter.

  • P vinod
    Feb 25, 2018

    Will try to make the zucchini chocolate cake made at home or will try to get it from large cakes-thanks for the recipe.

  • Wakeshia85
    Jun 19, 2016

    This recipe is amazing! Made it for the family over the weekend and it was a big hit.

  • keverwann
    Jun 19, 2016

    Followed the instructions to a T. It has a nice crumb and rose nicely. It wasn't super moist, the chocolate flavor wasn't deep or pronounced, and the toppings didn't stick to the top (the crust was set by 20 minutes) or melt. Good vanilla ice cream made it better, but on its own it was very disappointing. I am really disappointed with the Taste of Home recipes that I have tried recently. Maybe my tastes have changed, but it seems like the TOH recipes I made 7 years ago were better.

  • milltownt
    Jun 15, 2016

    I recently made these as cup cakes for a bake sale. A lot of work but so lovely!