Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Dark Chocolate Icing

There are a lot of things I’m terrible at.

I’m awkward when meeting someone for the first time; saying what immediately pops into my mind. “Oh, you’re from Arizona? Does that mean you grew up with crystals and learning about energy fields?”

Every other driver is ‘Dude’ when I’m behind the wheel (especially when the try to cut me off). “Dude…Dude…Dude! Were you even looking?!”

And general housekeeping is beyond me.  I rarely (if ever) vacuum, I hate doing the dishes, and I can’t fold a fitted sheet.  Seriously, those elasticated corners? Worse than figuring out a rubix cube.

Right now you’re thinking Roo is one lucky guy, right?

But I can make cake.

Really good chocolate cake.

This cake is rich, moist and absolutely packed to the brim with zucchini.  I love the dark chocolate icing, as it’s rich and almost fudge-like.  This cake is luscious, easy to make, and I’ll admit to eating it for both breakfast and dessert.

This cake does not last in our apartment.  We always find an excuse to eat more cake.

Adapted from Roo’s Chocolate Cake


9″ springform cake pan (You could use a smaller cake pan, however I would advise only filling it three quarters of the way and using the rest of the batter for muffins/another cake pan. This recipe works great with two loaf pans.  Please be sure to adjust your baking time.)

Food processor or hand grater

A colander (and a sink to put it in to allow the zucchini to drain)

Two large bowls

Fine mesh strainer (to de-lump the cocoa powder)



Parchment paper, or butter and flour to grease your cake pan


For the Cake

3 tablespoons ground flax seed and half a cup plus 1 tablespoon of warm water, mixed and set aside

2 cups of sugar (this makes a slightly sweet cake, if you’d like something sweeter, use more than 2 cups)

1 cup of olive oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 – 4 cups of grated/fine shred in the food processor zucchini, not packed (I prefer 4 cups as it tastes richer, but 3 will suffice if that’s all you have.  More than 4 and you will get gummy cake. I’ve been greedy and tried four and a half cups and regretted it every time.)

Three cups whole wheat pastry flour (you could use all purpose)

Half cup (non-dutch processed) unsweetened cocoa powder

2 rounded teaspoons baking soda

Quarter teaspoon fine sea salt

For the Icing (optional but it’s really, really good)

Quarter cup of unsweetened, unflavored soy milk (or your choice of unsweetened, unflavored non-dairy milk)

One and a half cups of powdered sugar

Half cup of cocoa powder

Place the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350F.  Line the cake pan with parchment paper, or butter and flour the cake pan.  I highly recommend the parchment paper as it’s easy clean up.  I have not made this recipe using butter and flour, so I can’t say whether or not the cake will get stuck in the pan.  With parchment, it’s lifts right out.

With a food processor (“fine shred” disk side up) or a hand grater, grate the zucchini until you have four cups worth.  Set aside in a colander (allowing some liquid to drain) in a sink. *Your zucchini should still feel moist. Fresh zucchini has a lot of liquid in it.  If your zucchini is old, and feels dry, you will have a dry cake. I’m sorry. It’s a major bummer. You could try saving it by tossing it with some water so that it feels moist.

Mix the flax seed mixture and sugar in a large bowl.  Add the oil and then the vanilla extract.  It will look like an oily mess at first, but keep going, it’ll eventually come together.  Take your spatula and be sure the scrape the bowl down the sides of the bowl and back up.

In the other large bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, and salt with a whisk.  Pour the cocoa powder into your fine mesh strainer, tap it out to let it fall (lump free) into the bowl.  Whisk the ingredients till combined. Set aside.

Stir the zucchini in to your wet ingredients till combined.  Take your spatula and scrape the down the sides of the bowl and back up.

In increments, add the dry ingredients to the wet.  I usually add the dry to the wet in two parts.  I add the dry ingredients, then stir until they’re just combined, and then add the second half, and stir till just combined again.  Again, take your spatula and scrape the bowl to ensure that all ingredients (ie there isn’t a wet pool underneath everything else at the bottom of your bowl) are combined.

Fill the cake pan with the thick batter.  Place into the oven and bake for 45 – 60 minutes (For me, the cake is fully baked at the 45 minute marker with 3 cups of zucchini {with 4, it took about an hour}) or until a cake tester (like a toothpick) comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. Check every five minutes until the cake is done as you do not want to over bake this cake.  The cake should feel firm and have a light spring-back to it when you lightly press down on it (but be careful, do not burn your fingers!).

Remove the cake from the oven when done and allow to cool to room temperature.

Even if you’re not making the icing, please do not slice it till it’s cooled to room temperature.  Otherwise, you’ll have crumbly pieces.

If you’re making the icing…

When the cake is at room temperature, start making the icing.  (Do not make the icing and let it sit for a while as it’s harder to spread.) Give your the bowl you used for the flour a good rinse, dry, then use again.  If your powdered sugar and cocoa powder are lumpy, pour them into a fine mesh sieve and shake the ingredients out over your bowl.  Add the soy milk to the bowl.  Whisk the ingredients together till smooth.  It should be creamy and shiny with very little (if any) lumps.  If the icing is too thick for your liking, add a little bit more soy milk. It takes a good while to whisk everything together by hand, so you may find yourself doing this for a minute or two.  If you’re using a stand mixer, it’ll take seconds.

Ice the cake with a spatula and let it set prior to serving.

This cake freezes wonderfully.  I slice up the entire cake after it’s cooled and wrap the pieces in aluminum foil, and throw them into a ziploc bag, before stashing them away in the freezer.  It doesn’t take the long to thaw out either (by the slice).


5 thoughts on “Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Dark Chocolate Icing

  1. While I was a little scared to try this, it was totally worth the effort! Came out so delicious and moist and chocolates without the fake boxed cake taste! Two thumbs up!

  2. Pingback: Zucchini Stuffed with Basil Caramelized Onion Pesto and Fresh Croutons | Liz Lemon Nights

  3. Pingback: 10 favorite recipes from summer 2012 « Mojo Central

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