Chocolate zucchini cake is pictured on Monday, July 10, 2017, in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by James Brosher)

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

You’ll never be able to tell there’s zucchini hidden inside this delicious chocolate cake. The built-in moisture from the summer squash makes this recipe foolproof. 

One of my favorite foods of the season is zucchini. The summer squash is so versatile — I love using it as a base for pasta sauce or adding it to my favorite meatloaf. The water in zucchini lends perfect moisture to dishes, which also makes it great for baking.

My husband looked at me a little funny when he saw me grating zucchini to throw into my chocolate cake batter last night. “What are you doing with that cucumber?” he asked. I couldn’t stop laughing! He has no interest in tasting this chocolate cake after seeing what went into it, but I promise — as long as they didn’t watch you make it — no one will know zucchini is the secret ingredient to this delicious dessert.

I’ve been experimenting with different sugars and flours lately and I’ve fallen in love with coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is made from the sap of the coconut palm tree and, despite its name, has no coconut flavor whatsoever. The taste is more reminiscent of caramel, similar to conventional brown sugar. You use brown sugar in this recipe if you don’t have coconut sugar on hand.

If you’ve got a garden that’s bursting with zucchini, this is a great way to use some of the squash up. This cake also freezes beautifully!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups zucchini, grated
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use butter or coconut oil to grease a glass 13 x 9 baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda and salt until combined. Set aside.
  3. In a separate, medium bowl, stir together zucchini, eggs, vanilla and applesauce until combined. Carefully add zucchini mixture to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to fold in 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips. Pour batter into greased pan, smoothing it out using a rubber spatula.
  4. Bake cake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and place on top of a cooling rack.
  5. While cake cools, place 1 cup chocolate chips in a medium, microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high for 10 seconds, then remove from microwave and stir. Repeat this process at 10-second increments until chocolate is melted and smooth. Use a spoon to drizzle melted chocolate all over cake. Allow cake to cool completely before serving.

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