Chocolate Lover’s Zucchini Cake – Hey all you chocolate lovers and chocoholics, this cake is definitely for you, and truly a chocolate lover’s dream!
I think Lorelai Gilmore said it best.
“If eating cake is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.”
Can I get an, “AMEN!” from the back of the house? In case you’re confused, that’s how we ask if you agree in the south. “And we sure as heck love our cake here in the south,” she said while savoring a bite of coconut sheet cake. Yeah. That’s right. I’m eating cake while I’m writing about cake. You got a problem with that?
I can’t think of a better way to write about Chocolate Zucchini Cake while savoring my two day old birthday cake. I actually think baked treats reach their flavor peak on the third day. That’s when all the ingredients have had just the right amount of time to adequately blend together. This is my opinion on the subject. I find that as long as the bake is well kept in an air tight container, that third day is pure blissful magic.
And who couldn’t use a little blissful magic in their lives right now.
This delectable beauty tastes as good as she looks. I’ve had some good chocolate cake in my day, and this one is in the top ten! I started with a recipe from lovely Sally of Sally’s Baking Addiction. She is my baking “it” girl right now. She writes wonderful recipes that are easy to customize to your own taste, which is what I did here today. I did something similar with my Lemon Dream Pie. You might want to see that before you leave today.
My other favorite food blogger and writer is David Lebovitz, and he says people generally fall into one of two categories: chocolate or lemon. I must be ambidextrous when it comes to dessert, because I love them both equally. What I really need to do is come up with a lemon AND chocolate recipe. That would be my idea of heaven on earth.
Since I haven’t made a whole lot of layer cakes, two to be exact, my decorating skills are not exactly going to win me any Pinterest awards. So I did what any good Southern Belle would do. I added some fresh flowers. And voila!
I also added some heart shaped shiny sprinkles I found in the cake aisle at Michael’s. Oh my gosh. Have you seen that aisle? I also bought my first offset spatula and used it to frost this cake. I think it looks beautiful and I’m so darn proud to share it with you here today! So if your piping skills are not Martha Stewart caliber, don’t sweat it! Buy a mixed bouquet bundle while you’re in Trader Joe’s. Snip some flowers super short, and use them to garnish the top of your cake. Your guests will be mega impressed! I also recommend the fancy heart sprinkles to take it up a notch. They are a little more refined than your usual Jimmies.
The decorating of a cake is pretty much as important as the making of the parts of the cake. But let’s be real. It can be a tiring experience. I don’t know how those women in the 50’s cooked those big meals complete with homemade cakes every Sunday. While wearing heels and pearls no less. My hat is off to those women, because cooking like that for a family is no joke.
Since I’m not a wonder woman of the 1950s, I had to take a little more time with my cake.
Here’s what I did.
- I baked my cake layers one day.
- Then I let them cool on the wire racks and then chill over night in the fridge.
- The next day I made the frosting and decorated the cake.
- And then took these photos.
Splitting it up really made it easier for me, and I was able to enjoy the finishing process of the cake that way. So if a fancy decorated layer cake seems daunting to you, try splitting it up.
The real secret to the richness of this cake lies in the “secret” ingredient. The Zucchini. If you don’t tell your guests or family this is a zucchini cake, they will never know! Honestly. It’s amazing how the veg disappears into deep, dark chocolate leaving only velvet texture. I can’t honestly say this is a healthy cake, because it’s still cake after all. Can I be completely honest with you about something?
I’m really over those people who keep trying to convert cookies and ice cream and cake into something healthy.
Children are going to be traumatized over these mockeries of dessert. Just eat plain fruit or or whatever and stop trying to make quinoa into brownies. Please. For the love of all that’s decent. Just stop. If you want a piece of cake, eat the darn cake already and make your peace that not all food is healthy. This is a great place to start!
The secret ingredient in this chocolate cake is the zucchini. No one will ever know it’s in there unless you tell them. Shhhhhh it’s just between us.
- 250 g (2 cups) all purpose flour (spoon and level)
- 50 g (1/2 cup) cocoa
- 15 g (1/4 cup) black cocoa
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp espresso powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 240 ml ( 1 cup) vegetable oil
- 250 g (1 1/4 cups) granulated sugar
- 100 g light corn syrup
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 80 g (1/3 cup) plain greek yogurt or sour cream
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 450 g (3 cups) shredded zucchini (about 2 medium)
- 180 g (1 cup) chocolate chips. I used semi sweet.
- 284 g (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 50 g (1/2 cup) cocoa
- 15 g (1.4 cup) black cocoa
- 420 g (3 1/2 cups) confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) heavy cream
To Make the Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F or 177 degrees C. Grease and flour using cocoa two 9×2 round cake pans. These are 9″ round pans and 2″ high. Set prepared pans aside.
- Sift flour, cocoa powders, baking soda, baking powder, espresso powder, and salt together into a large bowl. Set Aside
- In another bowl, beat the oil, granulated sugar, corn syrup, eggs, greek yogurt, vanilla. Add the ingredients one at a time in the order listed, mixing thoroughly before adding the next. To beat, either use a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and use the medium high setting.
- Add zucchini and mix until well combined.
- Spoon in dry ingredients and beat together on medium speed low until well combined.
- Fold in chocolate chips.
- Batter will be pretty thick.
- Pour batter evenly between the two cake pans. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until cakes are baked through. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center portion of the cake. When the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done. Ovens vary widely, so keep an eye on your cakes!
- When done, remove from the oven and allow cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. When cool carefully flip cakes out of the pans an onto a plate or cutting board. If finishing the cake immediately, proceed to the assembly instructions.
- If you are waiting to finish the cakes, place each one in it’s own ziplock bag and store in the fridge over night. You can frost and decorate the next day if desired.
To Make the Frosting:
- Cream the butter on medium high using a paddle attachment for 4-5 minutes. You are looking for the butter to turn white. I follow the instructions from Cupcake Jemma when it comes to buttercream frosting.
- Sift the confectioner’s sugar, cocoas and salt together.
- Turn off them mixer and add dry ingredients to whipped butter. Run mixer on low speed to incorporate sugar and then . Then beat 3-5 minutes.
- Add vanilla.
- Add cream.
- Once all the dry ingredients and vanilla and cream have been incorporated, put the mixer up to high speed and beat mixture for another 3-4 minutes.
- At this point turn the mixer off and assess the frosting. If it’s too thin add 1-2 more tbsp on confectioner’s sugar and if it’s too thick, add 1-2 tbsp of cream. If you added anything, make sure to incorporate it well.
- Frost cake either with preferred method.
- To get cakes completely flat for better stacking, use a serrated knife and slice off thin layers for the tops. You are just removing the mounded portion so the cake is perfectly flat.
- Place on cake layer onto the cake stand or plate you will be serving from. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Go a little thick on this part.
- Place the second layer on top of the frosted top.
- Use the remaining frosting to finish the top and sides of the cake. An offset spatula works wonders on this.
- To finish, pipe decorative elements or sprinkle with chocolate chips or some other colorful sprinkle.
- Slice and serve!
- Cover your leftovers and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
This cake is a lot of steps and a lot of ingredients! So take your time with it. I find splitting up the baking of the cakes from the making of the frosting and assembly helps. If you take it one step at a time, you can do this! And if you are an old pro, then you will find this a rather easy, but supremely delicious cake to put together!