Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting


Here I am again jumping into fall early – because why not? Once the my kids start school again it is basically fall to me anyway so that’s my excuse for plastering my cake with fall hued, gold flecked maple leaves in August :). This Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting totally passes as a summer or fall dessert anyway if we need to get all technical. The best part about this cake (other than it’s utterly delicious chocolatey goodness of course) is that no one will even notice that it’s packed with zucchini. I had some family over and of course everyone wanted cake, kids included. I let the kids know that there was a secret ingredient but wouldn’t tell them until they were done eating it. So of course they ate it and kept mentioning how good it was, then once they were done I let them in on the secret – zucchini! That’s when you may get an “eww” and a bunch of shocked looks because it’s something they’d never even consider eating as a side to their dinner, but yes indeed everyone loved this cake though. Unfortunately myself included. I say unfortunately because there I was at 11:30 at night slicing off sliver after sliver – because slivers just make it seem more justified that you are eating cake when you should be sleeping. And then before you know it a whole piece is gone from those little sliver slices. Whoops. This cake is dangerous I tell you!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting | Cooking Classy

I made the leaves out of marzipan which is a pre-made, thick, sweetened almond paste because I’m not a fan of fondant or gum paste. Any of the aforementioned would work and you’ll tint them with gel food coloring (I blended a lot to try and get more natural colors). Then shape each color into a ball (and keep them in resealable bags when you aren’t working on that color so they don’t dry). Then I spritzed small areas of wax paper with edible gold spray paint and let it dry (it dries quickly), then I rolled out the colored marzipan balls over the dried paint then cut them into leaves with a mini cookie cutter. It took some time (probably about an hour) but I love to make stuff like this so it was fun for me. If that’s not your thing I bought some fall colored sprinkles (I found them at Michaels) I was going to use for this cake if the marzipan leaves didn’t turn out. Those sprinkles would be perfect for this cake. Or just be boring and leave it undecorated with anything :).

If you don’t already have two kinds of cocoa you can just use one or the other. The first time I did all Hershey’s Dark Cocoa and got black magic cake so the second time I still wanted some darker color so I added a little, but either or should work here if you don’t already have both.


Ring in the new season with this irresistibly chocolatey, incredibly moist, rich and luscious Chocolate Zucchini Cake! It’s sure to be a hit!
Marzipan Gold Flecked Autumn Leaves | Cooking Classy Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting | Cooking ClassyChocolate Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting | Cooking Classy


Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting



  • 2 cups (283g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (50g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp (16g) dark cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 3/4 cups (375g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups (330g) unpeeled shredded zucchini, preferrably at room temperature


  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, nearly at room temperature
  • 8 oz (226g) cream cheese, nearly at room temperature
  • 3 cups (375g) powdered sugar
  • 6 Tbsp (36g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray, set aside. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, both cocoa powders, salt, baking soda and baking powder for 20 seconds, set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a the paddle attachment (preferrably one that constantly scrapes bowl while mixing, if not stop and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl occasionally throughout entire mixing processes) mix together butter, oil and granulated sugar. Mix in eggs one at a time then blend in buttermilk and vanilla extract. Set on low speed slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Remove from stand mixer, add zucchini and fold to combined. Pour batter into prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer. Bake in preheated oven 32 - 38 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack 30 minutes then cover and let cool completely. Once cool frost with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting and store in an airtight container in refrigerator.
  3. For the frosting:
  4. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Mix in powdered sugar and cocoa powder then add vanilla and mix until combined.
  5. Recipe source: Cooking Classy


  • Laura @ Fork Knife Swoon: I love the way you decorated this cake! The leaves are too cute. This sounds amazing! September 7, 2016 at 1:39pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Laura! September 7, 2016 at 4:32pm Reply

  • Holly: It was amazing! I swapped out the veggie oil for coconut oil though! So good!! September 4, 2016 at 10:52pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m glad you loved it Holly! September 7, 2016 at 10:20am Reply

  • Toni Jordan: I just made this cake today with zucchini from my garden and it turned out great. I live in Denver so I frequently have to adjust for altitude. The batter looked rather wet so I added 1/4 more flour. The cake is perfect! I also added cinnamon to the chocolate cream cheese frosting just because I love the combination. September 2, 2016 at 4:26pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you enjoyed this cake Toni! Thanks for your feedback! September 2, 2016 at 9:57pm Reply

    • Toni Jordan: I forgot to add units to the flour – I used 1/4 cup more flour than Jaclyn’s original recipe calls for. September 4, 2016 at 7:52am Reply

  • Alexis Smith: It looks like my earlier question didn’t get sent through, so here goes my second try.

    Most recipes with grated zucchini suggest wringing out the extra moisture and I was wondering if the excessive moisture from the grated zucchini should be wrung out so that there isn’t too much liquid in the batter. August 30, 2016 at 1:42pm Reply

  • Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet: You always make such beautifully dressed up cakes, Jaclyn! This is gorgeous! August 29, 2016 at 9:03pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much Anna! August 30, 2016 at 12:45pm Reply

  • Alexis Smith: Re-sending my original message
    I notice that the recipe doesn’t call for squeezing the moisture out of the zucchini, as most recipes with grated zucchini do. I’m worried that there’ll be too much moisture/liquid if I don’t squeeze the zucchini August 29, 2016 at 6:05pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: No, not for this recipe it makes the cake so nice and moist. I hope you try it and love it :)! August 30, 2016 at 9:03pm Reply

  • Juliana Ramsey: This cake looks amazing! I just love the way that you bring us straight to fall, with lovely looking desserts! A+ on all of your recipes! August 29, 2016 at 1:50pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Juliana! August 29, 2016 at 4:42pm Reply

  • Estella C.: I love your blog. This looks delicious. Do you think the recipe as written would work for a half sheet pan? I am trying to find a chocolate dessert recipe for a large crowd. Thanks. August 29, 2016 at 8:25am Reply

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