My computer was revived long enough to get the necessary photos, hurrah! What is a recipe without a little convincing proof that I actually made the cake?
We need to try at least one new zucchini recipe every year, and it’s even better if that recipe is a huge success. This one uses 3 cups of zucchini, which is 1 more than the zucchini bundt cake I make at least 5 times every summer, and it’s rich and dark and moist and totally hides all that zucchini in a way I would not have thought possible. Can you even spot it?!
Bundt cakes are traditionally denser and slightly drier than regular cakes, and while I love my bundt cakes I also wanted a zucchini cake recipe in my repertoire that was more the texture of a rich chocolate birthday cake. This cake is so soft and fluffy, yet sturdy and easy to work with as a layer cake – exactly what my recipe arsenal needed!
I feel like this has been a good summer for trying new recipes. The weather hasn’t been too hot until recently, and we’ve just been kind of…around. I’ve also had a resurgence of energy over the past year that has surprised me – after 10+ years of being someone who scheduled my life around ensuring access to a midday nap, suddenly I find myself going to bed late and waking up early on the regular, and excited about trying new things in between. I was talking about this with friends recently and they suggested maybe I was finally getting enough sleep at night, which made me realize that it has in fact been just over a year since Jack started sleeping through the night. Turns out a good night’s sleep really is a pretty valuable thing, and a rested me is much more likely to make a cake instead of being overwhelmed at the thought that it will require me to make icing later.
Isn’t it funny how little things – making icing, peeling potatoes, running an extra errand to pick up a light bulb – can seem so overwhelming at some points in your life, or even just your day? Maybe it’s just me, but honestly the desire to make a cake is a signal for me that I’m feeling good, because it means I’m willing to commit to that future extra step of icing trusting that I will still have energy later even if I don’t reserve it in the here and now.
Cake with one slice missing is not as photogenic as you might think. Hey there, Pacman cake.
Anyway, if your zucchini is getting out of hand, you need to try this cake. And if you’re grating some of that excess zucchini to throw in your freezer, divvy some of it up into 3-cup portions so this can happen again in the dead of winter. And if you don’t have zucchini, this cake is even worth buying one for. Carl called this one of the best cakes I’d ever made – pretty high praise in my opinion for a cake holding 3 cups of vegetables. I’m sure the addition of our favourite chocolate buttercream didn’t hurt either.
This also works in a 9×13″ pan if you prefer icing on a flat surface – as you can see, my motivation didn’t extend to icing all the way down the sides anyway. I’m embracing the “naked cake” trend that may or may not still be trending.
Don’t let zucchini season pass without having your cake and eating it too.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp instant coffee granules or espresso powder (you won't taste coffee, it just adds to the richness of the chocolate taste)
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup coconut oil
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- ⅓ sour cream or buttermilk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups shredded zucchini, thawed if frozen but not drained
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup butter, softened to room temperature or slightly melted
- 3 cups icing sugar / confectioner's sugar
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp milk or heavy cream
- For cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease 2 9" cake pans.
- In large bowl whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, instant coffee and salt.
- In a separate bowl, beat the oils, sugar, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla on medium speed until smooth and pale (2-3 minutes). Add zucchini and dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
- Divide batter evenly over prepared pans and bake for 26-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Allow cakes to cool for 20 minutes before gently loosening edges with a knife and turning out onto racks. Let cool completely before frosting.
- For frosting, beat softened butter with 1 cup of the icing sugar and all the cocoa powder. When smooth, add remaining 2 cups icing sugar, vanilla and milk. Beat until smooth, adding more milk a Tbsp at a time if too dry or more icing sugar ¼ cup at a time if too wet to achieve desired spreading consistency. Frost cake as desired.
The frosted cake can be refrigerated for 2-3 days. Bring to room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving for best flavour and texture.
The cake can also be wrapped and frozen, fully frosted, for 2-3 months.