While I am not a chocolate cake fan (I like cakes with fruit and other add-in's), this cake has changed my mind. It has a moist and fudgey consistency, unlike many chocolate cakes that I find are more dry and lacking in flavor. Of course, the moisture comes from the zucchini that totally disappears in the cake, especially if you peel it before shredding it. What sets this recipe apart from other chocolate zucchini cakes is that is uses more zucchini and includes vanilla and cinnamon, which adds something special to round out the chocolate flavor.
I found that 4 cups of shredded zucchini equals about 1 large zucchini or 3/4 of a super-large one, minus the center pulp area with the seeds. If you are using smaller zucchini, you probably do not need to remove the seeds unless they are large. Since we are often finding those big zucchinis that have somehow been missed until they are enormous, this is just about the tastiest way to use up one of those over-sized veggies. There have been a couple people that tell me adamantly that they do NOT like zucchini, but when they tried this cake (through a little deception) they were amazed that something this good would have THAT in there-- and even went back for more. (I just love tricking people into eating veggies that they thought they didn't like!)
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup oil
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 cups peeled, grated zucchini (I let the zucchini drain in a colander while preparing the cake but did not press the liquid out of it.)
- 3/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)
- 3/4-1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (about 1/2 of 11 oz bag)
- 1 stick butter
- 4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
- 6 Tbsp milk, half and half or cream
- 1 lb box or package of confectioner's (powdered) sugar (sifted or it clumps up later)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4- 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
- Grease 9x13 inch baking pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla.
- Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients and then fold in the grated zucchini and chocolate chips (nuts also if including).
- Pour into prepared baking pan and bake for 45-60 minutes- time depends on how wet the zucchini is. So start checking about 45 minutes but may need to go as long as 1 hr.
- When toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out pretty clean, remove cake to cooling rack and begin preparing the icing.
- Boil butter, cocoa, milk and cinnamon in a medium saucepan, whisking constantly. (Don't worry if the butter fat separates some. Just keep stirring and then move on to next step- it will all come together in the next step.)
- Whisk in sifted sugar while stirring and then vanilla. Stir well to combine.
- Allow to sit and thicken for a few minutes off the heat, then pour slowly over the warm cake. (If it has thickened too much to pour, then use a spatula to spread over the cake.)
- Garnish with nuts if desired.