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A chocolate zucchini cupcake on a green plate.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake (or cupcakes)

Moist and delicious, this recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Cake is so easy to make and is a great way to get everyone to eat their vegetables.
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Additional Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 35 mins
Course Desserts & Snacks
Cuisine American
Servings 12 cupcakes


  • For the Cake
  • 2 ½ cups unsifted all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa I like Ghiradelli
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • pinch salt
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla use real, not imitation vanilla, it really does make a difference
  • ½ cup 2% buttermilk or sour your milk by mixing 1 teaspoon lemon juice or white wine vinegar to milk and let it sit for 5 minutes
  • 1 stick ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
  • ½ cup oil I used olive oil for its heart-healthy properties, and no, you can't taste it
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped or grated zucchini patted dry
  • For the Frosting
  • 1 stick ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons ⅜ cup evaporated milk
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 - 3 cups confectioner's sugar also known as powdered sugar
  • Chopped toasted pecans or walnuts (optional)


  • Prepare the Cake or Cupcakes: Heat the oven to 325°F. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and a pinch of salt; mix with a fork and set aside.
  • n a food processor, process the eggs, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy, then add the butter. Process about 1 minute. With the machine running, add the milk and oil. Stop the machine and add the zucchini; plus until mixed; add the dry ingredients and process, with pulses, until the flour disappears.  
    Do not over process
  • Pour into greased and floured cake rounds (tip: use cocoa powder to flour your pan, it adds more flavor and better color) Or, ladle into a muffin tin that has paper inserts; fill about ¾ full.
  • Bake for 40 - 45 minutes (for the cake) or 25 minutes (for cupcakes); or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool then frost.
  • Prepare the Frosting: In a small pan heat the butter and evaporated milk. Chop the semi-sweet chips in the food processor; with the machine running add the hot milk mixture. Add powdered sugar to make a spreadable consistency. Spread on the top of the cake; sprinkle with nuts, if desired.
Keyword zucchini chocolate cake, zucchini chocolate cupcake, zucchini cupcake recipe
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