Total Time
1hr 15mins
Prep 30 mins
Cook 45 mins

This started out with a recipe in a Penzey's spice catalog. We tried it just to get rid of some excess zucchini, but it turned out delicious!

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, plus additional for dusting pan (preferably Dutch process)
  • 2 12 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 14 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 12 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 14 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, more to taste (optional)
  • 12 cup butter, softened,plus additional for greasing pan
  • 12 cup peanut oil or 12 cup canola oil
  • 1 34 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 cup milk, mixed with
  • 12 teaspoon vinegar (or 1/2 cup sour milk or buttermilk)
  • 2 12 cups finely shredded zucchini, drained and juice squeezed out (5-6 small zucchini)
  • 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans, more to taste
  • unsweetened whipped cream or very lightly sweetened whipped cream, as accompaniment (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 325degF.
  2. Grease a 9"x13" baking pan (preferably glass), and dust generously with cocoa powder, tapping out excess.
  3. Sift together the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, and cinnamon, and optional nutmeg, and set aside.
  4. Cream together the butter, oil, and sugar until fluffy, add eggs, vanilla, and sour milk, and blend well by hand.
  5. Add drained and squeezed grated zucchini, and stir in well.
  6. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  7. Sprinkle the top evenly with chocolate chips, leaving a chip-free 1" diameter area right in the center, and then sprinkle evenly with chopped pecans.
  8. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. (That’s what the chip-free spot is for. You will never get a clean toothpick otherwise; it will always be chocolate covered.) If you are using a metal pan, bake at 350degF for 40 minutes.
  10. Allow to cool to room temperature in pan sitting on wire rack.
  11. If desired, serve with a dollop of very lightly sweetened whipped cream.
  12. Refrigerate or freeze leftover cake; this cake is very moist and will mold if left for long at room temperature, but it won't get stale!
Most Helpful

Great rich cake! Will definitely be a repeat at my house. Used peanut oil, and it added a wonderful flavor. Didn't bother dusting the pan with cocoa and served as is with no whipped cream. Added the cocoa/flour mixture with the zucchini. I love Penzeys and use their spices and cocoa exclusively, it's all wonderful. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

LonghornMama April 03, 2011

The combination of chocolate and spices make this an outstanding snack cake. I didn't have buttermilk on hand so used the vinegar and 2% milk. The only thing I will do differently next time is not dust with cocoa ... there was too much cocoa that wouldn't shake out and occasionally a piece would be bitter from excess cocoa. Definitely a keeper and one I will be making on a regular basis.

Mary K. W. July 10, 2009

Chocolate cake with hidden veg...just what i need to fool my kids...and it did, they loved the chocolate-eeness, it was dense and rich and they ate it all without knowing that there was courgettes in it! A definate keeper - thank you!

Tulip-Fairy January 28, 2006