This is the moistest and prettiest chocolate cake I have ever made. The cake layer stayed moist for days and baked amazingly even so that I did not have to trim them. The secret behind this soft chocolate cake is a vegetable: Zucchini squash. Believe it or not, you will not taste or notice the zucchini in the cake after baking.
Adding zucchini to cake makes it moist, richer in flavor and healthier.
How to make zucchini cake
This chocolate cake is made with shredded zucchini. I like to wash and peel the zucchini before shredding it. Then use a box grater and coarsely shred two medium zucchinis. Pack them into the measuring cup and keep all the liquid.
Do you want to try a chocolate cream cheese frosting instead? Make this frosting and add some Nutella!
When making the cake batter you will notice the pieces of zucchini in there but once it is baked you will not notice any remain of the divine vegetable but its flavoring enhancing purpose and moisture.
This cake recipe is for three nicely high 8-inch cake layers or 9-inch cake layers.
Zucchini Chocolate Cake
Ingredients for 3 8-inch layers
2 3/4 cups (330 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (160 g) cocoa powder
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups (400 g) sugar
1 cup (200 g) light brown sugar
3/4 cup (180 ml) vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup (240 g) sour cream
2 cups (230 g) zucchini, shredded
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) hot water
For the chocolate buttercream:
2 1/2 cups (325 g) powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups (450 g) butter, softened
1/2 cup (100 g) vegetable shortening
12 oz (340 g) melted chocolate
1/2 cup (50 g) cocoa powder
2 tbsp milk
chocolate chips for decoration
mini chocolate chips for decoration
In a big mixing bowl combine eggs, egg yolks, sour cream, zucchini, vanilla and oil. Mix with a hand mixer until foamy and lighter in color. Mix in sugar and light brown sugar. Sift in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cocoa powder. Mix on low until almost combined, then add the hot water. Mix until smooth.
Divide between three greased and lined 8 inch baking pans. Bake at 350 °F for about 40 minutes. Insert a skewer to test if the cake is baked completely. Let the layers cool on a cooling grid. After 4 minutes take them out of the baking pan and let them cool on a parchment paper on a cooling grid.
For the American buttercream mix butter and shortening until whiter in color and lighter in texture. Add powdered sugar and cocoa powder little by little. It is easier in a stand mixer. When the powdered sugar is incorporated add melted chocolate. It is best if the chocolate is only slightly warm. Mix it in. For a nicer texture add milk. This also helps with reducing the butter flavor.
To decorate the cake, place the bottom layer on a plate and spread a thin layer of chocolate buttercream on top and smooth it. Add the second cake layer and repeat the step. Then apply the last layer and cover the cake with chocolate buttercream on the top and its side. Smooth it out and let it cool in the fridge for about 40 minutes or place it in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
When the cake is cooled add the second layer of buttercream and smooth it with a cake comb. Place the cake in the fridge for about 30 minutes to make sure it is very cold before the chocolate chips boarder is added. Then decorate the cake with nice swirls on top of the cake and some mini chocolate chips!
I like to use a stiffer consistency buttercream for piping swirls. For that mix in some more powdered sugar and cocoa powder into a small amount of buttercream (1 to 2 cups) and whip it with a hand mixer until stiff. I usually use about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and 1/4 to 1/3 cup of cocoa powder. Fill it in a piping bag with a star tip and use it right away.
If the frosting gets soft, just whip it with a hand mixer until it gets stiff again.
Chocaholic? Try chocolate chips as an addition to the cake batter – double chocolate is double the fun! Coat them in flour and add them to the cake batter in the baking pan shortly before baking.