Thursday, July 28, 2011

Grandma's Chocolate Zucchini Cake

I never grew up with a garden. Always a couple tomato plants but never much else. When my parents moved into their current house when I was about 13, we tried one summer. Mom was weeding and pulled up all but one of the carrots that we had planted and that is about how the garden went the rest of the summer too (although not all of it was our fault). 

Despite my lack of experience with anything green, when we finished our backyard this spring, a garden was on our short list of must-haves. By the time it was finished in mid-April, we were about a month late (for Arizona standards) getting our plants in the ground, but we decided to give it a go anyway. I have to say I have been pretty impressed. We have gotten herbs, cucumbers, tons of little yellow bell tomatoes, eggplant, cantaloupe, jalapenos, little bell peppers, and zucchini so far. Still waiting on our watermelon! You can tell that we were late planting as much of our produce has been small. That is everything but the zucchini! Check out this monster! (Those tiles on our counter are at least a foot in length). I am glad that we decided to only plant one zucchini plant!
So what does one do with a surplus of zucchini? Well, we have been grilling much of it, but there is only so much grilled zucchini that two people can eat! I was talking to my mom one day, and she mentioned that my grandma has a recipe for a chocolate zucchini cake that everyone always loved. I can assure you it didn't take me to long to decide on that recipe as a destination for this monster, and after a quick phone call to my aunt for the recipe, I was armed and ready to go. 

I grated my zucchini by hand using the smaller portion of a cheese grater as I wanted the pieces to incorporate better into the batter. I can tell you that 2 cups of grated zucchini still left me with about 1/3 of this baby! As anticipated, the cake turned out great! Can you ever expect anything less from a "grandma recipe?" My aunt said that grandma usually frosted the cake with a chocolate cream cheese frosting. I went with a standard chocolate frosting that I will post below because I never keep cream cheese in the house, but if you want to make a cream cheese version, by all means send me some :) Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Grandma's Chocolate Zucchini Cake
From Grandma F.

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup oil
1-3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups peeled, finely grated zucchini (I left the peel on)
2-1/2 cups flour
4 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2-3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional: I added these)

Chocolate Frosting:
4 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
3 cups powdered sugar
5 Tbsp. milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13-inch pan with nonstick spray and set aside. Add the cake ingredients in the order shown (except for the chocolate chips if using) to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix and beat on low speed for 4 minutes, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula if needed. Gently fold in chocolate chips if using. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 

For the frosting, mix the cocoa, butter, and milk. Add powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached. Frost the cake once cool.

Linked to Sweet Tooth Fridays


  1. Good for you! I love a garden. Mine is not doing well in the heat, but oh well. Great looking recipe. Cannot wait to give it a try. Come over and visit us. We have a wonderful sorbet recipe for this hot weather.

  2. I want to plant a garden and I'm thinking next spring I will do just that. I am envious of seeing what others have planted and their bounty. This sound so delicious. I would love to give this a try. Yummy!

  3. the texture and frosting have me drooling

  4. oh my gosh, now this may just be the best use of zucchini!

  5. That cake looks fantastic! I made a cake with zucchini a few years ago, and though I was skeptical, it was really delicious.

    Kudos on your garden! We've thought about planting one the past few years, but since Shane doesn't eat fruits or veggies I keep waffling on whether it's worth it just for me.

  6. My grandma makes the best zucchini cake too -- only we don't frost her chocolate variety... so this frosting looks like an excellent addition :) If you're looking for more zucchini recipes, I have a large list (we love zucchini crisp, and our cinnamon zucchini cake)!


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