Right now I am approximately 85% squash. I’m eating squash with dip, in stir fry, in veggie omelets, and in desserts like this Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake. If you’ve never had a zucchini baked good, I promise, cross my heart, that done properly, you’ll never know you’re eating summer squash save for a few green speckles here and there. Zucchini is 95% water, so obviously it adds moistness to whatever it’s baked into. It also has a fairly mild flavor, so it doesn’t stand out from your dessert and scream “hey! I’m in here!” like, say, an onion would. Not that I bake onion desserts. I want this cake to scream “chocolate!” which it does thanks to not only baking cocoa but milk chocolate chips in-and on-the cake, as well as Heath milk chocolate toffee bits. And not a peep from the zucchini.
Smaller zucchini-those in the 8-inch or so range-tend to have more water content than their larger, baseball bat-size brethren. They also are a little more tender in texture, with softer seeds. Some recipes call for shredding these little zukes and squeezing them bone dry, but this recipe actually utilizes some of that water to make a moister cake. Shred the zucchini before mixing the cake batter, measure out two cups (for me this was about 1 ¼ zucchinis), and let it sit in a colander to drip over a bowl. Mine dripped off about a third of a cup of liquid. Discard the liquid and use the shredded zucchini as is, without squeezing it.
Speaking of shredding-I use a method that spares me from the “what’s this stringy stuff in here?” question. There’s nothing more frustrating than having someone, usually a minor, dissect what I’ve cooked and suspiciously inspect each morsel for anything that doesn’t seem familiar. Not that my kids would ever do that with chocolate-or any-cake. But I’ve stuck zucchini in all sorts of stuff and I’d rather not get interrogated about it. I don’t know anyone else who does this by the way, and it’s completely optional. You’ll need a food processor for this method. If you don’t have a food processor you’ll just have to use a box grater and skip this trick. (A food processor is super handy for lots of stuff, though, and you don’t need an expensive one to enjoy the benefits. Consider getting one if you cook much.) Okay, here’s what I do-and it’s pretty simple. I shred the zucchini in the food processor, measure out my two cups, then I shred it again. Yeah, I take the shredded zucchini out and run it through the shredding blade a second time, thus creating a more finely shredded product. Basically it takes me one minute instead of 30 seconds to shred the zucchini. Then I let it drain in the colander. It’s difficult to tell from the picture, but I did not make zucchini pesto. It’s not shredded to a paste, just more finely shredded than running it through once. Totally optional.
When you first add the zucchini to the butter/sugar mixture, the whole thing might appear curdled. That’s normal. Also, your finished batter will not be completely smooth because of the zucchini-again, normal. Spread your batter evenly in a Bundt pan that has been well greased with solid shortening, then floured. Instead of using all flour, for chocolate cakes I mix baking cocoa with flour (I used 1 ½ tablespoons of flour mixed with ½ tablespoon baking cocoa) to dust my greased pans with before baking. That way my chocolate cakes don’t have an unsightly layer of white flour on them when I turn them out of the pans.
Personally, I think it’s easier to turn out a large, dense cake right onto the surface you’ll be serving the cake from, such as a cake plate or stand. I find it pretty difficult to move a Bundt from a wire rack onto my cake stand without some sort of mishap. But then, I’m kinda klutzy. It does take significantly longer to cool this way because the air is not circulating underneath the cake as it would be on a rack, but that’s a trade-off I’m willing to make to present my guests with a whole-not patched together-cake.
I iced this cake with the same brown sugar glaze I use for these cookies. It tastes phenomenal with chocolate. Then I sprinkled the top of the cake with Heath milk chocolate toffee bits and the remaining milk chocolate chips. Fantastically moist and chocolatey with a brown sugar and toffee topping, this cake is ideal for your chocoholic family and guests.
You can just skip the “zucchini” part of the title if you want to and call it Chocolate Bundt Cake. No one will know except you.
Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake
- FOR THE CAKE:
- 2 ½ c. flour
- ½ c. baking cocoa
- 2 ½ tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¾ c. butter, softened
- 1 ½ c. sugar
- ½ c. brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 2 c. shredded zucchini
- ½ c. whole milk
- 1 c. milk chocolate chips, divided use
- 1/3 c. Heath milk chocolate toffee bits
- FOR THE GLAZE:
- ½ c. packed brown sugar
- 4 Tbs. milk , plus more as needed to thin
- 4 Tbs. butter
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 2 c. sifted powdered sugar, plus more as needed
- Step 1 TO MAKE THE CAKE:
- Step 2 Put oven rack in lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Step 3 Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.
- Step 4 Shred the zucchini and put in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl to drain. Don’t squeeze the zucchini- just let it drain over the bowl while you prepare the cake batter.
- Step 5 In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
- Step 6 In the bowl of a stand mixer cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed 2 minutes.
- Step 7 Reduce speed and beat in eggs one at a time.
- Step 8 Beat in vanilla and zucchini.
- Step 9 On lowest speed mix in flour mixture and milk, alternating each (add some flour mixture, then a little milk, then some flour mixture, then milk) until well combined and no streaks of flour remain.
- Step 10 Turn off mixer and stir in ¾ cup of the milk chocolate chips, reserving the rest for topping cake.
- Step 11 Pour batter evenly into prepared Bundt pan.
- Step 12 Bake 40-50 minutes. Cake is done when pick inserted in cake comes out clean and cake is just beginning to pull away from sides of pan.
- Step 13 Let set on wire rack 10 minutes.
- Step 14 Turn cake out of pan onto serving plate or cake stand and let cool 2 hours before pouring on the glaze.
- Step 15 TO MAKE THE GLAZE:
- Step 16 Mix the brown sugar, butter and milk in a medium saucepan.
- Step 17 Stir over medium heat until butter melts and brown sugar is dissolved.
- Step 18 Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
- Step 19 Whisk in powdered sugar until smooth.
- Step 20 If glaze is too runny, add a bit more powdered sugar. If it’s too thick, add a little more milk.
- Step 21 Pour warm glaze over cooled cake and immediately sprinkle with toffee bits and remaining milk chocolate chips, pressing gently to help them stick.