Zucchini Fudge Cake

October 4, 2022

slice of zucchini fudge cake

Zucchini is one of the last local summer vegetables at the roadside stands. Slick green squash batons keep company on the racks with many-hued fall squashes, smooth and warty, solid and spotted and striped.

Nights are crisp and cool and one can finally see stars. When the leaves start to fall, that’s my favorite time to cook. Soups and stews and vegetable braises and the aromas of rosemary and cinnamon lure me into my cozy  kitchen. The warmth of baking is welcome, too.

ingredients for zucchini fudge cake

The “fudge” in this cake is a thick layer of chocolate chips which stay creamy after baking.

Zucchini is lovely roasted with garlic and shredded as faux pasta, but today we’ll sneak this veggie into a sweet treat. Let’s sweeten the deal, so to speak, with semisweet chocolate chips layered in our chocolate zucchini cake. This creates a ribbon of super chocolate which tastes like fudge and stays creamy.

overhead cake and slice

This chocolate cake is easy to assemble and feeds a crowd. It also freezes well for make-ahead entertaining. I’ve  left this cake unfrosted, opting instead to shower a little confectioner’s sugar on each serving. You are welcome to crown this dessert with a nice icing; however, that interior fudgy layer is all you need for a blast of sweet pick-me-up. If it’s frosting you crave, the cinnamon cream cheese icing for my other zucchini cake will pair nicely with the hint of cinnamon here.

Gluten Free Does Not Mean Flavor Free!

A word about gluten free flour: all my recipes calling for flour will also work well with all purpose wheat flour like Gold Medal brand.  When I specify my favorite King Arthur Measure for Measure gluten free flour, I am recommending the blend which contains xanthan gum, not the all purpose gluten free mix. This is so easy for us bakers; no guessing how much gum needed to thicken naturally. It has been super reliable and everything from cakes to cookies to muffins is tender and ” just like” the non-GF versions.

I hope this cake makes you hungry for a home baked sweet treat. Perhaps you will happily accept your neighbor’s giant mutant zucchini?

Zucchini Fudge Cake

recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company

makes 16 servings


2 cups gluten free flour (I like King Arthur Measure for Measure)*
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅔ cup honey
½ cup neutral oil like canola
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
one large egg at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk at room temperature
1 ½ cup shredded zucchini
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
optional garnish : confectioner’s powdered sugar
* all purpose wheat flour also works well if you’re not GF


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray.
  3. In medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder and soda, salt and cinnamon.
  4. In large mixing bowl, whisk honey with oil and vanilla; add egg and mix well.
  5. Add buttermilk.
  6. Dump all dry ingredients on top of wet; scatter zucchini on top and mix with spatula just until all incorporated (this method allows some shreds to become coated with flour so they don’t sink to the bottom of the batter).
  7. Place about half the batter in the prepared baking dish, scatter chocolate chips evenly on the surface, then add the rest of the cake batter.
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until cake pulls away slightly from the sides and a tester is mostly dry when pulled from the center of the cake; undercooking is okay, but overcooking will make it dry.
  9. Allow cake to fully cool before serving.
  10. If desired, dust servings with powdered sugar.
  11. Cake keeps at room temperature up to 5 days, and freezes well.
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