Deep Dark Chocolate Sour Cream Zucchini Cake

zucchini cake 1 Deep Dark Chocolate Sour Cream Zucchini Cake

I do love chocolate cake, but when it comes down to it, I’m a bit of a snob. I like them dense and moist, almost damp – not airy and gutless, like those made with a mix. Frosting is not essential – especially when it comes to a good bundt. I like the cake to stand on its own, rather than act as a mere vehicle for butter and sugar.

This here? It’s my favourite chocolate cake. There, I said it. If I had to choose just one, this is it. Not too sweet, moist and compact, but not doorstoplike.

This week I’m out in Kelowna, presenting at the Okanagan Food and Wine Writers’ Workshop. It’s pretty much the best job ever, wherein a small group of less than twenty stay at the Hotel Eldorado (aka “the El”), eat and drink well and sit around tables having sessions on writing, pitching, marketing, photography, new media and the like. All straight up my alley. Tonight we got a preview of the brand-new Bottega, with a spectacular dinner by chef Mark Filatow of Waterfront Wines.

alpaca 585x585 Deep Dark Chocolate Sour Cream Zucchini Cake

Where I even met an alpaca with a pretty rad ‘do and Flashdance leg warmers.

But – the cake. I made it last weekend, when we were going next door for a barbecue and to watch the Stanley Cup playoffs, and we were supposed to be there in half an hour and I still hadn’t figured out what to bring for dessert. We had zucchini in the fridge, and so I let that dictate my choice of dessert, rather than attempt some sort of pseudo-hockey puck shaped chocolate thing.

zucchini cake 3 Deep Dark Chocolate Sour Cream Zucchini Cake

This is the bomb when you want something plain enough to eat out of hand – in wedges around the card table, maybe – or to hand a half dozen boys under 10 who are on their way out the door to play street hockey. It will also satisfy a deep need for something soft and intensely chocolate.

zucchini cake 2 Deep Dark Chocolate Sour Cream Zucchini Cake

It’s a security blanket, in cake form. (Grab some icing sugar with a tea infuser for a quick dusting.)

zucchini cake 4 Deep Dark Chocolate Sour Cream Zucchini Cake

Deep Dark Chocolate Sour Cream Zucchini Cake

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup canola or other mild vegetable oil
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini (about 2 smallish, or 1 large)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or chocolate chips, or both (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°F and spray a Bundt pan with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, beat the butter, oil and sugar on high speed with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes, until thick and pale yellow. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

In a smaller bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add a third to the butter mixture and beat just until blended; add half the sour cream and do the same. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture, the rest of the sour cream, and the rest of the flour. Stir in the zucchini and the nuts and/or chocolate chips, if you’re using them, and pour the thick batter into the pan, smoothing the top.

Bake for an hour, until the top is cracked and springy to the touch. Invert onto a plate or cake stand while still warm. Serves 8-16.

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June 14 2012 12:13 am | cake

46 Responses to “Deep Dark Chocolate Sour Cream Zucchini Cake”

  1. Margaret on 14 Jun 2012 at 7:55 am #

    Just the way a chocolate cake should be! If you like bundt cakes, have you ever read anything from ‘The Food Librarian’? The last couple of years in the fall, she writes about ’30 Days of Bundts’.

  2. ml on 14 Jun 2012 at 8:40 am #

    Oh man, I’m definitely going to try this one! I love cakes that are chocolaty but not too sweet – and no frosting for me…so this sounds perfect. The recipe looks hassle free. And it’s so pretty! I think I’ll make it for our Father’s Day dinner this weekend.

    Thanks for sharing your favorite recipe Julie!

  3. Vivian on 14 Jun 2012 at 9:10 am #

    I used to steer clear of bundt cakes, pretty as they are, because the buttering and flouring of the pan seemed to always leave unsightly floury streaks when the cake was turned out of the pan. Someone suggested using cocoa for chocolate cakes to replace the flour or, if you think ahead, make crumbs of any leftover chocolate cake, dry and freeze them. They work just as well as flour. Nice sounding recipe. I’m off to the store for a zucchini…my garden plants are only 3″ high!

  4. Julia on 14 Jun 2012 at 9:44 am #

    Awesome looking bundt! Totally comforting!

  5. Nicole on 14 Jun 2012 at 10:30 am #

    Holy crap, that looks great!

  6. JulieVR on 14 Jun 2012 at 10:32 am #

    Yes, cocoa works great! to be honest, I never bother flouring pans when I make cakes. And if you use nonstick spray you won’t get any residue at all!

  7. Cheryl on 14 Jun 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    Would this work with cupcakes instead of a bundt pan?? I have a 1-year-old birthday party coming up and it sounds great!

  8. Barb on 14 Jun 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    Zucchini really does make a good chocolate cake.

  9. CathyH on 14 Jun 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    Wow! You must be one fast baker or chronically late to be out of the door in half an hour. This sounds wonderful Julie!

  10. JulieVR on 14 Jun 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    Ha! yes – good math! the benefit to being next door is I mixed it up, put it in the oven, and popped back to take it out!

  11. Donna on 14 Jun 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    Could we sub grated apple for the zucchini ?

  12. Sara {Home is Where the Cookies Are} on 15 Jun 2012 at 6:03 am #

    beautiful. This cake speaks to me. OF COURSE!
    I am in love with bundts. IN LOVE. You had me at “deep dark chocolate”!

  13. Deidre on 15 Jun 2012 at 8:07 am #

    I made this last night for some friends, and it turned out beautifully. I used part yogurt and part sour cream. To be honest, I was expecting it to be a bit denser but it is delicious nevertheless.

  14. Jen @ Savory Simple on 16 Jun 2012 at 7:12 am #

    I’m with you here! I love a super moist cake that doesn’t need frosting to be delicious. This looks wonderful and I’ve pinned it for the next time I have a chocolate craving!

  15. Carol S-B on 16 Jun 2012 at 9:13 am #

    When I use frozen grated zucchini, I always find that it releases a lot of moisture. To prevent a watery cake, should I drain some of the liquid before proceeding?
    And I freeze grated zucchini in two-cup amounts. If I drain some of the moisture, should I plan ahead and freeze in, say, 2 1/2 cup amounts to compensate?

  16. anja on 16 Jun 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    hi julie,how do you grate the zuccini?fine oder bigger pieces?thanks for your from berlin,anja xx

  17. Gemma on 16 Jun 2012 at 9:18 pm #

    I just made this cake: sprayed the pan with cooking oil, dusted it with cocoa, and it STILL half stuck to the pan. Sigh… I won’t be able to get away with not icing this cake.

  18. molly on 16 Jun 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    have been in search of a grand chocolate zuke cake…

  19. PatW on 17 Jun 2012 at 10:10 am #

    Made this last night Julie, it was wonderful! What did I ever do before I started cooking with you? Most of my go-to recipes are yours these days! Just oiled the pan and it popped out (new pan though). Thanks!

  20. JulieVR on 17 Jun 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    Gemma – I blame the cocoa… yes, it’s the same colour as the cake, but I’m not convinced it has anti-sticking properties. It might even create a bond between batter and spray? I spray my bundt pans generously, and generally have no problems!

  21. work to live. » WHAT’S COOKIN’? CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BUNDT CAKE on 18 Jun 2012 at 4:18 am #

    […] or uses too many fancy ingredients.   This cake was a hit.  If you want to give it a try, click here for the recipe (or to find others).  Happy […]

  22. Jennifer Jo on 26 Jun 2012 at 12:40 pm #

    Made it twice, and now I wrote about it. Thanks!

  23. Dark Chocolate Sour Cream Zucchini Cake | Dinnerversions on 13 Jul 2012 at 8:47 pm #

    […] Adapted from Dinner with Julie. […]

  24. Irm on 23 Jul 2012 at 3:38 am #

    Deeeeelicious!!! I adore your blog Julie. I am mostly cooking from it these days!!! Keep those excellent recipes coming!
    One question though, I want to make this for a friend…but no dairy and no eggs. I know I can use egg substitute but what can i substitute for the sour cream?

  25. Sarah on 28 Aug 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    I just made one since I am literally leaving zucchinis on neighbours’ doorsteps, ringing their doorbells and running away :)
    The cake turned out beautifully. Even my 11 year old son who is not a cake lover, enjoyed a slice for dessert. It really is deep, dark and delicious.

  26. Laura on 03 Sep 2012 at 5:58 am #

    Wow. I made this cake yesterday. As I am NOT much of a baker (way more into cooking) I thought I had done something horribly wrong when my batter started to look more like dough. I did not pour, but rather scoop it into the bundt pan. Perhaps the greek yogurt I used was much thicker than the average sour cream? Did I measure the flour wrong? Anyway, I shouldn’t have worried – it turned out perfectly! Rose like a dream. It basically was identical to the picture here on the blog and got rave reviews from my guests. Thanks for a great recipe. I will share this link widely!

  27. Lise on 06 Sep 2012 at 11:49 am #

    Thanks for the recipe. I think this turned out to be the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made. I used a 9×13 glass baking pan, and it turned out perfectly.

  28. Gemma on 08 Sep 2012 at 10:03 am #

    Julie, I tried this recipe again, without the cocoa dusting in the pan, just a little oil, and it slid out like a dream. This is the BEST chocolate zucchini cake I’ve had.

  29. Carla on 08 Sep 2012 at 6:41 pm #

    Made this cake today. Used Pam but it still stuck some. Need to flour pan also. Tasted delicious. I drizzled with cream cheese icing lightly. Will definitely make again.

  30. Crispy Zucchini-Feta Fritters - Dinner with Julie — Dinner with Julie Dinner with JulieCrispy Zucchini-Feta Fritters » Dinner with Julie on 12 Sep 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    […] outside, soft in the middle, and a great use of raw zucchini, which you’ll be grating to make chocolate cake anyway, right? (Note: if you happen to have one of those two foot long zucchinis to tackle, once […]

  31. Lori at Frugal Edmonton Mama on 15 Sep 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    Ahah! Husband can no longer tell me I am a baking failure. I made these into cupcakes and they were so delicious, so moist, so perfect with whipped cream in the center and SO fun to decorate with the little.

    I blogged it!

  32. Debbie on 25 Oct 2012 at 5:10 pm #

    Can it be made in a 9×13 pan rather than a bundt pan?

  33. Con on 25 Jan 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    worst cake I ever made, what a waste of ingredients

  34. Jody on 11 Feb 2013 at 1:34 pm #

    What would u say 325;F would b equal 2.Thanks looking forward 2 trying this.

  35. Danielle on 13 Apr 2013 at 6:05 pm #

    I just made this cake and it is delicious. Probably the best chocolate cake that I have ever made. Will definitely make again. Thanks!

  36. Micaela on 13 Apr 2013 at 6:07 pm #

    I loved it! I want to make it again! Sincerly Micaela Age 7

  37. Dana on 22 Jun 2013 at 10:55 am #

    Looks like a great recipe, but DO NOT flip this cake over to cool while still warm. Mine fell in chunks right out of the pan and was ruined.

  38. help me get pregnant on 09 Aug 2013 at 8:14 am #

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    like you wrote the guide in it or something. I believe that you simply can do with some % to power the message home a bit,
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  39. Christine on 24 Sep 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    Holy Dinah, this is gooooooooood!! Made a double-batch last night and it is moist with a tender crumb, great texture, fantastic flavour!! I love that there’s been cakes tested at high altitude by you, Julie–this way I don’t need to worry about them working or not. Delish!!! Thanks for a wonderful recipe.

  40. Claire on 07 Feb 2014 at 10:24 am #

    Hi Julie! I am a chocolate + zucchini NUT and I wanted to know: (1) do you think this could be made with honey instead of sugar and (2) do you think any other flour (EG whole wheat or oat) could be used and retain that dense moistness?


  41. Charlotte on 25 Feb 2014 at 8:49 pm #

    Amazing recipe. I am an accomplished baker and after looking for a recipe for a chocolate carrot cake I stumbled upon your and decided to give it a try because it sounded wonderful. And it was!! used dark cocoa- about 1/2 cup b/c that’s all I had- but it still turned out chocolatey and delish. Used mini semisweet chips and walnuts too!!drizzled with 2 oz. of melted semisweet chocolate once cake cooled. Thanks for a great recipe. This one is definitely a keeper and I would recommend it to anyone!!

  42. sadomaso roulure on 18 May 2014 at 5:00 pm #

    Vos posts sont véritablement attrayants

  43. Susan on 21 Aug 2014 at 8:14 am #

    Hi Julie,
    Love your recipes and always turn to your cookbooks or website when I need to be reminded of how to use certain ingredients / leftovers hanging around in the fridge or pantry. Last weekend, I needed to use up some sour cream and thought it would be good via a chocolate Bundt cake. Searched your database and made this recipe.
    It was fabulous of course and I sliced, wrapped and froze the leftover cake. Defrosted for dessert last night and it was perfect.

  44. cheryl on 28 Aug 2014 at 11:58 am #

    I buttered the pan and dusted with cocoa – it turned out – no sticking to the pan. Awesome cake!

  45. darlene on 06 Sep 2014 at 5:22 pm #

    This is an absolutely incredible cake! Could the zucchini be replaced with baked beets to make a beet cake?? :-)

  46. Cindy on 12 Sep 2014 at 8:29 pm #

    Our neighbours have been sharing their zucchini with us this summer. I made this cake last month and I am making it again this month for my Mom’s 83 birthday celebration! It is so moist and decadent! Thanks for sharing!

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