Photo courtesy of Penzy.com, purveyor of fine herbs and spices. This is, hands down, the best chocolate cake you’ll ever sink your teeth into.

Zucchini is one of my favorite summer vegetables—for stir fries, quiche, omelets, and a Moroccan-flavored vegetable stew. I like it sliced thin on my salads or grilled for a side dish. Make up a colorful fresh vegetable platter and add a few dips to take along for a potluck. But, right now, I’m making cake because I need to use up the grated frozen zucchini I have in my freezer. If you are not already a fan of zucchini desserts, you will be after trying these recipes.

When I freeze zucchini, I grate it with the skin on and freeze it in Ziplock bags in 2-cup portions. That way, when I make either of these recipes, all I need do is thaw a package out – super easy! Of course, you may also use freshly grated zucchini. 

One of these recipes call for buttermilk, but if you don’t have any, you can make a substitution.

Use an equal amount of plain or vanilla yogurt or sour cream or sour milk. Make sour milk by adding 1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar to a half-cup of milk. Or, keep dry Saco buttermilk on hand. You use 2 tablespoons of the dry milk to one-half cup of water in place of the one-half cup of buttermilk. And you don’t have to worry about it spoiling before you get around to using it.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

–modified from a Penzey’s recipe

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil salad oil, such as canola
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups grated zucchini, skin on
  • 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the oil, eggs, vanilla and buttermilk and mix well. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Gradually add to the wet ingredients and mix well. Fold in the zucchini. Pour into a greased and floured 9×13 pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and nuts over the top of the cake. Bake at 350 F for 35-40 minutes. Let cool before cutting.

Lemon zucchini cake

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tsps. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsps. baking soda                                                                                     
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups finely grated zucchini, skin on
  • Glaze, optional
  • 3 Tbsps. butter, melted
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsps. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, oil, zest and lemon juice together until smooth. Add dry ingredients, mixing together until blended. Fold in zucchini and spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool on rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Prepare the glaze by mixing together the melted butter, powdered sugar, and lemon juice. Whisk until smooth and drizzle over cooled cake. Glaze will harden slightly.

Wisconsin author Lynn Greene has written “Lynn’s Place” for numerous publications over the years in Wisconsin. She now shares her insights and recipes here.

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By Lynn Greene

Wisconsin author Lynn Greene has written "Lynn's Place" for numerous publications over the years in Wisconsin. She now shares her insights and recipes here.