Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake

Just a couple of days ago I tore off yet another page from the big family calendar hanging on my kitchen wall to reveal a fresh, new month.  There’s something cathartic about that process of tearing off the messy scribbles from a month finished, to reveal a pristine new one.  That simple experience gives me unexpected pleasure.  The first thing I always do to the clean new page is go through and mark significant days.  Today, August 3rd, got a sparkly flash of glitter washi tape.  I put it on there without even thinking because I’ve been doing that for 30-something years now.   August 3rd is my Mom’s birthday.  She would have turned 61 today. 

The best chocolate zucchini bunt cakeAs I spoke at her funeral last fall, I spotted my grandmother, her Mom, near the front of the chapel and I smiled at her while I recounted a vivid memory.  I was probably 13 or so when my Grandma was in town for a visit.  She had made her famous chocolate-chocolate-chocolate bundt cake the night before (the inspiration for this holiday version) and when I came down to the kitchen the next morning I found my Mom in her pajamas, digging into a big slice of cake.  Because if there’s one thing she taught me, it’s that chocolate cake makes the best breakfast.  

The best chocolate zucchini bundt cake

I followed right along and started serving myself a piece as she walked with her plate into the adjoining butlers pantry to do something.  Right at that moment my grandma came down the stairs and in shock and horror, asked what on earth I was doing chowing down on cake at 9am.  

The best chocolate zucchini bunt cake

“If your Mother only knew what you were doing right now, eating cake for breakfast?!” 

The best chocolate zucchini bunt cake

 Without saying a word I stealthily shifted my glance to the butlers pantry where my Mom was standing just out of sight from my grandma.  I will never forget our eyes aligning as she stood frozen, like a toddler caught with her hand in the candy jar.  She licked some stray frosting off her lips and with wide eyes and holding in laughter, shook her head in a desperate plea and slowly backed away as if I had never seen her. 

The best chocolate zucchini bunt cake

I took one for the team that morning and ate a bowl of oatmeal for Grandma.  Later  we told her what had happened and we laughed hysterically for years afterwards about it.  I guess mothers are always mothers!  

The best chocolate zucchini bunt cake

My mom loved chocolate and any excuse to eat more of it.  I’ve decided I’ll eat cake every August 3rd forever.  And then for breakfast on August 4th.  I was thinking about her when I made this cake because I know she would have loved this. 

The best chocolate zucchini bunt cake

It’s packed with a generous amount of zucchini, which keeps it incredibly moist, even for days after (again, breakfast!)

The best chocolate zucchini bunt cake

Aside from having a rich cocoa flavor, it’s also studded with chunks of chocolate, 

The best chocolate zucchini bunt cake

and then drizzled with the perfect amount of this fabulous glaze.  This is actually the same glaze that goes with the original chocolate-chocolate-chocolate bundt cake my grandma always made. 

The best chocolate zucchini bunt cake

This is one of my most favorite cakes.  It’s great alone, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.  

The best chocolate zucchini bunt cake

And because it’s super rich, you can slice it thin and it feeds a lot of people! 

The best chocolate zucchini bunt cake

I hope you make it.  I hope you love it.  And I hope you save a piece for breakfast.  

Happy birthday, Mom. 

Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake
The ultimate chocolate zucchini bundt cake. Moist, tender, and delicious!
Print
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups all purpose flour
  2. 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  3. 3/4 teaspoons table salt
  4. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  5. 3/4 cup canola oil
  6. 1 1/2 cups sugar
  7. 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  8. 4 eggs
  9. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  10. 3/4 cup sour cream
  11. 4 cups shredded zucchini
  12. 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  13. Glaze
  14. 3 tablespoons water
  15. 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter
  16. 1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup
  17. 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  18. 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the inside of a bundt pan and dust with cocoa powder. Set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or hand mixer) combine oil, sugars, eggs and vanilla. Mix to combine and then stir in sour cream just until blended.
  4. Add zucchini until just combined. Add all but about 1 tablespoon of the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until just incorporated. Add chocolate chips to the remaining tablespoon of dry ingredients and toss to coat them and then stir them into the batter.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour 10-15 minutes. Start checking cake after about 60 minutes. Check doneness with a skewer.
  6. Let cake cool on a rack for about 10 minutes and then invert to remove from bundt.
  7. To make Glaze: combine coconut oil/butter, corn syrup and water in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for about 30 seconds in the microwave and then beat in powdered sugar and cocoa powder with a hand mixer. Let cool for a minute or two until it's a good glazing consistency and then drizzle over cake.
Notes
  1. This cake actually tastes best when it is all the way cool. And I think it's even better the next day! Just keep it well covered to store overnight.
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51 comments

  1. Your story actually gave me tears in my eyes. I’m so sorry for your loss, but what a great memories you must have! I think it’s a great idea to remember her by eating chocolate cake every year, I’m sure she would have loved the idea.

  2. Your picture took my breath away. Stunning gorgeous magnificent glossy rich chocolate CAKE. Can’t wait to make it! Your memory brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my lips. I’m still smiling. Yes, I’ve always eaten that ‘night before’ cake for breakfast, and so do my girls. One of life’s true delights, and when it tastes BEST. Thank you, thank you for sharing. Happy birthday to your wonderful mom!

  3. Ahh! Thanks for sharing that sweet story! Happy Birthday to your mom! I always eat rocky road ice cream on what was my mom’s birthday because it was her favorite.

  4. Can’t wait to try it!! That was a hilarious story. Happy Birthday to your Mom. I hope you have a good day remembering her and her love for you.

  5. Yummy! What a great excuse not to waste the excessive pile of zucchini accumulating on my kitchen table. This is a sweet story about your mom and a cherished memory of her. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Oh, crying all the tears for you. This is such a beautiful tribute. My mom would have been 66 on July 16, and we have forever dubbed it “Double Dessert Day” in her honor. And we send her yellow balloons. 🙂 Love you.

  7. This is a beautiful tribute to your mother, hugs to you! I am excited to add this beautiful cake to my zucchini repertoire. Thank you!

  8. What a beautiful, well written tribute to your mom on her special day. It made me cry. I am so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful idea to eat chocolate cake and remember her on her special day. Your memories are priceless. Thank you for a beautiful post and a delicious new chocolate cake recipe.

  9. Thank you so much for this. Today is my mom’s birthday too – she would have been 65. And she would have loved this story and this cake. I’m crying tears for us both. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

  10. Made me laugh and made me cry. I guess I’ll have to pick up some zucchini! That looks yummy!
    PS loving the newsletter recipes!

  11. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story and tribute AND recipe! I can’t wait to make it. My mom would have loved it too! 🙂

  12. Awwww! Reading your post with tears in my eyes! My dad would have been 66 this year. We always have cheesecake with hot fudge on his birthday and send up white balloons with our goals for the coming year written on them. I know it probably hurts a lot to have this be the first birthday with her celebrating on the other side, but it does get easier! Best wishes!

  13. Looks so good! Quick question – my grandmother used to make a chocolate prune cake that we never got a recipe for (every time she tried to measure the ingredients it never turned out right). Do you think I could substitute prunes for the zucchini in this recipe?

  14. What an amazing story. I loved every word. Your stories about your mom always inspire me to try harder and be better. Happy birthday to her!

  15. Aw, I love this so much! I am always at a loss at what to do for my mom’s birthday in her memory. This is perfection and the story made me laugh out loud.

    Sending you love and I’ll eat some cake in your mom’s honor.

  16. Look great and I love the story! Quick question- since I never buy corn syrup (just not a common thing in my house that I bake with- not judging), is there a substitute ingredient that would work or a different glaze that doesn’t use it? Thanks! I try not to buy something I may not use regularly.

  17. I’ve made your chocolate zucchini bread several times this summer, and this looks deliciously similar. I can’t wait to try that glaze! Thank you for sharing such a sweet story about your beloved mother.

  18. Thank you for the beautiful post and memory!! I love how food not only fuels our bodies, but unites our relationships and forges memories.

  19. Made this cake this weekend and it was delicious! I do have a question though. The glaze in your picture looks thick and yummy. Mine was so thin, it kept falling off the cake. I made the cake the night before and then made the glaze the morning of my party. I used light corn syrup, but that was the only change in the ingredients (butter as well but that was in the recipe. I haven’t yet used coconut oil). Help Please!

  20. Such a heartwarming memory! I hope chocolate made that difficult day just a bit easier!

    Question: Would you wait to glaze it just before serving or is it all right ahead of time?

    I have a zucchini chocolate cake in the oven (a family recipe, but frankly yours looks better and I’ll make it next time!) and wanted to use your glaze recipe.

  21. love it! I was wondering if I could make it in any other pan? my bundt pan wont fit in my top smaller oven and of course my lower oven is broken at the moment!:(

  22. I loved the story. Also, I just made the cake with my granddaughter standing there drooling as I added the glaze. She licked that bowl clean and then kept trying to get into the glaze that had dripped from the cake and onto the plate. We have tried it and it is so much better than my other recipe that I will never go back. Thanks for a wonderful story and a wonderful recipe.

  23. Just baked this and it is gorgeous! It’ so high and pretty I almost hate to frost it. I must eat gluten free but I just told my son I baked him a cake for my birthday tomorrow!!!

  24. This cake is amazing!!! I use like 6-8 cups of zucchini because I have TONS of it. Everyone is always surprised there is zucchini in it — it is so moist and delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  25. I never use corn syrup….I hate to buy a whole bottle just to glaze this…any other options?

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