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Chocolate Zucchini Snack Cake

Patricia Reitz

So today is the first day of the new year and most food blogs will be posting lighter, healthier recipes, but not me... I give you CAKE! 

But wait a minute... if you think about it, this is a single layer cake made with greek yogurt and shredded zucchini, and the frosting is just a thin layer of ganache... so basically, this really is a lighter, healthier recipe!!  Glad to do my part - you're welcome.


Start with shredded zucchini (or half and half, shredded zucchini and shredded yellow squash).  Thankfully, good zucchini is available throughout the year.

Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and fine salt together in a large mixing bowl.  Note - sugar is usually considered a "wet" ingredients, but this is a casual cake that is easily mixed together by simply stirring, so no biggie.  You could even throw all the ingredients in one bowl and call it a day if you wanted to.

But I like to mix the wet and dry stuff separately and then combine them, but I digress.

Here are the wet ingredients - eggs, canola oil, greek yogurt, and pure vanilla extract.


Whisk to combine.


Pour the wet ingredients into the dry.


Stir to combine.

Lastly, stir in the shredded zucchini (and shredded squash if using).


Before you pour the cake batter in the pan, be sure to coat the pan with baking spray - the kind that contains flour and oil.  This stuff is the bomb and I never bake a cake without it - helps your cakes release from the pan every single time!!  Great stuff.

And here's another tip that's completely unnecessary, but wow does it make a difference.  Wrap your pan with insulated baking strips so they rise evenly and don't develop a hump in the middle while baking.  Seriously, I use them for every layer cake I bake.  From simple snack cakes to large wedding cakes.  I never have to trim the tops of my layer cakes.

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Items used to make this recipe:


makes one 8x8-inch cake (can be doubled and baked in a 9x13-inch pan)



  • 1 cup all purpose flour

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder, sifted (darkest you can find, like this black cocoa)

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1 large egg

  • 6 tablespoons plain greek yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons hot brewed coffee (or hot water)

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 cup shredded zucchini (or substitute up to half yellow summer squash)


  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

  • 4 ounces heavy cream


To make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F, spray metal cake pan with Baker's Joy, and wrap pan with insulated baking strips (optional, but they keep the cake from forming a hump in the middle).

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, greek yogurt, oil, coffee, and pure vanilla extract.

  4. Pour wet mixture into bowl containing the dry ingredients and mix well; add shredded zucchini and stir until combined.

  5. Pour batter into cake pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

  6. Remove from oven and cool completely before topping with ganache.

To make the ganache:

  1. Place chopped chocolate in a heat-safe bowl; set aside.

  2. In a medium heavy-bottom saucepan, heat cream until just before it reaches the boiling point (small bubbles will form around the edges).

  3. Remove cream from heat and pour over chocolate.

  4. Let the chocolate and cream steep together for 2 minutes, then whisk gently until the two combine and become shiny, dark, and glossy.

  5. When cake is completely cool, pour ganache over cake; use an offset spatula to spread evenly.

  6. Chill cake until service. Store in an airtight container.