3-Ingredient Easy Chocolate Zucchini Cake


The simplest cake you’ll ever make, this chocolate zucchini cake recipe is where easy meets delicious! With a deep chocolate flavor and a lovely moist crumb, this cake is a great way to get your veggies while enjoying dessert.

Easy Zucchini Cake

It’s that time of year: gardeners are suffering from an abundance of zucchini. If you’ve ever planted zucchini plants, you know that just one can produce enough squash to keep you going for just about ever. Sometimes I struggle to find ways to use all that summer zucchini, which is why I’m excited to share this recipe with you today. 

3-Ingredient Chocolate Zucchini Cake—it’s like a chocolate lover’s dream come true, and it’s so simple that even if you’re a baking newbie, you’ll nail it. This cake has 3 steps, all of which are super simple and require no fancy kitchen gadgets. If you want to sate your sweet tooth with a minimum of work, this recipe is for you!

This cake is not just easy but also seriously wallet-friendly, plus it’s packed with so much chocolatey goodness! It also has the moistest crumb ever, — each bite melt-in-your-mouth experience. Whether you’re just starting your baking journey or you’re a pro looking for a hassle-free treat, this delicious chocolate zucchini cake is an excellent choice. 

What’s in chocolate zucchini cake? 

This easy recipe uses easy ingredients you may already have in the house!

  • Chocolate Cake Mix: Any flavor of chocolate cake mix will do for this recipe. I’m a big fan of triple chocolate fudge or devil’s food! 
  • Pumpkin Purée: This is the secret ingredient! It adds moisture to the recipe, giving you that gorgeous texture. 
  • Zucchini: Bet you already figured this ingredient out! You’re going to need 1-2 medium sized zucchinis. 
Ingredients for Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Making Zucchini Chocolate Cake

Step 1 | Grate the Zucchini

Using a cheese grater, grate your zucchinis. You want about 1 1/2 cups of shredded zucchini, although you can be imprecise and still get good results with this moist cake. Even if you have a little too much or a little too little, it won’t matter. You really can’t taste the zucchini in the final product. It mostly adds moisture to the recipe and ups the nutrition level of your cake. 

On that same note, don’t worry about blotting or trying to get rid of the water from your zucchini. We want all that glorious moisture!

shredded zucchini

Step 2 | Mix it Up!

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, zucchini, and pumpkin. Use a wooden spoon, hand mixer, or stand mixer to combine the ingredients. It’s going to look very dry at the start. Keep mixing, and it will turn into a lovely thick cake batter. This batter is thicker than the batter for most other cakes, so don’t worry if it seems more like brownie batter than cake batter. That’s how you know it’s going to be a decadent ride!

Zucchini Cake Batter

Step 3 | Bake

Grease and flour or line 9 x 13-inch pan with parchment paper. You can also use a 9 inch round pan. Spread your batter into the prepared pan and smooth it out.

Bake your cake for 20 minutes at 350°, or until a knife stuck into the center comes out clean. The top will look all wrinkly, but I promise there’s a gorgeous cake under there!

Let your cake cool completely before you frost, decorate, or serve it. Check out the serving suggestions below for ideas!

Finished chocolate zucchini cake


  • Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract or espresso powder to deepen the chocolate flavor!
  • Bake this batter in a muffin tin, and it makes chocolate zucchini muffins. Just adjust the baking time down to 12 minutes. 

Substitutions and Variations

Here are some ideas for subbing ingredients in this recipe: 

  • For the pumpkin purée: While you really can’t taste the pumpkin in this, if you can’t bring yourself to use it, you can sub either 1 cup of greek yogurt or 2 eggs. This keeps the texture of the cake, but will change the flavor a bit. If you want to save yourself a few calories, 1 cup of applesauce does the trick. If you want to save yourself a LOT of calories, you can replace the puree with 1 cup of club soda. This substitution does change the texture of the cake — it’s much lighter!
  • For the cake mix: The only sub I have for this one is another flavor of cake mix! You won’t end up with chocolate cake, but spice cake and vanilla cake mix both make delicious desserts of their own.
  • For the zucchini: Subbing zucchini in a zucchini cake? Yessiree! Summer squash (you know, the yellow kind) will taste the exact same. The only difference is you don’t get those pretty pops of green; the yellow squash will be invisible in the finished product. 
Close up of moist chocolate cake

You can also use the base recipe to create a ton of delicious chocolate cake recipes. Here are a few I’ve tried: 

  • Triple Chocolate Zucchini Cake: Up the chocolate level by adding white chocolate chips. Finish with chocolate frosting or a melted milk chocolate drizzle! 
  • Zucchini Spice Cake: Use a spice cake mix instead of the chocolate cake mix. For extra levels of deliciousness, you can add a crumble topping
  • Zucchini Carrot Cake: Use a carrot cake mix and frost with cream cheese frosting. 
  • German Chocolate Zucchini Cake: Use a German chocolate cake mix. Mix pecans into the batter, and finish with coconut pecan frosting. So good! 


Is this recipe vegan/gluten-free/dairy-free? 

Depends on your cake mix! Both pumpkin puree and zucchini are vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free, so as long as your cake mix meets your dietary needs, you’re good to go. Some standard cake mixes are accidentally vegan, so there might be easy options right on your grocery store shelf!

Can I make muffins with this?

Yes! Place muffin liners in a muffin tin, then fill the cups 1/3 of the way and bake at 350° for 12-13 minutes. 

Does this make zucchini bread? 

Sure does. If you make the recipe just as written and simply pour your batter into a bread pan, you can have delicious zucchini bread. The line between cake and quick bread is very thin!

How to Serve

This cake is best served after it has had time to cool. It tastes great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream on top! I also love drizzling melted chocolate on top of individual slices — it looks absolutely gorgeous! 

And last but not least, feel free to frost this cake. Storebought chocolate frosting is an easy way to get the job done. If you have a little time and the desire, this chocolate ganache frosting from Sally’s Baking Addiction is to die for.

What do I do with the leftovers?

Your fudgy chocolate zucchini cake will keep for up to a week. You can cover the pan with foil, or seal your leftover cake in an airtight container. 

You can freeze this easy chocolate zucchini cake. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap or place it in a freezer safe container. It will keep for 3 months. 

To thaw, place on the counter for at least 4 hours. 

3-Ingredient Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Chocolate Zucchini Cake

3-Ingredient Easy Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Make a decadent cake in just a few minutes!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Cost: $4.50
Servings: 12


  • 1 pkg chocolate cake mix
  • 15 oz can pumpkin purée
  • 2 medium zucchinis


  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Grate your zucchini.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix zucchini, pumpkin, and cake mix until it makes a thick, smooth batter.
  • Grease and flour or line a 9×13 cake pan. Pour the cake batter into the pan and smooth out.
  • Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.


Nutrition Facts
3-Ingredient Easy Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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