I’m a neglectful mother, at least to the fruits and vegetables in my garden of late. My poor zucchini were abandoned for a month in a tangle of tomato plants and grew into something better suited to hitting baseballs than being cooked into a tender saute. Just last week, I harvested three of them, determined to coax their firm flesh and seedy interiors into something worth eating.

My first experiment was at the suggestion of a neighbor who told me that overgrown zucchini can be cooked down with brown sugar and cinnamon and then mashed into a sweet compote, akin to applesauce. I dutifully cubed and cooked up 10 whole cups, excited that I was onto something BIG. Once finished, the kids and I eagerly dug in, but stopped short after one bite. “Squashsauce” was a total bust and found it’s way pretty quickly into the compost.

Luckily, my next attempt more than made up for that first failure, resulting in these Double Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes. Moist, chocolatey, just sweet enough, the kids loved them. If you take a bite with your eyes closed, you’d never suspect vegetables were part of the equation (as an aside, eating chocolate with your eyes closed is highly underrated).

The treats are decadent enough to qualify as a birthday cupcake, but wholesome enough for an afternoon snack along with a glass of milk (the mini size are good for littler appetites). A full cup and a half of zucchini goes into the batter, along with whole wheat flour, yogurt, and just enough chocolate chips for good measure. Shower the finished cakes with confectioners’ sugar to pretty them up or spread with frosting if you’re looking for a dressier affair. You can also bake the batter in a loaf pan and drizzle it with melted chocolate.Β 
Chocolate Zucchini Cake by Mom's Kitchen Handbook

To be honest, I wasn’t sure whether to call these cupcakes or muffins; I suppose they could qualify as either. Whatever they are, Chocolate Zucchini Cupakes are bound to be an improvement over store bought, particularly on the nutrition front. These weigh in at about 200 calories each (80 for the mini size), which isn’t bad, especially when you consider that a chocolate muffin from Starbucks is nearly 500 calories, the ones from Dunkin’ Donuts and Costco, top 600.

With late-season zucchini abundant in markets, now is a good time to get baking. A couple of medium zucchini will more than suffice for the recipe. And don’t worry, you needn’t scare up a neglected, overgrown one to make it, but if you’d like, I’ve got plenty to go around. Come over.

Note: You might also like this Sneaky Chocolate Bundt Cake made with beets and zucchini.


Yield: Makes 12 regular, 30 mini cupcakes, or 1 loaf


If little ribbons of green zucchini in these cupcakes will be a turnoff to your kids, feel free to peel the squash before grating it. If you want to get a little more decadent, frost them with a classic buttercream. The will keep up to four days in the fridge or wrapped well, will freeze for up to one month.


  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1Β½ cups coarsely grated zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini)
  • 1/2 cup bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Confectioners' sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 1 dozen regular-size muffin tins or 36 mini muffin tins with paper liners or generously grease with oil or butter. If you want to bake this in a loaf pan, generously grease a 9x5-inch pan well with oil or butter.
  2. Put the grated zucchini in a colander set over the sink and use your hands to squeeze out some of the liquid. Leave in the sink until ready to use.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer on high until foamy and light yellow, a minute or so. Add the yogurt, canola oil, sugar, and vanilla and beat again on medium until one even color and consistency, another minute. Set aside. You can also do this with a whisk and a little elbow grease.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the whole-wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Stir well with a fork to blend all the ingredients.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat on medium just until evenly mixed together, scraping down the sides as needed.
  6. Add the zucchini and chocolate chips to the batter. Mix until just combined.
  7. For full-size cupcakes, fill each tin with a scant ΒΌ cup of batter. For mini cupcakes, figure about 1 Β½ tablespoons of batter each (although this can vary depending on the size of your muffin tins).
  8. Put into the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 28 minutes for full-size cupcakes, closer to 20 minutes for minis, and about an hour for a loaf.
  9. Remove from oven and leave on the counter until completely cool. Finish with a light dusting of confectioners' sugar, your favorite chocolate frosting, or 1/4 cup of melted chocolate chips (in the case of the loaf).
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Chocolate Zucchini Cake by Mom's Kitchen Handbook


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  1. Shawna
    03.21.2013 at 6:53 PM #

    These were easy and very good! Three out of four of us gave them a 10. πŸ™‚ I was in a hurry, so tried to get them into 12 regular muffin cups, so I had to cook them about 35 minutes and even then they were a little bit soft, but not raw. I froze most and will send them in my first grader’s lunches this month.

    • katiemorford
      03.21.2013 at 7:15 PM #

      Wow … A 10 from 3 out of 4. I’ll take it!

  2. Therese
    03.29.2013 at 6:48 AM #

    These are the best!! This has become my go to recipe for chocolate muffins. I make them all the time. You should have seen my mother in law’s face when I dumped all the zucchini in the dough, and then her face when she tasted the result. She loved them. So yummy, chocolaty and moist. Recommended by the whole family in this household,

    • katiemorford
      03.29.2013 at 7:34 AM #

      Awesome! I’m actually making these tomorrow.

  3. 07.18.2013 at 8:41 AM #

    My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from a different web page and thought I might check things out.
    I like what I see so i am just following you.

    Look forward to finding out about your web page again.

  4. Pavan Sanghera
    08.07.2013 at 11:43 AM #

    Great way to sneak in some greens

  5. 09.25.2013 at 5:04 PM #

    I have no idea how I came to this site πŸ™‚ But I’m glad I’m here! I’ve made these muffins with my 4 year old yesterday and he was so excited to try them! Have they cooled enough? – he kept asking πŸ™‚
    Mine didn’t turn out this smooth like yours on the pic, more chunkylike on the top, however the taste was awesome! This will be my ultimate ‘save the zucchini’ recipe from now on.
    Thank you!!!

    • katiemorford
      09.26.2013 at 6:01 AM #

      Great. So glad you found me. It’s a handy, end-of-summer recipe when zucchini are in abundance!

  6. Stacy
    08.19.2014 at 8:32 PM #

    Awesome recipe! I used my food processor, on the fine grate setting, for the zucchini. No one could tell that there was zucchini in these cupcakes. Served them to my kids, husband, father, aunt, neighbor and myself of course. No one could have just one. Next time I may leave out the cinnamon though, so the chocolate flavor can come through more. Can’t wait to make another batch. Thanks for sharing your recipe(:

    • katiemorford
      08.20.2014 at 7:00 AM #

      Oh good! So gladd it was a success. I think these would be great without the cinnamon. Don’t want anything interfering with chocolate :)!

  7. Jennifer
    11.17.2014 at 3:46 PM #

    Growing up my Gram made chocolate zucchini cake. These sound really good. Maybe sprinkle a couple of peanut butter chips on top and it’s like my childhood dessert πŸ™‚

    • katiemorford
      11.17.2014 at 4:15 PM #

      Nothing like those childhood food memories. I hope this one measures up. It’s one of my kids’ favorites.

  8. Sabrina
    09.02.2015 at 9:07 PM #

    Kyle is allergic to dairy — so if I don’t include the yogurt, what should I replace it with?

    • katiemorford
      09.03.2015 at 8:34 AM #

      I’d probably try a non-dairy yogurt, say soy yogurt. I would think that would work. Let me know how it goes πŸ™‚

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