Chocolate Courgette Cake

Chocolate Courgette Cake Recipe

Chocolate cake is something that should be bitter, decadent and, above all, moist. One of the best ways to achieve this, short of incorporating a multitude of sins, is to introduce a somewhat unexpected ingredient to the mix; courgette (zucchini).

As with carrot cake, vegetables – or fruit in this case – serve to hydrate and hold together a cake, developing a moist, dense structure. Of course, the inclusion of oil and black treacle (molasses) both help to soften proceedings a little, but it is the courgette that really lays the foundations of this smashing number.

Chocolate Courgette Cake

The addition of nuts – hazelnuts or otherwise – only serve to provide this chocolate courgette cake with even more interest. The crunch provides a sweet and delicate contrast to the otherwise bitter hunk of decadence. Remember, even something as delightful as chocolate cake needs a surprise or two to make it truly exceptional.

Many chocolate courgette cake recipes plump for a ganache made with double cream. However, sour cream or even crème fraîche seem more appropriate choices given the bitterness of the sponge. A great deal of icing doesn’t always do it for me, but in this case the extra chocolate caps off a truly exquisite creation rather nicely.

Of course, chocolate cakes come in all shapes and sizes, and my recipe for Apricot Chocolate Fudge Cake is a decadent little number that’s also worth a bake.

Chocolate Courgette Cake

Makes 1 20cm cake


• 250g self-raising flour

• 3 small courgettes (around 325g), finely grated

• 60g cocoa powder

• 320g golden caster sugar

• 1 tbsp black treacle (molasses)

• 150ml vegetable oil

• 2 eggs

• 100g hazelnuts, skin on

• 200g dark chocolate

• 100ml sour cream


1. Preheat your oven to 160C (fan)/ 180C. Lightly toast your hazelnuts before roughly chopping them. Combine the flour, cocoa powder and sugar in a large mixing bowl, before mixing in the oil, treacle, eggs and hazelnuts. Finally, stir in the courgettes and pour into a lined baking tin.

Chocolate Courgette Cake

2. Bake the cake for around 50 minutes – until a knife comes out clean when inserted. Leave to cool for ten minutes until turning out onto a wire rack.

3. To make the ganache, melt your chocolate gently in a bain marie. Set to one side for a minute or two before whisking in your sour cream. Spread the ganache over the cooled cake.

Chocolate Courgette Cake

Cost: Though decadent in quality, this simple and understated chocolate courgette cake is relatively cost effective at around £4.


65 comments on “Chocolate Courgette Cake

  1. thesinglegourmetandtraveller
    September 1, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    What an exciting addition – the courgettes – and the cake looks wonderful. Nothing like a good chocolate cake 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      September 18, 2013 at 9:33 pm

      And this was a very good chocolate cake 😀

  2. Grace @ Cultural Life
    September 1, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    Your pictures made my mouth water! I’m craving sweet things today and I wish I had a slice of this chocolate cake in front of me.

    • frugalfeeding
      September 18, 2013 at 9:33 pm

      Thanks – it’s very quick to make 😀

  3. lovinghomemade
    September 1, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    That sounds absolutely delicious, thank you!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 18, 2013 at 9:33 pm

      MY pleasure – it was divine to make and eat.

  4. thepinnyproject
    September 1, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Yum! I’ve got to say that your recipe looks denser and more chocolately than another one I tried recently! And after a fresh delivery of courgettes in my weekly veg box, I know just what I shall be making for this week’s sweet treat! Thanks!

  5. musingmar
    September 1, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Brilliant! A chocolate cake is always welcome, as is a recipe that helps us tackle the zucchini that is almost annoying abundant this time of year. Yes, it’s good but there’s just so much of it! I made zucchini soup for lunch today; hmm, maybe a chocolate zucchini cake for dessert this evening?

    • frugalfeeding
      September 18, 2013 at 9:32 pm

      Exactly! Things should never be wasted, even if we have it in abundance.

  6. Sibella at
    September 1, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    Mmm it looks so rich and inviting! YUM! 🙂 Zucchini is a great addition to a chocolate cake and I also like that you incorporated molasses and hazelnuts! This is what I call Baking Art!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 18, 2013 at 9:32 pm

      Aww thanks – that’s so nice. One of my favourites.

  7. movita beaucoup
    September 1, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    I love ANYTHING baked with zucchini. It makes baked goods taste magical. Magical!! Also, that ganache looks next level awesome.

    • frugalfeeding
      September 18, 2013 at 9:31 pm

      IT really does – the ganache was almost the best bit!

  8. Inge
    September 1, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Wow! I must try this one!

  9. Karen
    September 2, 2013 at 1:12 am

    Zucchini makes so many baked goods moist and delicious. Definitely trying this out this week. Yummy!

  10. Carolyn Chan
    September 2, 2013 at 3:06 am

    That cake looks amazing ! And the courgette is a totally unexpected addition but guess it would add the same moistness as a carrot does to a carrot cake ?

    • frugalfeeding
      September 18, 2013 at 9:31 pm

      Thanks – it does indeed, a really moist and delicious cake.

  11. Moira
    September 2, 2013 at 4:21 am

    Your cake looks delicious, and I love that it incorporates courgette!

  12. taplatt
    September 2, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    This looks amazing. I love the little surprise additions — they do keep it interesting! Plus, adding courgette adds that little bit of health to an otherwise decadent cake.

    • frugalfeeding
      September 18, 2013 at 9:28 pm

      Thanks! It’s always good to have a smidge of healthiness.

  13. Laurie
    September 2, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Looks delicious. Chocolate & Zucchini is such a surprisingly good combination!

  14. Rebecca
    September 2, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    YUM. My mom makes a similar chocolate zucchini cake, but hers is very sweet (not bitter at all) and not quite so fudge-y. I like the addition of the dark treacle/molasses and hazelnuts. I will definitely have to try your version!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 18, 2013 at 9:27 pm

      I’m a fan of dark/bitter chocolate. Please do try it!

  15. Korena in the Kitchen
    September 3, 2013 at 5:44 am

    Love the sour cream ganache frosting!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 18, 2013 at 9:27 pm

      Me too – it was delightful and worked very well.

  16. Jude
    September 3, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    This looks absolutely divine. I’ve just copied out the recipe and am off to the shop for some sour cream and courgettes!

  17. Our Growing Paynes
    September 3, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    My mum makes something like this. It’s the only courgette thing I like as it doesn’t taste like the courgette! 🙂 But it does make it really moist.

    • frugalfeeding
      September 18, 2013 at 9:26 pm

      Exactly – I’m not massive courgette fan, so it’s a good thing.

  18. Teddy Nseir
    September 3, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Good combination with the perfect quantities. it looks very tasty…

  19. Jura
    September 4, 2013 at 5:15 am

    Planning on making this today but 320g seems a lot of sugar especially if it is meant to be a bit bitter – is this definitely correct? Just saw another recipe with similar ratios only using 180grams…

    • frugalfeeding
      September 18, 2013 at 9:26 pm

      Quite correct, though you could probably lower the amount if you like. It’s a pretty big cake.

  20. cecilia
    September 4, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Oh that is decadent, quite divine! Delicious shots! c

  21. Anne Bonney
    September 4, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Looks delicious – I used your post as a jumping off point for my recent gunsmokeandknitting post. Thanks for the inspiration.

  22. ohlidia
    September 5, 2013 at 3:37 am

    Looks rich and moist and decadent. Oh yum!

  23. Sacha
    September 6, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    I’m always up for a “bitter hunk of decadence.” And it’s a nice way to use up any extra zucchini. I still have your fritters on my list though!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 18, 2013 at 9:23 pm

      Aren’t we all? Those fritter are delicious – you must make them!

  24. leaf (the indolent cook)
    September 7, 2013 at 9:35 am

    This certainly looks decadent! Beautifully rich… and always nice to know that it has the added bonus of a nutritious fruit/vegetable.

    • frugalfeeding
      September 18, 2013 at 9:23 pm

      Exactly and one that you don’t even notice.

  25. Morgan
    September 8, 2013 at 8:49 am

    I grow courgettes every year, and I am always looking for fresh ideas to get the courgettes past the kids – and this could be the very thing [not on a regular basis but as a treat] as it looks divine!

  26. Somer
    September 11, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    That looks simply divine Nick! Wouldn’t mind a slice right now!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 18, 2013 at 9:23 pm

      I’m sure you could veganise it in a jiffy!

      • Somer
        September 18, 2013 at 9:47 pm

        indeed! 🙂

  27. rachsmith
    September 14, 2013 at 10:32 am

    That looks wonderful! I love vegetables in a cake – keeps it moist, and stops it being too sweet. I think I was born without much of a sweet tooth, so beetroot/courgette cakes are some of my favourites. Incidentally, William Sitwewll was doing a “campaign” in last month’s Waitrose about putting vegetables in cakes. It does seem like a PARTICULARLY good use of a courgette! X

    • frugalfeeding
      September 18, 2013 at 9:20 pm

      Exactly! I’m not too sure about beetroot – I don’t much like the after taste.

  28. Stephen Brand
    September 14, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    I think Elaine is making one of these tonight Nick ……. nom nom nom.

  29. Krista
    November 5, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Looks sooooo delicious! Got 2 courgettes and was thinking where I could use it. Perfect. Will try it today!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 8, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      Thanks – perfect! Hope you enjoyed it, do let me know!

  30. Al Guy
    December 6, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Can you freeze this before you put the ganache on?

    • frugalfeeding
      December 9, 2013 at 6:47 pm

      I don’t see why not – cover it in something though otherwise it’ll dry out!

  31. Kristy
    July 5, 2014 at 4:51 pm


    Thanks for the recipe. It’s absolutely delicious. I made it last year, with the last of the zucchini from my garden. I just made it again, with the first of my zucchini.



    • frugalfeeding
      July 15, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      Fantastic – glad you enjoying it so much you came back 🙂

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