So asked the husband as he dug into a second (or third) piece of chocolate zucchini cake.

Sorry, honey. I’m afraid it is. But with 2 whole cups of grated zucchini, rationalizations are easy. (Look at all the vegetables! Surely this cake is healthy!)

I found this recipe a number of years ago. It has become my go-to summer cake — one I start making as soon as the zucchini bushes bloom out of control. It features pantry-friendly ingredients you can toss together in a matter of minutes, and it bakes up in less than an hour.

The finished cake needs no embellishment, thanks to its moist crumb and deep chocolate flavor. But I like to serve it with freshly sliced peaches or nectarines.

They make it even easier to rationalize.

zucchini cake

Chocolate Zucchini Cake (Courtesy Bon Appetit, circa 1995)

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted, room-temperature butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk
  • 2 cups grated, unpeeled zucchini
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Butter a 9- by 13- by 2-inch metal pan with butter. Set aside.

Whisk the flour, cocoa, soda and salt in a large bowl and set aside.

Using a stand mixer, beat the butter until it’s fluffy.

Add the sugar and beat until well-incorporated.

Add the vegetable oil and continue beating until you have a smooth batter.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and the milk, alternating between the two and beating just until everything is incorporated. Gently stir in the zucchini.

Pour the batter in your greased pan and smooth its top. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and almonds evenly over the cake.

Bake the cake for 50 minutes. Cool it completely before slicing.