Decadent Chocolate Zucchini Bread

chocolate zucchini bread
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I have always loved zucchinis. Been making zoodles, fritters and a truck load of chocolate zucchini bread over the years. I still remember I used to make a supper moist chocolate zucchini bread at a small bakery cafe I used to work back in Melbourne. They sold out like hot cakes (I mean it is cake after all LOL) Needless to day this was a seasonal thing!

Last week a friend of mine handed me a bag of home grown zucchinis. They were huge, organic and so fresh! I made fritters from most of it but kept two for cakes. I wanted to give my usual chocolate zucchini bread a little twist.

The twist!

If you know me well, you might have already guessed, this one. Yes, I added some of my sourdough starter in this bread. Also I added a splash of coffee liqueur to bring out the deep cocoa flavor. The result was absolutely magical. The bread turned out super soft, moist and with a deep chocolate flavor and aroma.

excess starter

Substitute to Sourdough starter

I always have a jar of excess starter sitting in my fridge. If you are a sourdough baker, then this is not uncommon to you. Excess starter is acidic and that is exactly what we want here. The baking soda in the recipe will work with this acidic starter and help rise the bread. So if you don’t have starter/levain you can use the following instead;

  • buttermilk
  • yogurt
  • sour cream
  • kefir

As you can see these all have one thing in common. They are all sour (mildly acidic) and work perfectly for this recipe. Replace with equal parts. You can add more if the mixture becomes too dry.

chocolate zucchini bread

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coffee liqueur

If you can add the liqueur, do add it, because there is really no match for that! Alcohol will be evaporated while baking so, you don’t have to worry about that aspect. If you don’t have the coffee liqueur or don’t want to add it, then you may use any of the following;

  • espresso shot (1 or 2)
  • espresso powder
  • instant coffee (1 tbsp dissolved in 2 tbs of water)
  • freshly brewed strong black coffee

Addition of coffee highlights the chocolate notes and I always do this when making chocolate cakes and desserts. Coffee or coffee liqueur is completely optional and it won’t affect the texture.

This is really a one bowl recipe, but I recommend mixing dry and wet separately before mixing them together. So, let’s get started.

Preheat the oven to 375 °F ( though we will bring this down after placing the loaf in)

Spray and line a loaf pan

grated zucchini

Grate one medium or two small zucchinis. We need two lightly packed cups. Use the large size of the garter. the coarser the shavings the better.

it is okay to use slightly more or less zucchini. This is a very forgiving recipe.

wet ingredients

Prepare the wet ingredients,

  • two eggs (doesn’t have to be room temperature)
  • sourdough starter/levain (or any of the above substitutes)
  • Oil (any mild flavor oil works)
  • coffee liqueur (or a substitute)
dry ingredients

Prepare the dry ingredients

  • all purpose flour + baking soda + baking powder + salt
  • cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • light brown sugar
  • white sugar
mix the wet

mix all the wet ingredients and whisk until smooth

mix all the dry

Mix all the dry ingredients together and add the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined.

mix dry and wet

Add the zucchini and fold into the batter. If batter is too tight (dry) add a table spoon or two of hot water. Do not over mix!

batter in pan

Drop the batter in a prepared 9 by 5 loaf pan (a slightly smaller pan is okay)

My pan is 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.75 USA PAN

baked loaf

Bake in a preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the baked loaf before cutting into it!

Never cut into a cake while it is still warm/hot. The center takes time to dry out. Use a serrated knife to slice this cake as it is so soft. I usually leave the cake wrapped for one day before serving. This helps with developing flavor too.

chocolate zucchini bread


This loaf is pretty much like a carrot cake. You can slice, wrap and freeze for later. Just pull the frozen slices out and let them thaw at room temperature for 2 hours and they will be as good as new.

This cake is not overly sweet and perfect for breakfast on-the-go. For an indulging experience, serve with sweetened whipped cream, ice cream or creme fresh. But honestly speaking, this does not need anything else!

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