It’s not about the overgrown zucchini

My garden got away from me and I found myself needing to use up some rather large zucchini. The kind that I probably should be pretty embarrassed to admit came from my garden. I love to garden but sometimes you can’t tell from the weeds, insect damage, or apparent lack of attention from its appearance. Even these problems make me happy though. I went several years without much of a garden due to moving twice, getting used to a new state and work. This year I’ve planted nearly on time, setup my fun garden shed, and plotted the 5-year plan for the landscape.

For me, reading, writing, and gardening are direct links to my flow state. That lovely place where time and problems disappear. They are my happy place. My Tahiti if you will. I have to be on guard though. Once I’ve left the station into flow state, I’m likely to stay there. Nothing else gets done. So a mess of a garden is a sign of self-discipline, not necessarily neglect. Other things must be priorities and gardening is my reward. That’s the way I bargain with myself, and a risk I need to be willing to take, and the work it might make.

Someone once told me, a mess is the sign of an interesting person. I’m not sure I’d go that far but I do agree a mess is a sign there’s something more involved than just the mess.  Or the overgrown zucchini.

But what can you do with overgrown zucchini? Make cake I say. Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake, a recipe I got way back when we lived in Wisconsin from a coworker. She called it a dump cake because you are supposed to be able to dump everything together in your baking pan, mix, and bake and boom you have cake. I can’t do that. There’s just something wrong about that.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake

  • Prepare baking pan, either 8×8 or 8×11 glass pan with cooking spray.
  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Peel, seed or core, and shred zucchini. You only need 1 1/2 cups so freeze the rest in 1 cup portions. Wrap in wax paper, freeze, then store in a zipper bag in the freezer.


  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded raw zucchini
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl using a whisk to blend well, set aside. In another bowl, blend together the sugars, eggs, oil, vanilla using a mixer until the mixture doubles and lightens, about 2 minutes, add the zucchini and then start adding the dry mixture. Beat just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into pan and distribute. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes (in my oven). Place on wire rack to cool.

I don’t frost this cake, it’s pretty rich. It could have powdered sugar sprinkled on top I guess or frosting of some sort but I serve with whipped cream or ice cream. It stores pretty well. Use the square pan for a thicker cake, but I usually use my glass oblong pan. I’ve even known some to use a loaf pan for a pound cake style cake.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake


About Robin Arnold

Reader, writer, gardener, geek, maker of homes in several states, now settled in Virginia with husband Bob, and Hazel and Wilson the tabby cats.
This entry was posted in Garden, Recipes, Virginia and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to It’s not about the overgrown zucchini

  1. Good use for overgrown zucchini, Kate! I find myself the proud protector of two volunteer cherry-tomato plants this year. They have overtaken the flower bed and threaten to go farther afield. Considering I haven’t done any nurturing, beyond watering twice and pinching out suckers, they’re thriving. I consider it fairly miraculous whenever anything comes up in the yard.

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