Chocolate Zucchini Poke Cake

Cake should be fun to make and to eat — this zucchini cake covered in chocolate sauce fits the bill.


  • For the cake:
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • For the pudding:
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups whole milk, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • For the chocolate curls:
  • 1 cup dark chocolate, melted


  1. For the cake:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line 2, 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until light and foamy. Add in the flour mixture, then add the sugar, oil, zucchini and vanilla, and mix until just combined. Evenly divide the mixture between the prepared pans, then bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool slightly in pan, then transfer to a rack to cool for 30 minutes.
  5. For the pudding:
  6. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks for about 60 seconds until light yellow and doubled in volume, then whisk in the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of the milk. Once smooth and incorporated, set aside.
  7. In a saucepan, place the sugar, cocoa, salt and remaining milk, and bring to a scald over medium-high heat, which is when the liquid is about 180 to 190 degrees F. (This is before the mixture comes to a boil, and in this stage you will see little bubbles start forming on the sides of the pan.)
  8. Remove the pan from the heat and, while whisking constantly, gradually dribble the hot cocoa into the egg mixture. Pour everything back into the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until the pudding comes to a full boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue whisking for a couple minutes until the pudding has thickened.
  9. Remove the pudding from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  10. For the chocolate curls:
  11. In a medium bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolate. Once melted, pour on a sheet pan and place in the refrigerator to set up, about 25 minutes. Once hard, form curls by scraping a knife towards you. Repeat until 20 to 25 curls have formed. Store in the refrigerator until cake is complete.
  12. For the cake assembly:
  13. Once cakes are cool, use the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes into one layer of the cakes. Pour cooled pudding over this layer and then cover with the second layer. Poke holes in the second later and repeat the pudding step. Cover with chocolate curls to serve.