This Chocolate Cake Roll is a chocolate lover’s dream! A chocolate zucchini sponge cake is baked on a jelly roll pan that is later filled with a spiced cream filling. This zucchini recipe is similar to a swiss roll, just minus the chocolate frosting.

This is the Chocolate Cake recipe you will want to make when you want to impress someone with little effort! Everyone loves to see that cake roll spiral filled with delicious creamy filling. My family gobbles this up in no time flat and I have never had anyone say they wouldn’t eat it because I put zucchini in it! (Actually, they don’t even know!)

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Roll on a serving platter with a slice of cake in the background

A delicious way to use the zucchini from your garden

About half-way through summer, most people who have grown zucchini in their garden have so much of it they don’t know what to do with it! If they aren’t giving it away to friends and neighbors, they are searching the internet on ways to use it in recipes so they don’t waste it.

I have several zucchini recipes we have come to love over the years. Some of our very favorites are Chocolate Zucchini Bread, Low-Carb Biscuits with Zucchini and Cheese, and Everything but the Bagel Keto Zucchini Chips.

The roots of this Chocolate Zucchini Cake Roll with Spiced Cream Filling recipe

I first made this chocolate zucchini cake recipe back in September of 2011. We had been living in the Albany, NY area for almost a full year. Back then I was working at a financial firm where I had a supervisor who was pregnant and claiming the “baby” was craving some baked treats. Don’t you love the clever way some one will hint they are looking for you to bring something into the office?

Anyway, I wanted to make this chocolate zucchini cake roll and give it a fall flair by filling it with a subtly spiced cream filling. I really love roll cakes, and they aren’t really all that difficult to make! Once you have made one, you realize they are super simple to put together and you wonder why you never did it before!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Roll with a slice on the serving tray and whole roll behind the cake slice

Prepare to make a successful Chocolate Zucchini Cake Roll

While this is an easy recipe to make, you do need to put a little thought into it beforehand. You will need some equipment you may not have on hand that I have listed below. Things to do before you make your chocolate zucchini cake roll would be:

  • Grate your zucchini and let it sit in a strainer to drain
  • Make sure your cream cheese and eggs are brought to room temperature before using them.
  • Find a large cotton towel that is as large as your jelly roll pan, if not a little larger. You will want to be sure the towel you use has no fibers on it that would stick to the cake. I have also used cheesecloth.
  • Measure your ingredients and have them all ready to use when needed.

Equipment needed to make a cake roll recipe

A cake roll uses some special equipment in order to get the end result. This is probably stuff you already have in your kitchen cabinet! Below is a list of things you do need to make this recipe.

Step by step process

The very first thing I do is prepare my jelly roll pan. I use vegetable shortening or butter to grease the pan first. I do this by putting a small amount on a paper towel and wipe the entire bottom surface.

greasing the cake pan and parchment paper

Next, place a piece of parchment paper on top of the greased pan. Then, I will grease the top of the parchment paper. The reason I grease the pan before putting the parchment paper on is to help keep the paper flat on the jelly roll pan.

eggs and vanilla in mixing bowl before mixing together with a colander of shredded zucchini in the background

Start by grating your zucchini. I use my box grater to shred it. I like how it keeps the ingredient I am shredded contained within the box! Next, transfer the zucchini to a colander to drain.

egg mixture with shredded zucchini and flour mixture ready to combine

After shredding the zucchini for the cake, add your eggs and vanilla to a large bowl and whisk them until well combined.

Sift together the dry ingredients for the cake. Then, add the dry ingredients to the eggs a little bit of time alternating with the milk. Mixing until they are well combined.

Once the cake batter is combined, add 1 cup of shredded zucchini and stir it into the chocolate mixture. The zucchini should have sat long enough that you will not need to squeeze it dry. Just pack the zucchini into your cup measure and make sure it is full.

Spread the zucchini cake batter onto your prepared pan and bake at 350 for approximately 10 minutes. The cake should spring back when touched or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

While the cake roll is baking, lay your cotton towel or cheesecloth out onto a table and dust it with confectioners sugar. This way, it will be ready when you remove the cake out of the oven.

What to do after your chocolate cake roll is baked

When the chocolate zucchini cake is baked, take it out of the oven and immediately invert it on top of your cotton towel or cheesecloth that has been dusted with confectioners sugar. You don’t want to let the cake cool before rolling it up.

Peel the parchment paper off the bottom of the cake. Then, immediately roll the cake jelly roll style, starting at the short side. Cool completely on a wire mesh rack.

While the cake is cooling, prepare your cream filling. Don’t be surprised by the cayenne pepper in the ingredients! If you don’t want to try it, or don’t have it, that is ok. It is not required. But, everyone who ate this cake raved about it and I am betting you will too. The cayenne doesn’t really add heat, just a little flavor.

How to fill the chocolate zucchini cake roll

When the cake is completely cool, gently unroll it onto your countertop. Spread the filling over top of the roll up to about 1/4 inch before the edge of the cake. Then, roll the cake back up into a roll shape.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake unrolled and ready to add spiced cream filling

Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Store in the refrigerator least 4 hours prior to serving.

Adding the finishing touch to your dessert

Unwrap the chocolate zucchini cake roll just prior to serving. Using the powdered sugar spoon, gently tap the edge to sprinkle confectioners sugar over the entire roll.

sprinkling confectioners sugar over top of the chocolate zucchini cake roll

Cut into slices and serve. Listen to everyone start commenting on how it’s the best dessert they have ever eaten!

Adaptations you can make to this Chocolate Zucchini Cake

  • Add 1/2 tsp nutmeg to your cake batter along with the cinnamon
  • Instead of cayenne pepper in the cream, add a pinch of chipotle powder
  • Or, leave the heat out entirely and add an 1/8th tsp freshly grated nutmeg instead
  • Swap out the vanilla extract for almond extract in the spiced cream. I did this and everyone loved it better than the original
  • Make a thinner chocolate frosting and pour it over top of the cake to glaze it
  • Add some chocolate chips to the batter
Chocolate Zucchini Cake Roll with Spiced Cream Filling on a serving plate prior to slicing

Other Zucchini recipes you may like to try

If you are reading this post, then it is highly like you came here looking for a zucchini recipe. Maybe you have an abundance of it in your garden, or just plain love zucchini.

Zucchini is so versatile. It is great for any type of recipe from appetizer to dessert! Some of our favorites are listed below!

Zucchini as an appetizer

We love appetizers in our home. Hanging out with the family enjoying their company with some great food is one of our favorite things to do. We love this recipe for Zucchini Dip with Mint. Itis so full of delicious flavors and you can dip your favorite raw veggies in it, including zucchini slices!

Another great appetizer I love to serve are these Cheesy Zucchini Spinach Quesadillas. They are so fun and they not only utilize zucchini but yellow squash too! Make sure to have some Homemade Salsa ready to dip them in!

Zucchini as a side dish

Side dishes are where it’s at! You can make many side dishes with zucchini, but our very favorite one is this Spicy Asian Zucchini. I am all over the sweet heat flavor in this dish and can’t get enough of it!

Zucchini as a main dish

I love how zucchini can take the place of pasta in a heavier main dish to lighten it up. For instance, this recipe for this Fried Halloumi with Bruschetta Zoodles not only is different, but super delicious. Just the name is mouthwatering!

And, of course, you have to have your Italian twist with zucchini, and this recipe for Zucchini Rollatini is authentically Italian and so delicious!

Zucchini for dessert

Who doesn’t love dessert? Well, since I see no hands raised and because you are visiting a dessert post, I am betting your not one in that party!

This Zucchini Carrot Bread recipe has another favorite vegetable of Grumpy’s in it! This is a dessert type recipe for us because the bread is frosted and sweet and delicious!

Brownies always do great with zucchini, it keeps them from drying out so fast. This recipe for Easy Zucchini Brownies is simple to make and has a delicious light chocolate icing on top!

Lastly, this recipe brings back a lot of childhood memories for me. My mom used to make a similar zucchini recipe. I really thought the zucchini was apples! This recipe for Brown Sugar Zapple Crisp is an absolute must try recipe!

*If you made this recipe, please leave a star rating!*

Yield: 12 servings

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Roll with Spiced Cream

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Roll with Spiced Cream

A chocolate cake roll with shredded zucchini baked in! This sponge cake is filled with a spiced cream filling and sprinkled with confectioners sugar prior to serving

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini

For the Spiced Cream

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 6 Tbsp cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1-2 pinches cayenne pepper – optional (don’t go overboard!)
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Additional confectioners’ sugar to sift over top of finished cake

Instructions

  1. Whisk together eggs and vanilla extract.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; add to egg mixture alternately with milk and mix well. 
  3. Stir zucchini into the chocolate cake batter
  4. Spread into a greased and parchment paper-lined 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes or until cake springs back when touched or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Immediately turn onto a towel dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Peel off parchment paper and roll up, jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  7. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, vanilla, cinnamon and cayenne pepper until fluffy. Beat in confectioners’ sugar.
  8. Unroll cake; spread filling to within 1 in. of edges. Roll up again and refrigerate until serving.
  9. Sprinkle lightly with confectioners sugar just prior to serving.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 282 Total Fat: 9g Saturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 69mg Sodium: 243mg Carbohydrates: 46g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 34g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 4g
Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy, but will vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients you use. Please consult with your doctor regarding specific health needs.