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Chocolate Cake… it’s not just for breakfast anymore

I admit it: I let my kids have chocolate cake for breakfast this week. Some of you are probably shocked and questioning whether I am fit to be a mom. However, I know there are a handful of “my people” who are saying, “See, I knew we could do this!”


It was a long week with bicycle injuries and an even longer night with kids up several times during the night. Then one of the boys decided to wake up at 5:15 a.m.


There wasn’t enough coffee in the house to make the morning any better. When I asked my early bird what he wanted for breakfast, I got the enthusiastic response of, “Eggs, bacon, sausage, Greek yogurt, strawberries cut up the way I like them, French toast and then we should have chocolate cake!” I mentally said “What? Cereal? Sure, I’ll get you a bowl.” Then I’m sure my eyes glazed over. The only thing I actually heard was the chocolate cake part. In my brilliant moment of delirium, I thought, why not have chocolate cake for breakfast? It was not an unreasonable request. At this point, I could use something great to start the day!


I felt a little guilty I was seriously entertaining this idea (that lasted for about one minute), but then I remembered hearing tales of the uber moms who say they hide vegetables in their kids’ food. (See my selective memory does work!) I had fresh veggies from the garden. I was pretty sure I could find a recipe for something that would make us both happy.. Voila! There it was – Chocolate Zucchini Snack Cake.


So, I heated the oven to 350°F and prepared an 8-inch square baking pan so it would be ready when we needed it. We were making Chocolate Zucchini Snack Cake and…having it for breakfast.


When Boy #2 came downstairs and saw us gathering baking supplies together, he looked at me like I had lost it. He cautiously asked “Mom, what are you doing?” Boy #1 answered for me. With a huge smile on his face and his arms waving in the air, he said, “We’re making chocolate cake for breakfast!” That’s all it took – both my minions were on board!


The great thing about this type of cake is that it is designed to be quick and easy. It’s the perfect “make-it-quick-for-a-snack” cake. All the basic ingredients are the same. We began with 2/3 cup white sugar in the mixer bowl.

Next we added 1/2 cup butter. No cake is complete without having butter in it! Beat the sugar and butter at medium speed until it is light and fluffy.


I love having the boys help me in the kitchen. It builds their self-confidence in knowing that they can cook and bake. It also helps with their buy-in when trying new foods. Plus, I have to keep them busy or else they will run like wild animals. If they are helping, they are busy and can’t fight or chase each other in the house. Back to baking!


Next we added one egg. It’s starting to get exciting as I hear, “This is going to be awesome! I can’t believe we’re making chocolate cake for breakfast!”


Continue beating until the mixture is well-mixed. Then add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 cup sour cream to the batter. Continue beating until it’s well-mixed.


The directions say to combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. However, we ended up adding them individually, which worked out fine using a stand mixer. The boys had to take turns adding ingredients. When we added in the 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, I hand-mixed it in so the flour didn’t explode in an atomic cloud when the mixer was turned on. I just couldn’t risk a clean-up of epic proportions that morning.


This is the part where things got real – we added 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa! This is what the chocolate is all about! It smelled chocolaty and delicious! Now, if you are expecting this to be a rich, dark chocolaty type of cake – it’s not. This is more of a “taste of chocolate” type of cake. It’s not overpowering and not for die-hard chocolate lovers. If you are looking for that type of cake, you can add in 2-3 teaspoons of espresso powder to help deepen the chocolate flavor. Don’t forget to add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt, too!


I grabbed one of the zucchini and told the boys we were adding this to the cake. Even though we had discussed it, they both looked betrayed and started to protest. I quickly gave them the “Look… we’re eating chocolate cake for breakfast, so we need to put something in it to make it healthy” speech. One protest later, we agreed it was going in (like that would stop me at this point) and we grated 1 cup of zucchini. Here they are, still not totally bought in to the process yet.

We began using the fine grater. However with my little guys and a need for speed, we moved on to using the larger grater to get the job done. I again gave my pep talk of “We’re eating chocolate cake for breakfast here…don’t freak out about the zucchini.” Then we added the zucchini. I have no doubt if we had used the fine grater, the zucchini would be completely hidden in the batter and my kids would never have even noticed.


After adding 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips into the mix, we poured the batter into the prepared 8-inch pan. Here you can see flecks of the zucchini. My boys were more impressed with the chocolate chips at this point, which overshadowed the fact that we actually put a vegetable in our chocolate cake.


It bakes for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Our snack cake was ready to come out in 28 minutes.


Then the cake needs to cool completely before you frost it. Leaving this on the stove for about 20 minutes while we got ready for the day was all it really took for the - cake to cool down. I probably could have left it longer if I was willing to be patient, but we were having this for breakfast!


To make the frosting, combine 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1/2 cup butterscotch chips in a saucepan.


Melt the chips mixture over low heat, stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes or until smooth. Don’t overheat or cook it past melting, or the chocolate will become chunky and scorched. If you prefer more of a true chocolate frosting, double the chocolate chips instead of using the butterscotch chips.


Spread the frosting over the snack cake.


The Chocolate Zucchini Snack Cake is finished! It looks amazing with the frosting on it and we couldn’t wait to dig in! You can see the small flecks of the zucchini in the cake. The boys really didn’t mind it at all…“You can’t even tell that this cake is made with it!” That’s a huge compliment.


Mission accomplished! We are eating our cake before heading out for camp!


I must admit, making a chocolate cake in the morning did help get my day off on the right foot. However, this type of chocolate cake isn’t just for breakfast – I’d make this snack cake anytime! I hope you decide to try the Chocolate Zucchini Snack Cake. It’s the perfect little pick-me-up treat to make your day or someone else’s!



Alexandra is paid to write for the Recipe Buzz® Blog.



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