Super Moist Cherry Chocolate Zucchini Bread
July 22, 2021
Celebrate summer by highlighting two delicious forms of produce: zucchini and cherry. This ultra moist, dense, and decadent chocolate zucchini bread is dotted with cherries for a pop of sweet tartness and color.
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When we decided to plant one zucchini and one yellow squash plant this spring, we certainly did not expect just how much summer squash we’d be harvesting now that it’s summer! But extra zucchini is the perfect excuse to make zucchini bread, and the chocolate version is just too moist and tasty to resist.
I decided to lean into another prolific summer produce when making this bread, and that is cherries. Sometimes I can get a little carried away when it comes to picking cherries, but the extras were the perfect choice to complement the rich chocolate in this bread.
What You Need to Get Started
You can easily find all of the ingredients for this cherry chocolate zucchini bread at your grocery store:
- Produce: Zucchini, Cherries
- Pantry: Flour, Cocoa powder, Baking soda, Brown sugar, Sugar, Chocolate chips, Mini chocolate chips
- Spice Rack: Espresso powder, Salt, Vanilla extract
- Fridge: Butter, Eggs, Milk
- Equipment: 9×4 Loaf pan, Cheese grater, Mixing bowls, Whisk, Flexible spatula, Cherry pitter (optional)
How to Make Cherry Chocolate Zucchini Bread
The combination of chocolate and cherries is a true classic. And biting into this super decadent and delicious bread makes it hard to believe that there’s plenty of green vegetables inside it.
Just before getting started, you will need to shred your zucchini. In general, when selecting zucchini, you’ll need about a cup and a half once shredded. This means you’ll need about one large or two medium zucchini, a total of around seven ounces or 185-215 grams.
Then grab your box grater, and use the side with the largest holes to shred the zucchini. Be careful not to grate your knuckles! I like to shred with the grater at about a 45 degree angle in the bowl. Then I start with a cut edge of zucchini, and just go for it until I have enough.
Once you have the right amount, give it a few pats with a paper towel, but don’t wring out the excess moisture. It will add a lovely texture to the bread.
Now, let’s talk about cherries. I used bright red sour cherries here, but this recipe will work fine with other varieties like rainiers or even black cherries. Just expect a slightly different flavor. In any case, I definitely suggest a cherry pitter if you are using fresh cherries.
Wash, stem, pit, and then halve about thirty cherries. If yours are large, sweeter ones, go with fewer, around twenty five. If you are using frozen cherries, there’s no need to pit them. However, let them thaw in the fridge and halve.
Place the cherries in a bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Stir these to coat them, and then set the bowl aside while you prepare the rest of the batter. After both the zucchini and cherries are prepped, it’s a good time to preheat your oven and grease a loaf pan.
Other than working with the fresh produce, this recipe comes together fairly easily. It’s your basic quick bread recipe, which means mixing up dry ingredients separate from the wet, and then combining them together.
To get started with the dry, add the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and espresso powder into a medium bowl. Whisk these all together until they are nice and combined.
If you are concerned about the espresso powder adding a coffee flavor, don’t be. It mostly just adds some extra richness, highlighting the flavor of the chocolate. You can also use instant coffee in its place, but I suggest keeping a jar of espresso powder on hand if you’re a chocolate fan.
Use a larger bowl to combine the wet ingredients. Begin with melted butter that has cooled down a bit, so it’s not too hot to handle. Whisk in the brown sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Using melted butter and brown sugar both help create a super moist and dense crumb in the bread.
Finally, add the eggs into the other liquids last. If your butter was a little bit warm, it’s had a chance to equalize in temperature with the help of the other ingredients. That will help your eggs mix in nicely, without any worry of cooking them.
Once the wet ingredients are thoroughly combined, add in the dry mixture.
Now grab your silicone spatula, because it’s time to do some folding. You might remember from previous quick bread and muffin recipes that using a folding motion helps to incorporate the dry into the wet ingredients without overmixing.
Get used to that motion, because once there are no streaks of flour, you will want to fold in the shredded zucchini as well.
Finally, add in the regular-sized chocolate chips and the cherries halves. Since they’ve been sitting in some sugar, the cherries may have released some liquid. This is totally fine, but you will want to leave it behind and not add that syrup to the batter.
These chocolate chips in the recipe are not really optional. The melty chips not only add little pockets of chocolate throughout, but they also help add to the structure of this bread. I wouldn’t leave them out, but you could replace them with chocolate chunks or roughly chopped chocolate bars instead.
Transfer the finished batter into the loaf pan you greased earlier. Be sure to use your flexible spatula to scrape the bowl, so that you don’t miss any of the delicious chocolatey goodness.
Give the pan a shake from side-to-side to let the batter even out, and then smooth it on top with another sweep of your spatula. Finally, grab those mini chocolate chips, and scatter them on top of the bread. Spread them all over, making a nice layer of chocolate. This adds some visual texture, and extra flavor.
Place the bread in the oven, and allow it to bake for nearly an hour. I know, it’s a quick bread, but it still requires a little patience. I ate some fresh cherries with a handful of mini chocolate chips to hold myself over.
When the bread is done, you’ll know by doing a toothpick test. When inserted into the center, it should come out clean. Since the melted chocolate doesn’t make this testing any easier, you are also looking for the bread to bounce back when you gently touch it in the middle.
Remove the pan from the oven, and place it on a trivet or cooling rack to cool completely. This will take a few hours, which means even more patience. It’s especially tough, because by now your kitchen will smell like chocolate. Once cooled, flip the bread onto a cutting board and slice to serve. If it’s a little stuck, just use a butter knife around the edges to help release it.
Rich and moist, and it tastes like a chocolate covered cherry! What more could you possibly want out of your zucchini bread?
How to Serve Cherry Chocolate Zucchini Bread
When something is made with vegetables, like this zucchini bread, it’s easy to convince myself that it’s a healthy, well-rounded breakfast all on its own. But for something to balance the richness, try serving this with one of many vegetarian egg dishes.
If you are having a slice as a quick breakfast or afternoon snack, be sure to pair it with some coffee. A pomegranate iced mocha latte is perfect for summer. Or try a honey chestnut cafe au lait during cooler weather. If you’re not a coffee fan, this would go excellently with a chai white hot chocolate.
Pair with similar flavors for a fully chocolate and cherry themed brunch. Start with slices of this bread. Follow it up with a cherry cobbler with sour biscuit topping. End with a few cherry chocolate chips cookies. And of course, sip on a delicious chocolate old fashioned.
Use Up Leftover Ingredients
- Zucchini and chocolate are a true duo, like in these vegan triple chocolate muffins.
- Use up extra cherries in the gorgeous sour cherry cheesecake napoleons.
- Cocoa and espresso powders meet again for the filling of cocoa cinnamon rolls.
- Leftover chocolate chips will find a new home in bourbon pecan cookie bars.
- And for the mini chocolate chips, you’ve got to make cannoli cream crepes.
Cherry Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
- 1 ½ Cups Shredded Zucchini about 1 large or 2 medium zucchini
- 25-35 Sour Cherries* washed, stemmed, pitted, and halved
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 ⅓ Cups All-purpose flour
- ½ Cup Cocoa Powder not Dutch process
- ½ tsp Espresso Powder
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- ½ Cup Unsalted Butter melted and cooled slightly
- ½ Cup Brown Sugar
- ½ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Vanilla extract
- 2 Eggs room temperature
- ¼ Cup Milk
- ½ Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
- ¼ Cup Mini Chocolate Chips optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center. Greased a 9x4" loaf pan, and set it aside.
- Add the halved cherries to a small bowl. Sprinkle them with sugar, stir, and set aside.
- Shred the zucchini just before using it, and gently pat it dry. Do not wring out the moisture.
- In a medium bowl, add the flour, cocoa and espresso powders, and baking soda. Whisk until throughly combined.
- In a large bowl, add the melted butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Whisk to full combine, and then whisk in the eggs.
- Add the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet, along with half the milk. Fold the flour into the butter mixture until combined, and there are no streaks of flour. Add additional milk as needed if it's difficult to mix.
- Fold in the shredded zucchini, and then regular chocolate chips and the sugared cherries, discarding any liquid.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and sprinkle with the mini chocolate chips to coat the top.
- Bake for 55-65 min, until the top bounces back and a toothpick comes out clean, or with only melted chocolate chip.
- Allow the bread to cool completely in the pan, on a trivet or cooling rack. Then flip the bread onto a plate. If needed, run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen.
- Make ahead tip: Prepare the fresh ingredients and the batter just before using them. The baked bread can be stored whole or sliced, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for 2-3 days, or frozen for up to 2 months.
- Cherries: If you do not have access to sour cherries, you can make this bread with sweet cherries instead. Pit and halve them, but then sprinkle with only 1/2 tsp of sugar.