Chocolate Zucchini Cake

This chocolate zucchini cake recipe comes out so rich and chocolaty! It’s a family favorite that happens to be dairy free and gluten free.

Chocolate zucchini cake

Hang onto your seats, chocolate lovers. Are you ready for a supremely delicious cake recipe? Because have we got one for you! This chocolate zucchini cake is rich, chocolaty, and irresistibly good. Even if you don’t eat gluten free or dairy free (which we don’t), it’s an inventive way to eat real, whole foods in dessert form! This cake has gone on to be a family favorite in our household. The zucchini makes it ultra moist, and it’s gooey and just sweet enough. It’s truly a stunner! Here’s how to make it.

Ingredients in chocolate zucchini cake

Alex and I don’t subscribe to a specific diet, but we love the creativity making whole food recipes for people with different food philosophies. Often we create gluten free and vegan desserts for everyone to enjoy, like our fan favorite chocolate peanut butter bliss bites. That’s exactly the philosophy behind this gluten free dairy free cake!

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this chocolate zucchini cake. You’ll notice they’re all good for you whole foods: so you can feel good about serving it to your family!

  • Almond butter This adds fat and texture, instead of butter! For nut allergies, use sunflower butter.
  • Zucchini Shredded zucchini brings moisture and a fluffy texture!
  • Maple syrup
  • Cocoa powder
  • Egg For vegan, use a flax egg
  • Vanilla extract
  • Baking soda
  • Dark chocolate chips If you eat dairy free, use dairy-free chocolate chips
  • Instant coffee powder (optional)
Chocolate zucchini cake

How to serve chocolate zucchini cake

From the first bite, this chocolate zucchini cake was a favorite in our house! It’s surprising how the texture of all the ingredients comes together into something cake-like, even though there’s no flour present.

This cake would be perfect for a summer cookout, since it would satisfy almost every diet in the crowd! Usually we eat it plain, but here are some ways to step it up! Serve it with:

Variations: make it vegan!

Want to make this chocolate zucchini cake vegan? It’s already dairy free, but it’s got 1 egg. How to make it vegan? Use a flax egg! A flax egg is simply ground flax seed and water, which combine into a binder that’s often used in vegan baked goods. It works well here as a binder for this cake, especially since it’s a sheet cake. Head to How to Make a Flax Egg.

Kitchen matters

About the book: Kitchen Matters

This recipe is comes from the cookbook Kitchen Matters by Pamela Salzman. Pamela is all about eating real food, not too much, and mostly plants: just like us! She says in the introduction to her book: “I believe with 100 percent certainty that what you eat matters more than anything else. You are the one who chooses what goes into your shopping cart and frying pan. If you want to be healthy, cooking as much nutrient-dense food as often as you can is a good place to start. Your health matters–and your kitchen matters.”

The recipes in Pamela’s Kitchen Matters book are heavy on the vegetables and full of meals the entire family can enjoy no matter their food philosophies or eating preferences. Get the book here: Kitchen Matters by Pamela Salzman

Zucchini cake

Congratulations to Pamela on an incredible chocolate zucchini cake recipe and a fantastic book! We’re applauding over here, our mouths stuffed with chocolate. Our little chocolate monster Larson is a HUGE fan of this gluten free chocolate cake! If you follow us on Instagram, you may have seen that he can say Chocolate now (even before Mama–and I couldn’t be more proud!).

This chocolate zucchini cake recipe is…

Grain free, Paleo, dairy free, gluten free, and vegetarian. For vegan, substitute a flax egg.

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Amazing Grain-Free Chocolate Cake | A Couple Cooks

Chocolate Zucchini Cake (Family Favorite!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (39 votes, average: 4.15 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 9-inch square cake, about 8 servings 1x

Description

This chocolate zucchini cake recipe comes out so rich and chocolaty! It’s a family favorite that happens to be dairy free and gluten free to boot.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup creamy unsweetened almond butter (or sunflower butter)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder (optional)*
  • 1 large egg (or flax egg for vegan)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 small)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips, dairy-free as desired
  • Coconut oil, for the pan

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square pan with coconut oil. If you want to remove the cake from the pan in one piece, line it with unbleached parchment paper as well.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the almond butter, maple syrup, cocoa powder, salt, coffee powder, egg, vanilla, and baking soda until fully combined and a sticky dough forms.
  3. Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips.
  4. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until just set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with dry crumbs. Do not overbake. A 9-inch pan will take about 30 minutes; an 8-inch will take about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving.

Notes

*Instant coffee powder enhances the chocolate flavor in baked goods. It is completely optional though. There are coffee alternatives, such as Pero, which is a chicory and barley-based product with no caffeine. Pero is not gluten free or grain free, due to the barley. Do not use coffee grounds in place of instant coffee powder. Reprinted with permission from Kitchen Matters by Pamela Salzman

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Chocolate zucchini cake

More gluten free desserts

This chocolate zucchini cake is one of our favorite gluten free dairy free desserts; here are a few more from A Couple Cooks!

Last updated: June 2020

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

3 Comments

  • Reply
    Brittany Audra @ Audra's Appetite
    June 1, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    I can’t wait to use this with the (soon to be) plethora of zucchini from my garden! Love the rich texture of flourless baked goods!

  • Reply
    Jessica Flory
    July 23, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    This cake was SO GOOD!!! The kids loved it and had no idea they were eating zucchini!!! Yum!

  • Reply
    Hannah
    February 5, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    Any attempts at a substituting a flax egg or something to make this vegan?

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