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.
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)
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:
- Vanilla ice cream, regular or vegan
- Whipped cream, like this homemade whipped cream recipe or yogurt whipped cream
- Vegan whipped cream, like our coconut whipped cream
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.
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
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.Print
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips.
- 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.
*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!
- Dark Chocolate Tahini No Bake Cookies
- Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp (with coconut oil)
- Easy Blueberry Crisp (with coconut oil)
- Chocolate Sweet Cherry Vegan Tarts
- Balsamic Blackberry Vegan Cheesecakes
- Fudgy Vegan Brownies
- Easy Bananas Foster (use vegan variation)
- 12 Gluten Free Desserts Everyone Will Love
- …All of Our Dairy-Free Recipes!
Last updated: June 2020
About the Authors
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 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.