Favorite Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

This gluten free chocolate cake recipe comes out so rich and chocolatey no one would guess it’s a gluten and dairy free dessert!

Amazing Gluten Free Chocolate Cake | A Couple Cooks

Hang onto your seats, chocolate lovers. Are you ready for a supremely delicious cake recipe? Because have we got one for you! This one is a gluten free dairy free chocolate cake that turns out rich, chocolatey, 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! And it’s got a fantastic secret ingredient.

Another amazing gluten-free chocolate cake? Go to Flourless Chocolate Cake (for chocolate lovers!).

About the book: Kitchen Matters

This recipe is comes from the cookbook Kitchen Matters by our friend Pamela Salzman. Pamela is not only a fantastic human being, she has the same food values that we do. She’s not into diets, but she’s all about eating real food, not too much, and mostly plants.

Here she is in the introduction to her book: “I believe with 100 percent certainty that what you eat matters more than anything else. The good news is that you have total control over that. 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.”

Yes times 1,000 to that! Pamela’s Kitchen Matters book is not vegetarian, but it’s heavy on the vegetables and full of meals the entire family can enjoy no matter their food philosophies or eating preferences. For example: Lentil Sloppy Joes, Thai Yellow Veggie Curry, Not-Fried Rice & Vegetables, and Chipotle Shrimp Tacos with Pineapple Slaw.

Amazing Gluten Free Chocolate Cake | A Couple Cooks

What’s in this gluten free chocolate cake?

Let’s talk about this gluten free chocolate cake recipe! Alex and I don’t subscribe to a specific diet (neither does Pamela!). But we love the creativity making whole food recipes for people with different food philosophies. That’s why we love creating gluten free and vegan desserts for everyone to enjoy (like these and these). And that’s exactly what Pamela has done in this gluten free dairy free chocolate cake!

This gluten free chocolate cake is incredibly simple. The secret ingredients are…drum roll…almond butter and shredded zucchini! The almond butter adds the fat and texture instead of butter, and the zucchini brings in moisture and lightness. So it can really be considered a chocolate zucchini cake! Some dark chocolate chips are stirred in for chocolatey goodness, of course! If you eat dairy-free, you can use dairy-free chocolate chips.

Amazing Gluten Free Chocolate Cake | A Couple Cooks

How to serve it!

When I read that this chocolate zucchini cake is the most popular dessert Pamela has ever taught in a class, I knew we had to try this recipe. And from the first bite, I was hooked! 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! (There is an egg in the cake so it is not vegan, but we assume a flax egg could be used with great results.) You could serve this dessert with vegan ice cream or coconut whipped cream. If you’re not dairy free, our homemade whipped cream recipe or yogurt whipped cream.

Zucchini cake

Congratulations to Pamela on an incredible gluten free dairy free chocolate 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!).

Buy the book!

Kitchen Matters by Pamela Salzman

This gluten free chocolate cake recipe is…

Grain free, Paleo, dairy free, gluten free, and vegetarian. For vegan, try a flax egg (we haven’t tested it, so we’d love to hear your feedback!).

Amazing Grain-Free Chocolate Cake | A Couple Cooks

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Recipe

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (23 votes, average: 4.30 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


This gluten free chocolate cake recipe comes out so rich and chocolatey no one would guess it’s a gluten and dairy free dessert!



  • Coconut oil for pan
  • 1 cup creamy, unsweetened, unsalted almond butter, raw or roasted, or sunflower butter
  • 1/3 cup pure Grade A maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder (optional)*
  • 1 large egg
  • 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


  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.


*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: Gluten free chocolate cake, Gluten free cake, Dairy free cake, Chocolate zucchini cake, Dairy free chocolate cake, Gluten free chocolate cake recipe

Looking for more gluten-free, dairy-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: January 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.


  • 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
    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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