Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cake (One Bowl)
Ultra rich and decadent vegan chocolate zucchini cake that’s undetectably egg free, dairy free, and easily gluten free. This is the ultimate vegan zucchini recipe to use up all of your leftover zucchini!
If you’re looking for a good vegan cake recipe to use up the remainder of your summer zucchini, then you must try this decadent vegan chocolate zucchini cake. It’s like my vegan chocolate cake, but only more moist and chocolatey!
This chocolate zucchini cake recipe is also just one bowl, making it the easiest of summer cakes to make for a barbecue or summer party (and if layer cakes intimidate you on a hot summer day, try this chocolate zucchini bread studded with chocolate chips that tastes just like cake- just in loaf form! You can even bake it into muffins or cupcakes instead!).
And trust me, you won’t even be able to detect any hidden vegetables in this cake.
Make this zucchini cake gluten free as needed to make it even more suitable for all eaters!
Let’s go over the ingredients you’ll need for this vegan chocolate zucchini cake recipe:
- Shredded zucchini: You can also use grated zucchini.
- All purpose flour: You can also swap in gluten free 1:1 baking flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill in the blue bag. Please use the cup measurements, however, as that will be most accurate. Bob’s Red Mill is my preferred gluten-free flour blend. I DO NOT recommend using the Namaste flour blend.
- Dutch-process cocoa powder: I like dutch-process cocoa powder for cakes over all other cocoa powders. It will also help our cakes to rise a bit better.
- Dairy free yogurt: You can also swap in applesauce or pumpkin puree instead.
- Vegan buttermilk: This is just dairy free milk mixed with apple cider vinegar: I highly recommend soy milk, almond milk or pea milk here, as these will help curdle the milk more since they have more protein than other dairy free milks.
- Vegan butter: You can also swap in coconut oil.
- Hot coffee: The one ingredient to not have at room temperature! This is because hot liquid helps to bloom the cocoa powder even more, and coffee helps to amplify the flavor of chocolate. Use decaf or herbal coffee if you’d prefer!
- Leavening agents: Of course, the baking soda and baking powder!
Now, let’s get to work on this layered zucchini cake!
Overview: How to make chocolate zucchini cake
What is so wonderful about this chocolate zucchini cake is that you only need one large mixing bowl, a sifter, a whisk, and a silicone spatula.
You’ll start by whisking together the wet ingredients, including the zucchini. Then simply sift in the cocoa powder, followed by the flour, and the leavening agents. Add in the vegan buttermilk, and gently whisk together, followed by the hot coffee.
Then pour the batter into the cake pans evenly. You can use three 8″ cake pans or three 6″ cake pans. Bake the cakes until a toothpick comes out clean. Then allow them to cool completely before frosting the cake.
How to make vegan chocolate buttercream
For this vegan chocolate zucchini cake, we’re using my classic vegan chocolate frosting. It’s so easy to make and quite similar to making classic chocolate buttercream.
- Vegan butter
- Cocoa powder
- Powdered sugar
- Dairy free milk
I recommend using a stand mixer with whisk attachment, but you can also use a hand mixer.
Tips for making Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Making a healthy chocolate cake is one thing, but making a healthy chocolate zucchini cake that you wouldn’t even know contained a speck of a vegetable?!
Now that’s another.
It’s definitely easy if you follow this recipe, but here are a few extra tips that I think really add to making the best vegan chocolate zucchini cake that even non-vegan eaters will go ga-ga over!
- I recommend using a box grater to shred the zucchini. This will save you some arm work (and hopefully be bit safer!) than using a handheld grater.
- Dry the zucchini before folding it into the vegan chocolate batter: If there is one thing you do, please please please make sure that you’ve pat the zucchini! It doesn’t have to be completely dry, but if it’s still leaving a paper towel sopping wet, it’s too wet. This is key for texture. Cassava flour generally likes moisture, but too much and you’ll get a gooey inside- not what you want for a chocolate zucchini cake!
- I personally recommend pea milk as the dairy free milk because I like that there’s some added protein in there, but feel free to use either regular coconut milk or almond milk! I do not recommend using coconut cream or light coconut milk.
- Use coconut sugar for a refined sugar free chocolate cake and frosting! To do this, I pulse the coconut sugar in a mini food processor until it’s a powder. This takes about 2-3 minutes tops, and it fluffs up just like powdered sugar! It honestly makes for the ultimate Paleo chocolate zucchini cake.
- You can make this a three tiered or a two tiered chocolate zucchini cake: If you go for a two tier cake, I recommend using two 8-inch cake or springform pans.
Can you freeze vegan chocolate zucchini cake?
Yes! You can freeze the chocolate zucchini cake in slices with the buttercream on, then allow it to come to room temperature for about 2 hours when ready to consume. It will last about 1 month in the freezer.
You can also store this layered zucchini cake on the counter or in the fridge. If you store the cake on the counter, cover it, and it will keep for up to 2 days, depending on how warm your kitchen is.
If you store the cake in the fridge, make sure you allow it to unthaw for 15 minutes before consuming, as cassava flour tends to toughen up a bit in cooler temperatures.
Every single person who tried a slice (we have many people who come through this house- kids, adults, friends, extended family!) was shocked when I told them that this healthy chocolate zucchini cake was indeed vegan and gluten free!
Let me know if you give this cake a go in the comments below, and as always, I’d absolutely love to see your beautiful recreations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there!
Happy chocolate cake baking!
More Vegan Zucchini Recipes You’ll Love:
Easy Vegan Zucchini Banana Bread
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Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Cake
- Prep Time: 30
- Cake cooling time: 60
- Cook Time: 35
- Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
- Yield: 12 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
Ultra rich and decadent chocolate zucchini cake that’s undetectably healthy! Completely vegan, dairy free, Paleo, and gluten free, it’s a moist and chocolatey slice of heaven!
- 240 g grated zucchini, patted down to 170 g
- 1 1/4 cup (300 mL) vegan buttermilk, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (113 g) vegan butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- 1 3/4 cup (350 g) organic granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (100 g) brown sugar
- 3/4 cup (170 g) dairy free yogurt, room temperature*
- 3 cups (375 g) all purpose flour or gluten free 1:1 baking flour*
- 1 cup (90 g) cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup (240 mL) hot coffee or decaf coffee or herbal coffee
- 1 batch vegan chocolate frosting
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 350F and line three 8 inch or 6-inch springform pans with parchment paper. Prep the zucchini and the vegan buttermilk. Set aside.
- Whisk: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the vegan butter, sugar, brown sugar, and dairy free yogurt. Add in the zucchini, and whisk until combined. Then sift in the flour, along with the cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda.
- Finish the batter: Add in the vegan buttermilk and begin to whisk all the ingredients together. Before the dry ingredients are fully incorporated, add in the hot coffee, and either whisk or use a silicone spatula to finish folding the batter until the dry ingredients are JUST incorporated.
- Bake: Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake the cake. For three 6″ cakes, it will take 45-50 minutes; for three 8″ cakes, it will take 32-35 minutes. The cakes are finished when the top is completely set and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven.
- Cool: Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting (about 1-2 hours depending on how warm your kitchen is).
- When ready to assemble: Once the cakes are cool, prepare the chocolate frosting according to instructions. Assemble the chocolate cake and decorate as desired.
- Slice and serve: Slice and serve your vegan chocolate zucchini cake. Store any leftovers in an airtight container and in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Dairy free yogurt: You can also substitute in an equal amount of applesauce or pumpkin puree.
Gluten free: I recommend using Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free 1:1 baking flour in the blue bag. Use the cup measurements rather than the gram measurements for the gluten free flour blend.
- Serving Size: 1 slice
- Calories: 424
- Sugar: 50.6 g
- Sodium: 509.4 mg
- Fat: 13.8 g
- Saturated Fat: 3.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 79.4 g
- Fiber: 5.4 g
- Protein: 3.9 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: chocolate zucchini cake, vegan chocolate zucchini cake, gluten free chocolate zucchini cake, zucchini cake recipe, vegan zucchini cake
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Chocolate zucchini cake is one of my favorites! Love how moist and yummy your cake looks!! 🙂
Aw thank you Ela! That means the world to me 🙂 Enjoy!
I love this recipe! Hoping there is a way to substitute cassava flour for almond maybe or anything else GF? I haven’t seen it yet in Moscow but hoping it starts popping up in health stores!
Aw thank you so much!! I’m so happy to hear that! As for a substitute for cassava, I completely understand! I believe that oat flour would also work, since it tends to like to absorb liquid as well, but I would add in a tsp of xanthan gum to it for binding. Almond flour could potentially work if done in 3 parts almond flour, 1 part coconut flour, but I haven’t personally tried this out myself! If it were me, I would do 2 1/3 cups almond flour, 2/3 cup coconut flour. My favorite 1:1 gluten free baking flour to use is by Bob’s Red Mill (literally called Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten free Baking flour), I’m not sure if you have that in Moscow, but that would be my top recommendation!
Well mine is nowhere near as gorgeous as this masterpiece, but WOAHHHH it tastes freaking amazing! No hint of zucchini, just pure chocolatey, creamy yumminess 🙂
Aw I’m sure it was wonderful! So glad you enjoyed!!
My husband is fatally allergic to nuts (all incl coconut) and peas and seeds. Is there any substitute you can think of for the PEA Milk? Thank you, if love to make this gorgeous dessert for him (well, me, too!!)
Hi Gina! Absolutely, you can swap in oat milk if that works! I would also swap out the coconut sugar for regular cane sugar- if you want to minimize the refined sugar, you can use 3/4 cup regular cane sugar in place of the 1 cup coconut sugar (usually a 25% decrease in sugar is unnoticeable!). For the buttercream, I haven’t found a nut free/coconut free substitute, so my only guess would be that part needs to contain dairy (i.e. a regular butter), but if you know of a nut free/coconut free/dairy free spread, please let me know and I can add it to the notes section! Please let me know how it goes if you end up trying it!
Any suggestions for replacement of cassava and applesauce for those on low FODMAP diet?
Hi there! So I’m not a professional when it comes to recipes that are low FODMAP, but my suggestion for replacing the cassava would be 2 1/4 cups almond flour and 3/4 cup coconut flour because I read (not sure how accurate this is so you know this better than me!) that gluten free flours tend to be low FODMAP. For the applesauce, you can replace it with coconut oil or olive oil or lactose/dairy free yogurt! All at a 1 to 1 ratio 🙂
I hope this helps! Again, I’m not an expert on low FODMAP, so if these don’t fit your diet, I’m so sorry!
Can I replace cassava with whole wheat flour?
Absolutely! Just keep in mind that whole wheat flour can sometimes be a bit grittier- it will still taste amazing, but you can use white whole wheat flour for a closer texture! It’s still a 1:1 ratio though, so both will work 🙂
Hey, I only have coconut flour on hand, do you know if I can sub the cassava for coconut flour? If yes, what ratios should I use? Thanks 🙂 (love your recipes btw)
Hi Tiffany! Aw thank you for the sweet words 🙂 For this recipe, I wouldn’t sub the cassava flour with the coconut flour- cassava is 1:1 with all-purpose flour in this recipe though!
Hi, I have my cupcakes of this recipe in the oven and cannot wait to see how they come out. I was unsure about how much apple cider vinegar as I saw it in the instructions, but not in the ingredients list. I used 1 teaspoon. Does that sound about right?
Oh yes that’s perfect!! I’m so sorry that was missed, let me edit that!
First of all, I just have to say that these photos are some of the most gorgeous and mouthwatering pieces of food photography I’ve ever seen. Second, I am SO impressed with this cake! I used all-purpose flour instead of cassava and it turned out perfectly soft and fluffy! It tastes just like the box-mix chocolate cake my family always made for birthdays when I was a kid, but the ingredients in this cake are WAY better, obviously. I was worried that the cake would be dry since it’s so low in fat, but the applesauce and zucchini really did the trick and kept it moist. I’m so happy to have a reliable chocolate cake recipe on hand now. Thank you so much for sharing your magical creations!
Oh my goodness, Mimi, this comment brought me to tears!! Literally I create these recipes to bring back the memories of childhood, I’m so so happy it brought you there!! Enjoy and thank you so so much for your beautiful words!!
I’m looking forward to making this cake for a friends birthday, it sounds heavenly and looks BEAUTIFUL. I wanted to give these a go with cupcakes prior, any adjustments you would recommend? TIA!
Hi Adrienne! Aw I’m so happy to hear it! You can definitely make them into cupcakes 🙂 You’ll end up with 24 cupcakes though, so if you’d like, you can cut the recipe in half to just make a dozen!