This cake! It reminds me of that McCain chocolate cake with frosting that I used to devour when I was younger. Except this version is a lot healthier and even has some zucchini in it. It’s a gluten free zucchini chocolate cake and I think you’re gonna love it. Because not only is the cake itself delicious and moist (sorry for using that word!), it also has a rich and SUPER EASY chocolate frosting. I’m talking just four ingredients here!
Our New Normal
I have to say, I’m feeling hopeful that things are starting to return to normal again. Or at least a new normal. Places are starting to open back up, and I for one can’t wait to go out to eat at a restaurant, and of course see friends and family that I haven’t seen in so long. These past few months have been hard for so many people for a lot of reasons. And it’s really made me have so much more of an appreciation for the little things. I think this is true for a lot of people, and hopefully it helps us all to be a bit kinder and more understanding. Because we won’t ever go back to how things were entirely, this is a new normal and adjusting requires patience and flexibility.
Nearly every summer, I make a version of this gluten free zucchini chocolate cake. It tastes amazing and it’s such a great way to use up extra zucchini. You can check out my other gluten free chocolate zucchini loaf that is similar to this one.
I love that this tastes rich, chocolatey and has that secret addition of zucchini. Whenever I give this to anyone to try, they’re always surprised to learn it has zucchini in it. The chocolate flavour really helps to hide any zucchini.
Ingredients for Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Cake
For this gluten free chocolate zucchini cake, I use oat flour as the main flour. I love the heartiness it provides, along with fibre and protein. To make oat flour simply measure out 1 cup of rolled oats and then blend until it is a fine flour. You can also buy oat flour as well if that’s easier for you to find and use. To ensure this is gluten free, use a certified gluten free oat brand. I like using this one from Bob’s Red Mill.
Using some almond milk helps to keep this cake moist. I used a vanilla, unsweetened almond milk. Feel free to use any other type of milk if you need, such as oat, cashew, or regular milk.
Almond butter adds a creaminess to the cake and helps keep it moist as well. For this recipe, you’ll need 1/2 cup almond butter. Try and ensure that the almond butter you’re using is the drippy kind that will blend in easily. I use a natural almond butter that is made of just almonds.
For the sweetener, I use maple syrup. This is one of my personal favourite sweeteners to use because of the nutritional benefits but also it just tastes amazing. You’ll need 1/3 cup plus a little bit more for the frosting.
This is the star of the recipe, without anyone even being able to tell! You’ll need about 1 cup shredded zucchini. Be sure to really strain it well through a sieve or nut milk bag (this is what I use) to get rid of most of the water.
Cocoa powder is what makes this zucchini chocolate cake taste like a cake! I recommend using Dutch processed cocoa powder. I don’t recommend cacao powder as it will be a little too intense and the colour will be a lot darker.
This is what you’ll use for the frosting on this gluten free chocolate zucchini cake. I LOVEEEE the taste and texture of coconut butter and use it a lot in recipes. It’s different than coconut oil, so you can’t sub one for the other. Coconut butter is the meat from the coconut, ground into a super fine smooth consistency. To make it super smooth and for the frosting, you’ll blend the coconut butter with additional cocoa powder, maple syrup and coconut oil.
The brand I use and love is this one from Nutiva.
To help make the chocolate frosting, I like using coconut oil to smooth it out. This makes it a lot more frosting like and easy to spread.
To add even more chocolate to this cake (it is cake after all), I use some chocolate chips on top.
The brand I like to use for chocolate chips are these ones from Enjoy Life.
How to Make This Gluten Free Zucchini Chocolate Cake
This zucchini chocolate cake recipe couldn’t be easier to make! It’s all made in one bowl so there is less to clean up too. Here is what you’ll need to do:
Shred the zucchini using a box grater. Place the shredded zucchini in a fine mesh sieve or use a nut milk bag like I do. You want to ensure that you really squeeze out all excess water. Zucchini has a lot of water in it, and that will affect the recipe, so squeeze hard!
This is the nut milk bag I use, I’ve had it for years and it’s the BEST!
Then mix together all of the wet ingredients first.
Then add in the dry ingredients and give that a good stir, until everything is incorporated.
Fold in those chocolate chips.
Now add this mixture to an 8 x 8 pan and place in the oven to bake.
While this is baking, add all of the ingredients for the chocolate frosting to a blender or food processor. And blend until very smooth and everything is nicely incorporated.
Remove the cake from the oven and let cool before removing from the pan. Let it cool completely on a cooling rack and then go ahead and spread out all that delicious chocolate frosting. Top with chocolate chips!
How to Store This Healthy Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake
This cake is best eaten cold in my opinion. Because the frosting is made from coconut oil and coconut butter, it will melt if left out and it’s hot in your place. So I recommend storing the frosted chocolate cake in the fridge. This way, you can let it come to room temperature and enjoy it.
Optionally, you can also freeze pieces of this cake as well.
If you make this healthy zucchini chocolate cake, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to tag me on Instagram, and/or leave a comment, rating or review below.
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Healthy Gluten Free Zucchini Chocolate Cake
This gluten free zucchini chocolate cake is moist and so delicious and has an easy chocolate frosting. Plus you can make it all in one bowl!
For the cake
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC) and line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper going in both directions to ensure it's easily removed.
In a fine mesh sieve or a nut milk bag, squeeze out as much water from the shredded zucchini as possible. Then add the shredded zucchini to a large bowl.
Add the remaining wet ingredients to the bowl from the egg to the apple cider vinegar. Stir to combine.
Add the dry ingredients from the oat flour to the salt and mix well to combine. Fold in 1/3 cup chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into your prepared pan and place in the oven to bake for 25 to 28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow it to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes, then carefully lift the parchment paper to release the cake. Place this on a cooling rack to finish cooling.
Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor add all of the ingredients for the chocolate frosting and blend until smooth, creamy and well combined. Set aside.
Once the zucchini cake is cool, spread the chocolate frosting all over. Top with remaining chocolate chips. Keep on the counter if your kitchen is nice and cool, otherwise, move it to the fridge.
To make this vegan: use a flax egg instead of an egg. Combine 1 tbsp ground flax with 3 tbsp water in a small bowl. Mix with a fork to combine and let it sit for a few minutes before adding to the recipe.
For easy removal: line the pan with parchment paper going in both directions, use a little bit of coconut oil to grease the pan so the paper sticks.