This easy-to-make gluten-free chocolate zucchini cake might become your new favorite dessert because it’s fudgy, moist, rich, and so chocolaty! It’s a delicious vegan chocolate cake that is also perfect for birthdays! The recipe is not only gluten-free but also plant-based (dairy-free, egg-free), refined sugar-free, oil-free, and quite healthy because it contains zucchini and sweet potato!
Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Where do I begin? I think I just went to chocolate heaven after eating a slice of this delicious vegan chocolate cake. I am not kidding, this cake is so tasty even though it contains zucchini!
Chocolate cakes have a bad reputation because normally they contain lots of sugar, eggs, and butter, but not this one! Even though it’s a healthy chocolate cake, it tastes absolutely amazing. Also, would you guess that the creamy chocolate frosting contains sweet potatoes? I bet you wouldn’t!
I love hiding vegetables in my chocolate desserts. Actually, I already made brownies with zucchini, black beans, sweet potato, silken tofu, chickpeas, and even sweet peas. !
Why adding zucchini to a cake? The zucchini adds moisture, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Check out this article to read about the health benefits of zucchini.
Oil-Free Chocolate Cake
I love to bake, but I actually never follow any recipes which I find online because most of them aren’t very healthy. A quick Google search for chocolate cake reveals lots of recipes that contain either butter or a cup of oil. I mean, seriously, who wants to eat a cake with so much oil or butter?! Your arteries won’t be happy.
I do have some recipes which contain a few tablespoons of oil but sometimes, I try to completely skip the oil. Even though oil is plant-based, it’s a refined food that contains 100% fat and no fiber at all. So whenever possible, I rather consume the whole plant and not the oil.
For example, instead of avocado oil, I eat an avocado. Or instead of coconut oil, I eat coconut meat. Whole foods are always complete and contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc. which makes them much healthier.
I am not saying that this gluten-free chocolate cake is fat-free because it is not. Fat adds taste and a great texture to baked goods, furthermore, it’s important to eat a diet with healthy fats. However, you can get similar results with ground nuts or seeds (like almond flour, nut butter, etc.).
How To Make A Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake?
I promise that the recipe isn’t hard to follow. I also included step-by-step process shots for easy visual instructions. You can find the list of ingredients, measurements, nutrition facts, and instructions in the printable recipe below.
- Process the dry ingredients in a blender, then transfer them to a mixing bowl.
- Add the wet ingredients and stir with a whisk or hand mixer.
- Grate the zucchini.
- Add the zucchini to the chocolate batter and stir with a spoon.
- Transfer the batter to a lined and greased springform or use two pans (read the thorough instructions below in the recipe card).
- Bake in the oven.
- Make the sweet potato frosting in a food processor or blender.
- Frost the cake.
You can use a different frosting, maybe you want to keep it simple and just use a glaze, like the one in my Healthy No-Bake Brownies.
Like almost all my recipes, this chocolate cake is vegan and gluten-free. The recipe contains brown rice flour and no “complicated” flour blend. If you aren’t gluten-free, though, you can try out regular flour. One reader reported in the comments that she made the cake successfully with all-purpose flour.
Other readers reported that the cake came out fine with white rice flour or with a store-bought gluten-free flour blend. You can make your own brown rice flour (from brown dry rice) in a good high-speed blender, however, store-bought flour is typically finer and less grainy.
I don’t recommend using coconut flour because it’s very absorbent and would dry out the cake.
The Perfect Vegan Birthday Cake
If you were looking for an allergy-friendly chocolate cake for a birthday, then look no further. This vegan and gluten-free chocolate cake is a wonderful birthday cake because normally everyone loves chocolate, not only kids but also adults. A moist and rich chocolate cake was always my favorite birthday cake. I mean, you can never have enough chocolate in your life, right?! I hope you will give it a try and surprise your loved ones with this eggless chocolate cake for their birthdays.
Tips And Variations
- Make chocolate muffins: Pour the batter into a muffin pan and reduce the baking time by about 15-20 minutes. Make a toothpick test after 25 minutes.
- Add some flavor: You could add orange zest to make a chocolate orange cake! It’s a nice and refreshing twist!
- Add chocolate chips: If you love chocolate as much as I do, feel free to add dairy-free chocolate chips for a triple chocolate cake.
Chocolate Sweet Potato Frosting
You can make this chocolate zucchini cake with or without frosting. However, if you make it without the frosting, it will be a little boring. The frosting is actually so rich, tasty, and creamy, so I definitely recommend it. Furthermore, the sweet potatoes make the frosting not only thick but also pretty healthy.
This delicious gluten-free chocolate zucchini cake is so simple and every chocolate lover will enjoy it. If you try it out, please leave a comment and rating below and tag me with @elavegan and #elavegan on Instagram and/or Facebook. Don’t forget to use #elavegan as well, otherwise, I won’t see your post.
For more delicious vegan chocolate desserts, definitely visit the following blog posts:
- Vegan Lava Cake
- Vegan Chocolate Pie
- Caramel Chocolate Brownies
- Vegan Chocolate Mousse
- 2-Ingredient Condensed Milk Chocolate Truffles
- Keto Chocolate Truffles (Vegan)
- Double Chocolate Chip Fudge Cookies
- Chocolate Salami (No-Bake Dessert)
- The Best Vegan Chocolate Pudding
Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake
- 1 1/2 cup (240 g) brown rice flour (see notes)
- 1 cup (150 g) coconut sugar (see notes)
- 3/4 cup (66 g) cocoa powder unsweetened
- 2 tbsp ground flax seeds or ground chia seeds
- 3/4 cup (66 g) shredded unsweetened coconut (see notes)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 cups (lightly packed) (240 g) grated zucchini (see notes)
- 1 1/3 cup (320 ml) coconut milk canned (regular or lite) (see notes)
- 3-4 tbsp (80 g) maple syrup or agave syrup
Sweet potato frosting:
- 2 small (300 g) sweet potatoes cooked
- 1 cup (240 g) sunflower seed butter or nut butter of choice
- 1/3 cup (105 g) maple syrup or agave syrup
- 4 tbsp (24 g) cocoa powder unsweetened
- 1/8 to 1/2 cup (120 ml) plant-based milk (amount depends on consistency / read instructions)
- 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- You can watch the video in the post for visual instructions.I recommend using a kitchen scale for this recipe. Check the step-by-step process shots above in the blog post.
- Process all dry ingredients in a food processor or blender for a couple of seconds. Transfer the dry ingredients to a big bowl.
- Whisk the coconut milk and agave syrup together in a bowl and pour it over the dry ingredients. Give the mixture a good stir (you can also use a hand mixer if you want).
- Grate the zucchini and add it to the batter. Stir with a spoon (don't use a blender or food processor).
- Grease a 7-inch or 8-inch springform with some oil or line it with parchment paper. Pour the batter into the springform and bake it in the oven at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 45 minutes (check the center of the cake with a toothpick after 40 minutes to see if it's cooked already).Note: If you have two 7-inch or 8-inch pans, then split the batter in half and pour it into each pan. This way, you won't need to cut the cake in the middle. The baking time will be less if you use two pans.
- Let the cake cool for at least 30 minutes. Then carefully cut cake layers with a large knife or use dental floss (like I did).
- Process all ingredients for the frosting in your food processor or high-speed blender until you have a thick, fluffy, and creamy frosting. If you use white sweet potatoes (which are very starchy) you will need more plant-based milk (I used 1/2 cup, but you might need even more). If you use orange sweet potatoes,1/4 cup plant-based milk should be enough.
- Frost the cake and enjoy! Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
- Some readers reported that they made the cake successfully with all-purpose flour. Cassava flour seems to work fine too. One reader reported that almond flour is unfortunately not working in this recipe.
- You can use any granulated sweetener of choice, for example, cane sugar, date sugar, etc.
- You can use 66 grams of ground nuts or seeds of choice instead of shredded unsweetened coconut.
- I recommend using canned coconut milk, however, you can also use different plant-based milk with the addition of 3 tablespoons of oil.
- I didn't drain zucchini but if yours is very watery it's recommended to drain it.
- The Nutrition Facts are for one slice if you cut the cake into 12 slices. Calculation includes the frosting! Without the frosting, the cake has approximately 213 kcal and 6.8 grams fat per slice.
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically
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I am trying this recipe today as cupcakes! I think I just have to cook it for less time, but I am a little worried that the zucchini will not cook in that time. I am so excited to try this out, thank you!
Hi Chrissy, yes they will be done in less time. You can make a toothpick test after 25-30 minutes and check if they are already cooked. 🙂
I did it with Doves Farm Plain Flour because I didnt have rice flour and worked really well. Love it. The best vegan and gf cake that I tried. Thanks for the recipe.
Yay, I am so glad to hear that. Thanks for your amazing feedback. 🙂
Looks delicious. I don’t eat coconut for health reasons. Is it possible to replace the shredded coconut and the light coconut milk in the frosting with something else? Thanks.
Hi Jeanette, instead of shredded unsweetened coconut you can use any ground nuts/seeds as mentioned in the recipe notes.
You can substitute any plant-based cream (e.g. oat cream, soy cream) for the coconut milk. I wouldn’t recommend boxed plant-based milk since it’s watered down a lot. Hope this helps. 🙂
Hi Ela, thank you so much for your reply, I appreciate it. Wonderful, I will use ground nuts/seeds instead and another plant-based cream instead.of coconut milk! Thanks , I will not use a boxed plant-based milk for the frosting. I look forward to making the cake.
Great, I hope you will like it. 🙂
Hi Ela, I have been meaning to bake something chocolatey yesterday but didn’t get to it. Was prepping meals, boiling legumes and smoothie packs for the week ahead. And I am.really on about vegan baking. So whenever I see something that looks so delicious(like your chocolate cake) I want to try and thanks God you have a blog. My first time here and I love reading it!
I have white rice flour in my cabinet.. Cooked all brown rice yesterday lol, do you think it would do? Either way i am trying this recipe today! I keep you posted Ela.
Thanks for your kind comment. I haven’t tried to make this cake with white rice flour, but it should turn out ok. Let me know if you give it a try. 🙂
Hi again Ela, Yes, I did bake it! Sadly my white rice flour wasn’t enough so I mixed with an all purpose gluten free one, the cake turned out denser than I expected so will definitely shop some brown rice flour(I must re create it again) For the frosting I used peanut butter as I do not have sunflower butter(the taste was too peanutty* lol)So, I must find me sunflower butter or blend up some. Will keep you updated when I do get to baking it again, for now, I will tag you on Instagram on my amateur baking of your wonderful recipe. Sending you warm kitchen vibes????????☘️. Still eating the cake today and it’s unbelievable how well the zucchini bakes and sweet potato frosts. ????????????????????
That’s interesting. I am really curious if you will prefer the version with brown rice flour. Oh, and I really love using the organic sunflower seed butter from “Sunbutter”.
Best wishes, Ela 🙂
Have you tried this with finely ground coconut paste instead of coconut milk Ela?
Hey! No, I didn’t try it but I think it would taste great. 🙂
Thank you for this recipe Ela, made this for my child’s first birthday and it was yumm. Will add some more liquid and little more sweetness next time for our tastes. Much appreciated. Thank you.
Hello, I am glad you liked my recipe. ❤️
Lots of love, Ela
georgie @ georgieeats
This looks incredible!!! I have to try it!
Thanks! I hope you will like it! 🙂
Unbelievable! Absolutely delicious! This recipe won over a party of non-vegans, they couldn’t believe it was made with sweet potatoes and zucchini, thank you Ela. I’ll definitely be making this one again.
Awesome, Kaitlin! I am so glad you all liked my recipe. 🙂
My son recently turned 1 and I decided to make this delicious cake for his birthday cake! It was SO incredibly scrumptious that everyone at the party (even our non-vegan) friends) loved it. Your recipes continue to amaze me. Keep up the great work!
Aww, that’s amazing, Nicole! Thanks so much for letting me know. I am happy everyone loved the cake
Hello, this looks amazing! Can you tell me what I can replace the flax with? I’m anaphylactic to flax. Thanks!
Hi Christine, ground chia seeds would be fine. 🙂
This was the first time I’ve seen your blog – and made your zucchini chocolate cake today – it was a big hit with everyone! I ground brown rice into a flour and followed your directions – which were spot on! Thank you for this recipe which I will be sharing. I’m eager to try your other recipes now too — so thank you! I decorated the top with fresh raspberries and it complemented the chocolate beautifully. 🙂
Wow, I am really glad to hear that! Thanks so much for letting me know 🙂
I made this recipe for a wedding today and it turned out deliciously! I tweaked the frosting , adding a bit more coconut milk, cocoa powder and vanilla to the frosting. Highly recommend this recipe! Fairly easy and very good!
Yay, I am really happy to hear you liked my cake and that you even made it for a wedding! Fantastic! 🙂
Hello, I haven’t made this cake yet but it’s a contender for my daughter’s 2nd birthday party. It looks amazing in the photos. I’m a little weary about the grated zucchini just being stirred into the batter without using a blender. That doesn’t make for an odd texture once it’s baked? I’d like for guests to be in awe that it’s actually a healthy vegan cake, so I’m worried if it has an unusual texture from the grated zucchini, they may not quite be in awe. I’m also wondering if almond flour would work instead of brown rice flour. I just have a lot of almond flour because that’s what I normally use for baking, so I’d have to buy brown rice flour just for this cake. Thanks in advance! 🙂
Hello Catherine, don’t worry about the grated zucchini, there is no odd texture. You can also check out previous comments. 🙂 I wouldn’t blend the zucchini because it will release all the moisture and the cake will end up too dense. Not sure if the texture will be the same with almond flour, but you can give it a try and report back. 🙂
Oh my goodness! This was incredible. My children (6 and 9) devoured it. Such an easy and delicious cake. We decorated it with strawberries and made most of it (including the rice flour) in the Thermomix. Can’t taste the vegetables at all. Thanks so much for sharing ❤️
That’s aweome, Ali! Thanks so much for your incredible feedback 🙂
Looking forward to trying this one for my little guy’s first birthday smash cake! I’m trying to keep the sugar monsters away for as long as I can, especially when I’m still 200% in control of what’s put in front of him. Do you know if this will freeze well if I make it ahead of time? With or without frosting? And can I use regular round cake pans instead of the springform?
Yes, you can use regular round cake pans instead of the springform. I don’t know if the cake will freeze well because I never tried it out. But it should be no problem if you freeze it for a couple of hours. 🙂
I made this cake two days ago and we are still enjoying this yummy treat! I used roasted almond & hazelnut butter in the frosting and it worked out great! Will definitely do this cake on a more festive occasion, as it truly deserves it????????
That’s awesome, Nina! Thanks for your great feedback 🙂
This is the best vegan cakes I’ve had ever! I can’t believe it has veggies and is healthy! My mom ate some and couldn’t believe it herself. It’s so moist and lots of chocolate flavor so yummy @elavegan
Aww, thank you so much for your feedback, Sabrina! I am so happy you and your mom liked my chocolate zucchini cake. I made it again for my birthday because it’s my favorite cake as well. 🙂
Hi Ela, I’m on my second attempt at making this delicious looking cake. Both times have been an epic fail. I’m still trying desperately for this second cake to work. It’s been in the oven for over an hour and toothpick is still NOT coming out clean. This is what happened to the first cake as well. Has this happened to anyone else or is it just me?!! what am i doing wrong?? cheers Zara
Hey Zara! I am sorry you had issues. Did you use the exact same ingredients (e.g. brown rice flour etc) or did you use a different flour? Did you measure all ingredients in grams or cups? Did you follow the recipe instructions (e.g. just adding the grated zucchini to the batter and not mixing it with a food processor/blender)?
Hi Ela! I’ feel the same. I don’t like cakes with a lot of butter/sugar/oil, so I searching alway a lot until I find something wich contains no oil/butter/sugar. I baked this cake yesterday for my daughters birthday. And I have to say it is so delicious. Our non vegan friends liked so much. So thank you very much. Best wishes from a hungarien.
Makes me so happy, Renata! I am glad you loved my cake. Happy belated birthday to your daughter 🙂
I did not see this in your pre-recipe portion or in the recipe portion. Do you use the entire can of coconut milk or is is suppose to be chilled and just use the cream part? I never like to assume.
Hi Michele, I use the entire can of coconut milk, not just the cream part. Hope this helps 🙂