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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Amazing recipe! It has exceeded my expectations. So nice to find a vegan cake recipe without refined oil. I made it with all purpose flour and choko (also known as chayote) instead of zucchini which was a risk but it worked perfectly. Delicious and rich, We didn’t need any frosting.
So happy it came out delicious. Thanks for your great feedback, Marianne. 🙂
I have just made this cake for my brothers birthday. But i dont knowvwhy but the corpus falling apart, crumbly. Why.? But tastes very good. I cant divide 2 halves and spread the frosting. Thank you.
Hi Janka, sorry to hear you can’t slice it. You could just add the frosting on top!
Hi, I made this cake on Friday and it was nothing like in your pictures or description. I followed the recipe to the letter and it was dense and dry, more like a cookie. It was edible but a huge disappointment as a birthday cake. What do you think could have gone wrong?
Did you use coconut flour instead of shredded unsweetened coconut?
this icing is divine. cake is delicious. made it with gf all purpose flour blend.
That’s awesome! Happy it turned out yummy. 🙂
I’m excited to try this for my nephew’s birthday, he has a lot of allergies and this is the perfect answer. Question about the sweet potato–can I use canned sweet potato as long as it’s the right amount? Or is there a difference in moisture? Thanks.
I think that should be fine. 🙂
Hi just about to give this delicious cake a go., can I freeze this cake and sweet potato frosting?
Yes, you can! Enjoy! 🙂
Ciao Ela, grazie infinite per le tue numerose e fantastiche ricette. Vorrei provarle tutte in futuro! Come posso sostituire lo zucchero di cocco in questa ricetta, io preferisco usare sempre lo sciroppo d’acero, ma so che è troppo liquido poi.. Mi daresti un consiglio? grazie grazie grazie
Hi Marianna, you can try using maple syrup (about the same amount in grams) and slightly reduce the amount of coconut milk. It should still work. 🙂
I think I did something wrong…the frosting was super thin. How do I thicken it?
Hi Asia, it sounds like you used too much plant-based milk, or your sweet potatoes were maybe a bit mushy?
Absolutely love it. The flavors of your dishes are always so well balanced, same with this cake. Nicely moist and rich!
Thank you for making gluten-free and vegan diet so enjoyable and easy to follow with rather common ingrediencies.
Thanks for your kind feedback, Daire! So glad you like my recipes. 🙂
Meine Güte, was für ein hammerleckerer Kuchen!!!
Sogar die Eltern und Schwiegereltern und beide Kleinkinder waren sehr angetan!
Ich habe statt Sonnenblumen- Cashewmus genommen.
Der Kuchen hätte mich auch in einem Café absolut überzeugt.
Danke für Deine tollen Rezepte!
Freut mich sehr liebe Kaddy! Danke für dein tolles Feedback. 🙂
Thank you so much for posting this recipe. As many others I have a question regarding the flour do you think spelt of rye flour would work in this recipe? I am thinking of making it this week 😀
thank you in advance <3
Hi Desiree! Yes, spelt flour will work. Many of my German readers already tried it. 🙂
Thank you so much!! 😀 I will tell you how it went
Ok, it was a big fail for me. I do not know if it was the flour or my oven (gas and only heats from the bottom) or the extra moisture of the zucchini, but I failed!
The flavour was delicious but the consistency, not good at all. It sank, it was gooey, sticky and it took hours to bake. I do not know what happened. I’ll try another time.
Sorry to hear it didn’t turn out well with spelt flour.