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Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake – This almond flour chocolate zucchini cake is ULTRA fudgy and delicious. It’ll be your new favorite way to eat zucchini! (Gluten free, dairy free, paleo-friendly)

Close up overhead view of Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Healthy Chocolate Frosting

It’s a bit unbelievable to be writing this, but it’s our LAST Monday of summer break! (I know, we start early!) My kids and I are all feeling it.

So it seems like the right thing to do is banish a serious case of The Mondays with a chocolate cake. Not just any chocolate cake. A gluten-free chocolate zucchini cake. That tastes amazing. (And did I mention the chocolate part? Because it’s GOOD.)

I think that any Monday that starts with baked goods can’t possibly be bad. Seriously–fill your house with the smell of chocolate and try to tell me it doesn’t make you feel better. Let’s make this a new tradition, yes?

Fine.

Even if you have to wait till dessert to pull this lovely chocolate zucchini cake out, I think you’re going to love it.

It’ll definitely be your new favorite way to eat vegetables. (Kidding! …sort of!) Here’s what you need to get started…

Overhead view of Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Healthy Chocolate Frosting

Here’s What Goes Into Our Almond Flour Chocolate Zucchini Cake:

  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. Unsweetened cocoa powder adds LOTS of delicious flavor. I’m using regular unsweetened cocoa powder but. you can experiment with dark cocoa powder (sometimes labeled Dutch process or alkalized cocoa powder) for a darker look.
  • Almond Flour & Arrowroot. Almond flour keeps our gluten-free zucchini cake moist while arrowroot keeps it from being too dense. It’s a GREAT pairing! I use it for my almond flour pumpkin cake and banana cake, too.
  • Coconut Sugar. This almond flour chocolate zucchini cake is naturally sweetened! Yay!
  • Baking Soda + Baking Powder. For puff and tenderness. See the notes if you’re strictly paleo!
  • Salt. To balance the flavors. Don’t forget it!
  • Coconut Oil. Thanks to the zucchini, you don’t need much!
  • Eggs. To bind everything together and give the cake just the right amount of puff.
  • Almond Milk + Maple Syrup. A little almond milk and maple syrup make up most of the ingredients. I love the flavor that they add to the cake.
  • Vanilla Extract. Always in chocolate cake! It makes the chocolate taste more chocolatey, if you can believe it.
  • Shredded Zucchini. The magic ingredient! Grated zucchini adds moisture to the cake without impacting the flavor at all. It truly feels like magic.
  • Our Amazing Frosting. To finish our gluten-free zucchini cake, we’re using the most AMAZING healthy chocolate frosting…
Overhead view of a food processor with healthy chocolate frosting for gluten free chocolate zucchini cake
Front view of spatula spreading healthy chocolate frosting onto gluten free chocolate zucchini cake

MY MAGIC CHOCOLATE FROSTING (REFINED SUGAR FREE!)

I’ve gotten several requests over the years for a chocolate frosting recipe without refined sugar, and I’ve finally got one I LOVE! I got the idea from my No-Bake Chocolate Berry Tart filling, and finally got the amounts right where I like them. All you need is 5 simple ingredients to make it!

  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • Pure Maple Syrup
  • Coconut Oil (soft, but not melted)
  • Vanilla Extract and 
  • A Pinch of Salt

I puree everything together in my food processor or blender (though you could totally just whisk it in a bowl!). It’s sweetener than my tart filling, and has rich chocolatey notes that make it so good you’ll have to fight the urge to just eat it by the spoonful.

If you prefer, you could also swap in the ganache I used in my Almond Flour Banana Cake. It’s made from melted chocolate chips, milk, and vanilla and tastes great on this cake.

Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Healthy Chocolate Frosting

WHAT MAKES THIS GLUTEN FREE CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE Recipe AMAZING:

IT’S SUPER EASY TO MAKE. Like, just a food processor or a single bowl will do the job. No sifting, no extra bowls. I literally make it in the food processor (you could use a blender, stand mixer, or bowl with a hand mixer). Easy-peasy and no fussy techniques to worry about.

IT’S GOT AN AMAZING TEXTURE. This chocolate zucchini cake is incredibly light and fluffy. Zucchini keeps it moist and the combination of almond flour and arrowroot help keep it light. It’s so hard to have just one slice!

IT’S ULTRA CHOCOLATEY. I *hate* when I bite into a chocolate cake and it doesn’t taste chocolatey. You won’t run into that problem here! There’s plenty of rich chocolate flavor in the zucchini cake, then it’s topped with an unbelievable chocolate frosting that’ll blow your mind. (Aaaaand maybe I garnished the cake with some chopped up chocolate, too.)

IT’S NATURALLY SWEETENED. One bite in and you won’t believe me! I used a combination of pure maple syrup and coconut sugar for the cake, then pure maple syrup in the frosting. It’s everything chocolatey and sweet without a single grain of white or powdered sugar.

IT’LL GET YOUR KIDS TO EAT ZUCCHINI. (Kind of a funny perk, and yes, I know that just because there’s zucchini in it doesn’t mean this cake is healthy.) But, my children are NOT zucchini fans, and they’ve BEGGED for seconds on this cake every single time we’ve made it. It’s like magic, and has actually gotten them to enthusiastically eat other things with veggies blended or “hidden” inside (like this smoothie) when I tell them, “it’s like the chocolate zucchini cake! You can’t even taste the veggies!”

A slice of gluten free chocolate zucchini cake from One Lovely Life
Close up view of a slice of Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Healthy Chocolate Frosting

FAQ + TIPS FOR THE BEST GLUTEN-FREE CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE:

AN EASY WAY TO GRATE ZUCCHINI. You can grate zucchini in 10 seconds or less with a food processor. I use mine for everything from energy bites to grating veggies to making cakes. But the grating blade makes this a cinch. Otherwise, I love a grater like this one that catches everything it grates. (That said, a box grater will definitely get the job done if that’s what you have on hand!)

CAN I SUBSTITUTE A DIFFERENT KIND OF FLOUR IN YOUR GLUTEN-FREE CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE? I really don’t recommend it. I *have* tried this with 1:1 gluten-free flour blend in place of the almond flour/arrowroot mixture and while the flavor is similar, the cake was less moist. You CANNOT substitute coconut flour in this cake. (Coconut flour absorbs several times its volume in liquid, so you’d need to adjust the amount of coconut flour and/or the amount of liquid in the recipe to make it work)

WHAT KIND OF COCOA DO YOU USE IN ZUCCHINI CAKE? I use unsweetened cocoa powder. You can use dark cocoa powder (sometimes labeled Dutch process or alkalized cocoa powder), if you like for a darker look.

CAN I MAKE THIS CAKE A DIFFERENT SIZE OR BAKE IT IN A DIFFERENT PAN? I haven’t tried it yet. This makes enough for one 8×8 or 9×9 square cake (I use this one). It won’t work as a layer cake unless you want very thin layers or you double the recipe. And for a 9×13, you’d need to double it and extend the baking time. As for cupcakes, I *think* it’d work for about 12 cupcakes, but I haven’t tried it yet to be sure.

CAN I MAKE THIS VEGAN? Again, I haven’t tried it without eggs yet, but I’d love to know how it goes if you give it a try with flax eggs or another vegan egg substitute!

Overhead view of a slice of Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Healthy Chocolate Frosting

HELPFUL FOR THIS RECIPE (PRODUCTS I USED):

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Overhead view of Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Healthy Chocolate Frosting

Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake


  • Author: One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 912 Slices 1x

Description

This gorgeous gluten-free chocolate zucchini cake is made with almond flour and packed with chocolate flavor. It’s rich and decadent and 100% naturally sweetened! You’ll love the paleo chocolate frosting! 


Ingredients

Scale

For the Chocolate Zucchini Cake:

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (softened but not melted)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini

For the Frosting:

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (softened, but not melted)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Generous pinch salt

Instructions

Make the Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line an 8×8″ or 9×9″ pan with parchment paper.
  3. In a bowl or a food processor, combine cocoa powder, almond flour, arrowroot, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pulse or whisk to combine.
  4. Add coconut oil, eggs, milk, syrup, and vanilla. Pulse or whisk until well combined and smooth.
  5. Fold or stir in the zucchini shreds.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Allow the cake to cool while you mix up the frosting.

Make the Frosting:

  1. In a food processor (or a bowl with a hand mixer), combine cocoa powder, syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt.
  2. Pulse or mix until completely smooth.
  3. Spoon onto the cooled cake and spread with a spatula over the surface. If desired, garnish with shaved or chopped chocolate, mini chocolate chips, or sprinkles.
  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Dessert, Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Chocolate zucchini cake, almond flour chocolate zucchini cake, gluten free chocolate zucchini cake, paleo chocolate zucchini cake, gluten free zucchini cake, paleo zucchini cake, almond flour zucchini cake,

15 Comments

    1. Nancy – Depending on your dietary needs, yes! You can substitute cornstarch or tapioca starch for the arrowroot. And I’ve updated the nutrition facts at the bottom of the recipe card. You should be able to see them now! (If not, refresh the page and wait a few seconds for it to load) Hope that helps!

    1. Yes, I believe so, but I don’t have a baking time for you. You’ll probably want to start checking it every few minutes after the 20 minute mark. I’d love to hear how it goes if you give it a try!

    1. Jan – I’ve tested it four times with good results to be sure. If you’ve measured the ingredients as listed, and used one of the flours I recommend, I believe everything is written correctly!

  1. This cake tastes like baking soda. It even smells like soda instead of chocolate. Are you sure that it is supposed to have 1 tsp baking soda for such a small amount of dry ingredients? I was looking forward to a gluten free, dairy free treat. What a waste of pasture raised eggs and home grown zucchini.

    1. Julie – I’m SO sorry to hear you had a bad experience. I just finished baking and frosting a batch of this cake to make sure I have everything correct. (I’ve made it half a dozen times in the last couple of years, but still wanted to check.) I used a fresh box of baking soda and used 1 tsp. as written. I can’t seem to replicate your results. The cake smells and tastes chocolatey and decadent to all four of my family members. It’s light and moist and the texture seems great, too. It may be that we simply have different tastes, or it could be a matter of the freshness of baking soda. Either way, I’m so sorry it wasn’t a winner for you. I know it’s so frustrating to feel like you’re wasting ingredients!

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