One of the best things about summer — to me — is that I can grab tons of fresh zucchini at farmer’s markets for recipes like this gluten free chocolate zucchini cake! I’ll look for any excuse to hide, er, I mean to use, fresh veggies and fruits in my baking, and this “hidden treasure” recipe for gluten free Chocolate Zucchini Cake is one of our favorites!
While you might not think that zucchini and chocolate could marry so well, just wait until you taste this amazing gluten free chocolate zucchini cake!
Besides being delectably moist and delicious, this chocolate cake contains health benefits you can’t taste — talk about having your cake and eating it too!
The glaze on top is a delicious alternative to traditional frosting, but is totally optional. At times, I’ve shaved some dark chocolate on top (also optional) for decoration, and on other occasions, I’ve baked this yummy cake as a sheet pan and used cookie cutters to cut out shapes.
The recipe is so versatile, I’m sure you’ll come up with even more ways of using it or feeling smug about sneaking veggies into your family without their ever suspecting it.
I mean, do you see any zucchini in this luscious cake?
My kids (and my parents) sure haven’t. Or that it hasn’t stopped them if they have!
This light, subtly sweet cake is sure to be a hit for you this summer and fall. In fact, when I first made this cake years ago (many years ago), my young son and his friend spied the green ingredient before I could secret it away. They were good sports — or maybe they just really love chocolate — and surprisingly wanted to try the cake anyway.
In the words of my son’s playdate pointing to this cake, “I don’t know if there’s gluten in that or not, but that chocolate cake is GOOD!” And here I was worried about the zucchini!!
For other gluten free chocolate zucchini combos, try my gluten free Coffee Chocolate Zucchini Bread or my gluten free Zucchini Brownies! Or even my gluten free chocolate zucchini donuts! I think you’ll agree it’s truly a great combination.
Note: although this recipe was originally published in my cookbook, Free for All Cooking, since then I’ve experimented more with Coconut Palm Sugar – a low glycemic, granulated, raw and nutrient rich alternative to processed sugar. I’m happy to report that this recipe worked beautifully using coconut palm sugar, so consider that an option if you’re looking to feel even better about eating chocolate cake!
And while I give you and easy and delicious glaze recipe, there’s no need to glaze this yummy cake. A light dusting — or dotting, as it were — of confectioner’s sugar is just as yummy!
Especially if you’re not serving this cake right away, I’d recommend not glazing it. Just serve it au natural. It’s so light and tasty on its own. But you be the judge. Maybe try a piece both ways and decide for yourself!
So hit your local farm stand or even the grocery store and start shredding!
You’ll wind up with 2 1/2 cups of zucchini, which should look like this (it’s approximately 1 1/2 average sized zucchini)
No need to drain it for this recipe, just shred and add. Couldn’t be easier!
Enjoy sneaking greens into your chocolate cake. I hope you feel as smug about it as I do!
Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake
As if we needed another reason to love zucchini, this gluten free Chocolate Zucchini Cake makes zucchini impossible to resist!
- 2 1/2 cups (337 grams) gfJules® Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup (54 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural, not Dutch processed)
- 3 teaspoons (9 grams) baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) salt
- 2 teaspoons (4 grams) ground cinnamon (optional)
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces) butter or vegan alternative Earth Balance® Buttery Sticks OR neutral oil like avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil (See Notes)
- 1 2/3 cups granulated cane sugar OR coconut palm sugar
- 3 eggs (or egg subs of choice – see my article**
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar, honey OR raw coconut nectar
- 1 tablespoon orange juice or apple cider or other juice of choice
- 2 1/2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini (approx. 1 1/2 ave. zucchini, not drained unless particularly wet)
- 1/2 cup milk or non-dairy milk
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons milk or non-dairy milk
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- shaved milk chocolate or dark chocolate or chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Prepare a 10-inch tube or bundt pan by lightly oiling and dusting with gfJules Flour. Or, prepare a 9 x 13 baking pan the same way, and bake as a sheet pan.
Wash and grate zucchini with skins on. If you have extra grated zucchini, measure it and bag it, then refrigerate or freeze for your next yummy zucchini recipe! If the zucchini is particularly wet, press lightly between paper towels, but do not squeeze all liquids out.
Whisk together gfJules Flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; set aside.
Using an electric mixer (preferred), cream butter/Buttery Sticks and sugar until smooth and light,* at least 3-4 minutes. Add eggs or substitute to the butter and sugar mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla, agave/coconut nectar, and juice. Lastly, stir in zucchini.
Add the mixed dry ingredients and the milk alternately into the zucchini mixture until fully incorporated.
Pour into prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for about 50 minutes (test at 45 minutes) or until a skewer or cake tester inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes; gently turn out onto a wire rack to cool thoroughly.
Sprinkle confectioner's sugar over the cake to serve, or to make glaze, whisk together all the ingredients until smooth. Drizzle glaze over cake only after it has fully cooled.
*If using oil instead of butter/vegan butter, skip the creaming step and add oil together with sugar, eggs/sub, vanilla, agave and juice, mixing until combined. Then continue with recipe.
**For egg-free/vegan, reader Joanne S. used 3 TBS flaxseed meal mixed with 6 TBS hot water (steeped for 10 minutes) and 1 recipe Ener-G egg Replacer. Another option is to use 9 Tbs aquafaba.
As a member of Amazon Associates and other affiliate programs, I may earn a small amount from qualifying purchases; this amount goes to fund this blog and does not cost you anything additional.
gfJules Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
Big Tree Farms Organic Brown Coconut Sugar, Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Non-GMO, Low Glycemic, Unrefined and Fair Trade, Natural Sweetener, 2 Pound (Packaging May Vary)
Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
Big Tree Organic Coconut Nectar - Unrefined Sweetener 11.5oz Bottle (Pack of 2) Select Flavor Below (Amber)
Amount Per Serving Calories 257Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 39mgSodium 62mgCarbohydrates 47gFiber 1gSugar 45gProtein 4g
Please keep in mind that nutrition information provided is per serving, which may vary. While we have taken care to provide you with the most accurate nutritional values possible, please note that this information may differ significantly depending on the exact ingredients and brands that you choose to use to make this recipe. Additionally, where options are given for ingredients, the resulting calculation may include all ingredient options instead of only one per line, skewing the totals significantly.
I hope you love this recipe as much as we do!
Pin it for when those chocolate cravings hit!
just made this Wonderful cake.. I am using whipped cream instead of frosting as it just is so good on its own.
What a LOVELY chocolate zucchini cake, Nancy! That is just perfect! And I love the idea of whipped cream, as it’s not as sweet and so easy!! Thanks so much for taking the time to share your photo and your review!!!!!
I was glad to see you use weights for ingredients, but unfortunately not consistently (zucchini !). Please do … Thanks..
I’ll take that under advisement Arthur! 🙂
As I have time, I have been going back into my recipes and adding weights, but I have over 480, so it’s taking a lot of time!!! If you make a recipe and find weights for anything in particular, please leave a comment and I’ll be glad to add that to the recipe for others to have as a reference!
These are good cakes. Thanks for sharing yours.
Of course, Sandra! ENJOY!!
Jules – I would like to make this GF Chocolate Zucchini Cake. Could you please provide the nutritional info, in particular how many carbs in one serving or the entire cake. Thank you.
Hi Margaret, I just added the nutritionals for you on this recipe! It’s configured for sugar, so note it will change if you use coconut palm instead. Enjoy!
What is the adjustment for altitudes over 6000 ft. On the gf .zuchini chocolate cake?
Hi Kathleen, check out my high altitude gluten free baking tips and see what you think. I haven’t baked THIS recipe at high altitude, but I generally don’t have any troubles without adjustment or with just a few tweaks.
Can the Chocolate Zucchini Cake be frozen? This is a delicious cake.
Of course! Just wrap it well and I wouldn’t recommend freezing it for longer than a month or so. Enjoy!
This was the best gluten free cake I have made in years, moist, chocolate and wonderful! Non gluten free people loved it also! Used a combination of rice milk and whipping cream for my milk ingredient, will make it again but not too soon, I have no stopping power when it comes to this cake!
Keep them coming Jules!
Awwww, that is wonderful to hear, Cathy!!!!!!
This cake is absolutely amazing!!! I’ve been GF for about 12 years and this is by far the best cake recipe ever:). Moist, full of flavor, Delicious!!! Well done!!
Oh Sharon, that is the best news! I’m so glad you loved it!!! May all your baking be so happy from here on out!
This Chocolate Zucchini Cake is amazing! It’s very moist and has just the right amount of chocolate flavor. I used Monk fruit instead of sugar and it worked just fine. Thanks for a great recipe!!
So happy to know this gluten free Chocolate Zucchini Cake recipe worked well with the Monk Fruit in place of sugar! Thanks so much for letting me know, Sheryl! Happy baking!
I made this cake last night. It was very good. My Mother who will not put anything gluten free in her mouth, ate some and liked it. I did add a little more milk to the mixture as I got a little heavy handed with the zucchini. Didn’t have any chocolate chips, but had some salted caramel chips. Sprinkled this on the cake, really set it off. Served with a glass of coconut milk, YUM!!
You gotta love with the gluten lovers among us endorse a gluten free recipe! Congrats on your success with this gluten free Chocolate Zucchini Cake, Linda!!!
Not sure what went wrong. Very dry and crumbling. Thank goodness I didn’t tip it upside down like I normally would. Im spooning it out and putting ice cream on top.
I think it needs more liquid 1cup strong coffee.👍
If it was dry and crumbly, more liquid would definitely be in order! Did you make it again?
Hi Caron, first off, I’m so glad to hear that you’re making the best of it! That’s the true baking spirit I love to see!
Can you tell me whether you used my gfJules Gluten Free Flour? Any other substitutions for ingredients? What was the batter like before baking?
Approximately how many zucchini do you need for this recipe?
Depends on the size of the zucchini you have on hand, but 1-2 zucchini ought to do it.
I love zucchini cakes and especially ones with chocolate! This sounds lovely.
Zucchini and chocolate make a great combo!
I love that you add cinnamon to this cake Jules! I haven’t seen cinnamon in many chocolate zucchini cakes. Perfect for early fall.
I do love cinnamon, but I have to say it really does add a nice extra something in this recipe!
Made this for the first time for my husband’s birthday. Couldn’t have been happier with the results! Instead of the expected sawdust and crumbling that comes with gf baking, we had a moist and rich chocolate cake. I would omit the cinnamon next time. Not necessary to us. I definitely recommend adding the powdered sugar or the glaze. The chocolate is strong and you need a little sweet to cut it. Will definitely make this again!
Hi Susan, thank you so much for coming back to report on your cake made with this recipe. I hope your hubby had a very happy birthday (we know it was tasty!).