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!
- 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 Free for All Cooking or 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.
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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)
I hope you love this recipe as much as we do!
Pin it for when those chocolate cravings hit!