Chocolate Zucchini Cake


5 from 1352 votes
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This moist and fudgy chocolate zucchini cake is an easy yet elegant dessert made in one bowl! Packed with shredded zucchini, no one will know that it’s secretly healthy!

chocolate zucchini cake.

A healthy dessert with vegetables in it? 

It’s time to make a zucchini chocolate cake

After rave reviews from both my zucchini brownies and zucchini bread, I had to try it for another dessert. 

Table of Contents
  1. Why you’ll love this chocolate zucchini cake recipe
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to make a chocolate zucchini cake
  4. Dietary swaps and substitutions
  5. Tips to make the best recipe
  6. Storage instructions
  7. Recommended tools to make this recipe
  8. More chocolate cake recipes to try
  9. Frequently Asked Questions
  10. Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Why you’ll love this chocolate zucchini cake recipe

  • Hidden nutrients! Adding zucchini to a chocolate cake is a sneaky way to hide some greens. You won’t be able to taste it, and it adds extra moisture to the cake (and fiber, too!).
  • Perfect texture. The texture is super moist, with a tender crumb. 
  • No eggs, butter, or oil. This uses pantry staples that are actually quite healthy! 

Looking for more zucchini recipes in desserts? Try zucchini muffins, cookies, or bars.

Ingredients needed

This recipe calls for simple pantry staples and because it is eggless, you really won’t even need to make a trip to the stores for anything. Here is what you’ll need: 

  • Milk and vinegar. Mixed and set for 5 minutes to create a mock buttermilk. I used unsweetened almond milk but any milk works.
  • Oat flour. A wheat-free alternative to traditional white or wheat flour. Skip the store-bought and packaged options and make your own. 
  • Cocoa powder. 100% unsweetened cocoa powder. For a richer flavor, you can use dark cocoa powder.
  • Arrowroot powder. Holds the cake together and helps achieve a moist crumb.
  • Baking powder and soda. Both leavening agents are used to give the cake structure and stability.
  • Unsweetened applesauce. Helps keep the cake moist while adding minimal calories and fat.
  • Coconut sugar OR light brown sugar. Either sugar works.
  • Zucchini. Finely shredded, with most of the moisture removed.
  • Salt. A pinch of salt to balance out the sweet ingredients. 
  • Vanilla extract. A must for any good cake recipe.
  • Chocolate frosting. Not optional! I used my famous two-ingredient frosting but any frosting works.

How to make a chocolate zucchini cake

This chocolate cake with zucchini is easy to make: the only thing you need to remember is to let the milk and vinegar sit for 5 minutes for it to curdle and create buttermilk. You can either make this as a two-layer cake (using two 8-inch cake pans) or a three-layer cake (using three 6-inch cake pans). 

Step 1- Prep the base 

 Line and grease two 8-inch cake pans and mix the milk and vinegar to curdle.

Step 2- Make the cake batter

 Whisk together your dry ingredients until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, applesauce, and sugar. Combine the two until just combined.

Step 3- bake the cake

Pour the batter amongst the two cake pans and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out mostly clean.

Step 4- frost the cake

Let the cakes cool completely before frosting, slicing, and serving.

healthy chocolate zucchini cake.

Dietary swaps and substitutions

This cake is forgiving and can easily be adapted for other diets out there. There are also some substitution ideas if you don’t have a certain ingredient on hand:

  • For a richer cake, swap out half the applesauce with olive oil, butter, or vegetable oil.
  • Swap out the oat flour for either all-purpose flour or wholewheat flour.
  • For a keto chocolate zucchini cake, replace the oat flour with almond flour, use allulose as the sweetener, and swap out the applesauce for full-fat yogurt.
  • Swap out the applesauce for either plain yogurt or sour cream.
  • To cut out the gluten, use gluten free oat flour.

Tips to make the best recipe

  • Do not over-bake the cake, as it will continue to bake as it is cooling down. Unlike my easy chocolate cake, you’ll need to be super careful, as oat flour can dry out goods easily.
  • Squeeze out some of the moisture from the zucchini but not all of it. Some of the moisture helps keep the cake moist and soft. I like to let them sit on some paper towels. 
  • Brown sugar or coconut sugar is necessary to balance out the other ingredients. If you want to use a sugar free substitute, you’ll need to add a fat to it. 
  • Intensify the chocolate flavor by adding some chocolate chips throughout. 
  • For something different, top the cake with a cream cheese frosting.

Storage instructions

  • To store:  Store at room temperature, covered, for up to three days. If you’d like the cake to keep longer, Place slices of the cake in a sealable container and store it in the fridge. 
  • To freeze: Place the baked, cooled, and frosted cake in an airtight container and store it in the freezer.
zucchini chocolate cake.

More chocolate cake recipes to try

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you taste the zucchini in a chocolate zucchini cake?

No, you won’t be able to taste any zucchini in this cake as it is a neutral flavored vegetable and the other ingredients help mask any notes of it.

Is this cake vegan?

This cake has no eggs or dairy in it, so is suitable for those following a vegan diet.

Do I need to peel the zucchini before shredding it?

There is no need to peel the zucchini before grating or shredding it.

How do I prepare the zucchini for a chocolate zucchini cake?

Trim the zucchini then use a box grater or food processor to shred it. Once shredded, squeeze out excess moisture or place it on a paper towel to soak it up.

chocolate zucchini cake recipe.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

5 from 1352 votes
This moist and fudgy chocolate zucchini cake is an easy yet elegant dessert made in one bowl! Packed with shredded zucchini, no one will know that it's secretly healthy!
Servings: 12 slices
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes



  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease two 8-inch cake pans and set aside.
  • Add the milk and vinegar in a bowl and whisk together. Let it sit to curdle.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the oat flour, cocoa powder, arrowroot powder, baking powder, and baking soda and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk mix, brown sugar, and applesauce. Combine the wet and dry ingredients until combined. Fold through the zucchini.
  • Distribute the batter amongst the two cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer come out clean.
  • Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool completely. Once cool, frost them, layer them then slice and serve.


TO STORE: Store at room temperature, covered, for up to three days. To keep it longer, refrigerate it. 
TO FREEZE: Place the baked, cooled, and frosted cake in an airtight container and store it in the freezer. 


Serving: 1sliceCalories: 169kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 6gFat: 4gSodium: 164mgPotassium: 266mgFiber: 4gVitamin A: 69IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 92mgIron: 2mgNET CARBS: 25g
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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  1. Wow these look so yummy! I can’t wait to try out this recipe!
    Is there any coconut milk you recommend that doesn’t have guar gum? I can’t find one that as thick as Thai kitchen brand.

  2. Eating LOTS of zucchini this week, but I wish I saved my zucchini for this cake! Well, I can always get more and make some 😉

        1. I wonder if I could use whipping cream and the chocolate chips to create the frosting, since I don’t have any coconut cream??

      1. You have vanilla extract as a “must have” for any good cake recipe but don’t actually have it listed with a measurement as an ingredient…Hope it’s still good without it. I do agree that vanilla is a “must”

      2. Wondering if it would work to add more zucchini to the recipe, 1/2 cup is not very much. Appreciate any thoughts.

  3. For the frosting, do you heat both the cream and the chocolate chips or add the melted chocolate chips to the chilled cream?

  4. You just made my day! Definitely trying this as soon as I pick some zucchini out of the garden! Now I wish I’d planted more!

  5. 2 1/4 c oats vs. 1/4 c of coconut flour? I see the cocoa is increased but is this correct? Just checking cuz I really want to try the keto version

  6. Which recipe is the nutrition info for? Can’t imagine the carbs would be that low with oats & sweet potato