Chocolate Zucchini Cake

This chocolate zucchini cake recipe is the ULTIMATE summertime treat! It's moist, fudgy, and decadent, with a rich dark chocolate flavor.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

When your garden (or your fridge) is overflowing with zucchini, there’s no better way to use it than by making this chocolate zucchini cake. It’s a recipe I make every summer, when I’ve already had zucchini noodles, zucchini chips, and zucchini salad, and something really decadent sounds like it would hit the spot.

This chocolate zucchini cake is moist and delicious, with a rich chocolate flavor that I can’t get enough of. It’s wonderful on its own, but I like it best with a thick layer of frosting on top. If you want to lean into the green theme, you can frost it with a luscious matcha frosting like I did, but if not, you’ll find a few other frosting options in the post below.

Spreading frosting on chocolate zucchini cake

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Recipe Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this chocolate zucchini cake recipe:

  • Shredded zucchini, of course! It gives the cake an amazing moist texture.
  • Ground flaxseed – A perfect egg substitute. It acts as a binder (and adds healthy fats, too!).
  • Apple cider vinegar + almond milk – Together, they create a vegan substitute for buttermilk. They add moisture and a subtle tangy flavor to the cake.
  • All-purpose flour – For the best results, spoon and level your flour instead of scooping it straight from the canister or bag. Otherwise, you might accidentally add too much flour to the batter!
  • Cocoa powder – It gives the cake a rich chocolate flavor.
  • Baking powder and baking soda – To help the cake rise.
  • Coconut oil – For richness.
  • Maple syrup – It sweetens the cake naturally.
  • Vanilla extract – To enhance the delicious chocolate flavor.
  • And sea salt – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Slice of chocolate zucchini cake on a plate with fork

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Frosting and Variations

I love this chocolate zucchini cake with frosting, but if you’re not a frosting person, feel free to skip it! Instead, fold 1/2 cup chocolate chips into the batter so that the cake is extra rich and fudgy.

Otherwise, you have three options for frosting the cake:

  • Make matcha frosting! Matcha green tea turns this cashew-based frosting a striking green. Sweeten it naturally with maple syrup, or use powdered sugar for a lighter color.
  • Make vanilla frosting. Who doesn’t love vanilla frosting on chocolate cake? Find my go-to vegan frosting recipe here.
  • Make chocolate frosting. A chocolate lover’s dream. Make the secret ingredient frosting from this chocolate cake recipe.

Tip: after you take the cake out of the oven, allow it to cool to room temperature before you frost it. Otherwise, the frosting will melt!

Sliced Chocolate Zucchini Cake on a cooling rack

More Favorite Cakes and Quick Breads

If you love this cake, try one of these yummy baking recipes next:


4.9 from 7 reviews

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This chocolate zucchini cake is moist, fudgy, and delicious! If you skip the frosting, add ½ cup chocolate chips to the batter for extra richness.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup almond milk, at room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (or half white/half wheat)
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ⅔ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cups finely shredded unpeeled zucchini
Matcha Cashew Frosting
  • 1¼ cups raw cashews
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons solid coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon matcha tea powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with coconut oil.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the ground flaxseed and water and set aside to thicken. Stir the vinegar into the almond milk and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flaxseed mixture, almond milk/vinegar mixture, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Don’t over mix. Fold in the zucchini.
  5. Pour the batter into the baking dish and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back to the touch. Cool completely before frosting.
  6. Make the frosting: In a blender, combine the cashews, almond milk, powdered sugar, coconut oil, vanilla, matcha, and sea salt and process until smooth and creamy. Add more matcha, if desired. Chill until ready to use, or for at least 20 minutes to firm up.
Notes
Note: I used powdered sugar in the frosting because maple syrup made the frosting darker green than I liked. The powdered sugar also thickened it best.

another note: matcha varies in color, some are very bright green, some are more dull, so the color of your frosting may vary based on the matcha that you use. I used Aiya Matcha here.

 

23 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Amanda
    07.15.2021

    Hello!
    What can be subbed for the cocoa flour to make this a non-chocolate cake?
    Thanks!

  2. Cynthia
    10.26.2020

    Made this for my daughters birthday. No one else is a vegan, yet we all thought it was absolutely delicious!! I added a lot more a milk (I used oat milk) to the icing as well as coconut flakes. I made it in a bundt pan (should have doubled the recipe as it only filled half the pan after baking). Sprinkled the iced cake with dark chocolate shavings and chopped pistachios. SOOO good!! Thanks for the perfect vegan zucchini cake!!

  3. Corie
    07.18.2020

    Do you think oat milk would work as a substitute for the almond milk? It’s the only different ingredient I have from the rest of the list 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.18.2020

      yep! I think it’ll be just fine.

  4. Erin
    08.15.2019

    I’ve made this cake twice now and it is absolutely delicious (as are all recipes from this blog/cookbooks). It is very moist and has a complex flavor. I love it.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.18.2019

      Hi Erin, I’m so glad you loved the cake!

  5. Daphne
    07.25.2018

    You don’t have to soak the cashews for the frosting? Looks amazing!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.25.2018

      Hi Daphne,

      I don’t soak them, but you could depending on the type of blender that you’re using. They come out creamy in my Vitamix. If your blender doesn’t get cashews quite as creamy you could soak them for at least 2 hours, drain and rinse before using. Hope that helps!

  6. Leticia
    07.06.2018

    I just made this with just one variation, I used 1 cup oat flour and 1 cup brown rice flour instead of the all purpose flour. It’s just out the oven and looks and smells great! Thanks for an egg free chocolate cake recipe thats now gluten free too!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.08.2018

      Hi Leticia, I’m so glad that combo turned out! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Brinton
    03.19.2018

    What an interesting idea for a cake. It looks really delicious.

  8. I have shredded zucchini in the freezer. Will that work if I thaw it?

  9. What a stunning cake. I love the chocolate zucchini muffins from your book so I know this cake would be just as good. And good idea to add chocolate chips — I’d add them even with the frosting! 😉

  10. Natalie
    03.15.2018

    What a beautiful cake! I love the matcha frosting – looks incredible and so tasty!

  11. Rhonda @ Change In Seconds
    03.14.2018

    Wow! I will try the recipe this week 🙂

  12. Gaby Dalkin
    03.14.2018

    That matcha frosting though…there’s no better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

  13. chrissie
    03.14.2018

    This looks absolutely delicious and I can’t wait to make this . On a side note, I absolutely love your cookbook. At the present time, I have purchased about 5 copies, and YES, my friends love your book as well. I look forward to your next publication….. no pressure

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.14.2018

      oh thank you, thank you, thank you!! 💛💛

  14. Annette
    03.14.2018

    This looks amazing! May go the cupcake route so I can give some away and not eat them all myself! I definitely am in the camp of cake cravings for breakfast!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.14.2018

      glad I’m not the only one 🙂

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.