Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cake

This vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cake is a deliciously moist cake with fabulous flavor. If you love easy, tender cake recipes, this will be your favorite. Be sure to add this whipped vegan chocolate ganache frosting!

Three slices of vegan chocolate zucchini cake are on plates. They all are topped with chocolate frosting.

I love a delicious, eggless chocolate zucchini cake. I knew I wanted to make this as a go-to dessert recipe, so I wanted to keep it easy and delicious. Recipes for chocolate zucchini cake should also be moist, and in my opinion, include chocolate frosting.

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • Zucchinis are shredded and treated with salt, coaxing them to drain off excess water
  • Adding vegan sour cream keeps this cake extra moist and tender
  • Instant coffee is a secret ingredient for enhancing the chocolate flavor in this cake.

Ingredient Spotlight

Three zucchinis sit side-by-side on a white table.

What Zucchinis are Best

Select zucchinis that have smooth skin that’s thin. To tell if the skin is thin enough, scrape a little bit with your fingernail. It should come off easily. Zucchinis with pitted skin are older and not as fresh. Select smaller zucchini, around 6 inches in size. Large zucchini may look nice, but they can be bitter and watery.

What You Need

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Flour — Use all-purpose flour or make this cake healthier by using whole wheat pastry flour (different than whole wheat flour).
  • Cornstarch — We’ll add a bit of cornstarch to keep the crumb light.
  • Cocoa powder — I used unsweetened natural cocoa powder.
  • Baking powder + baking soda — These two together are powerful at creating light, and lofty cakes.
  • Salt — A little bit of salt adds depth of flavor.
  • Coffee — We’ll ad a bit of instant coffee to enhance the chocolate flavor. You can substitute coffee extract, or simply leave it out.
  • Vegetable oil — I used canola oil but you can substitute olive oil.
  • Sugar — I used granulated sugar.
  • Yogurt — I used Forager’s plain coconut yogurt, but any plain dairy-free yogurt would work here.
  • Vinegar — My go-to favorite is apple cider vinegar because of its mild flavor, but white vinegar or even lemon juice works too.
  • Vanilla extract — This is an optional ingredient, but one that adds subtle vanilla flavor.
  • Zucchini — You’ll need 2 zucchinis for this recipe.
  • Chocolate Chips — There are so many dairy-free chocolate chips to choose from these days!
  • Frosting — See below for different frosting options.

How to Make Chocolate Zucchini Cake

  1. Prepare the Zucchini: Cut off the root ends of the zucchini and use a shredder to shred it. Place shredded zucchini on a kitchen towel and sprinkle it with a pinch of salt. Let it sit for 15 minute, allowing the salt to drain its liquids.
    A glass bowl contains shredded zucchini along with a metal shredder.
  2. Stir together the dry ingredients in a large bowl, from the four to the salt.
    Looking down on a mixing bowl with flour, cocoa powder, and more.
  3. Stir together the wet ingredients, from the oil to the vanilla.
  4. Gently press the zucchini to remove excess lquids and use a paper towel to dry it off. 
  5. Make the batter by pouring the yogurt mixture in with the flour mixture and stirring to combine it. Gently stir in the zucchini until just combined. Then stir in the chocolate chips.
    A bowl of chocolate cake batter also has chocolate chips in it.
  6. Spread the batter evenly across the prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely before frosting.

Vegan Frosting Options

You’ll definitely want to include frosting on this cake, although it’s always an option to sprinkle it with powdered sugar. It’s just that the frosting adds a nice layer of moisture and flavor. Here are some favorite options:

This is the best chocolate zucchini cake recipe ever and you can make it and share it with friends and family any day of the week.

I went with a whipped vegan ganache frosting. It’s easy to make and adds lots of flavor.

Do you peel zucchini for cake?

There’s no need to peel zucchini for cake. Simply wash it and grate it and you’re ready to go!

Why do we put zucchini in cake?

Zucchini adds lovely texture to cakes and other baked goods. In addition to the texture, it also adds nutrition and hints of flavor.

Storage Tips

Store cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. It can be frozen for up to 2 months.

More Vegan Chocolate Recipes

If you love dairy-free chocolate recipes, you should know you have lots of delicious options! Here are some of our favorite chocolate desserts:

A 9x13 glass cake pan is full of chocolate frosted cake.

That’s it for the vegan chocolate zucchini cake. Enjoy!

A piece of chocolate zucchini cake sits on a plate. It has frosting on top.

Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cake

This vegan chocolate zucchini cake is so moist and tender. It's perfect for a weeknight dessert or even a special event dessert.
5 from 1 vote
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Resting Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 20
Calories: 270kcal
Author: Namely Marly

Ingredients

For the Chocolate Zucchini Cake

  • cups coarsely shredded zucchini
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon instant coffee
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup coconut yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips

Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting

  • 2 4-ounce bars semi-sweet chocolate (substitute 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare a 9×13 baking pan by coating it with cooking spray.

For the Zucchini Cake

  • Cut off the root ends of the zucchini and use a shredder to shred. Place it on a kitchen towel and sprinkle it with a pinch of salt. Let the shredded zucchini sit for 15 minutes. The salt will cause it to drain its liquids.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, starch, cocoa, baking powder, soda, coffee, and salt. Stir together.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together the oil, yogurt, vinegar, and vanilla.
  • Press the zucchini to remove excess lquids and use a paper towel to dry it off.
  • Pour the yogurt mixture in with the flour mixture and stir to combine. Add the chocolate chips and zucchini and stir until just combined.
  • Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly across the prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Insert a tester in the middle of the cake. When it comes out clean, the cake is done. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely before frosting.

For the Whipped Ganache Frosting

  • If using a chocolate bar, chop it into chunks and place them in a bowl. Pour the milk into a pyrex measuring cup and microwave until hot (but not boiling), about 1 minute. Pour the hot milk over the chocolate and stir it gently to make sure the chocolate is coated. Place a plate and set it aside for up to 5 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt.
  • Once the chocolate melts, stir it all together. Transfer the bowl to the fridge for 30 minutes or so until the chocolate is firm but still malleable. Scoop it into a mixing bowl and mix on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • When the cake has cooled, spread with whipped ganache frosting.
  • To store cake, cover and keep refrigerated. It will keep up to 5 days in the fridge.

(The products above contain sponsored links to products we use and recommend)

Nutrition Facts
Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 270 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Fat 17g26%
Saturated Fat 14g70%
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 128mg5%
Potassium 210mg6%
Carbohydrates 29g10%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 17g19%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 32IU1%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 65mg7%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

This post was originally published in 2012 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.

21 Responses to Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cake

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyCassie | Bake Your Day Reply

    I can see why this is a highly requested cake – it does look incredibly moist. And your list of rules – love them. Can I come and live with you?

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Come on over, Cassie! We’ll make room!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyEmily Segal Reply

    Where you wrote “stir in the chocolate chips”, did you really mean to write “zucchini”? This looks yummy. I am making it tomorrow!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Emily – thanks for catching that. I corrected the recipe. You can make this without chocolate chips, but it’s oh so much better with them!

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyJulieD Reply

    This looks amazing and so moist, Marly!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Thanks Julie! It’s a fun and easy recipe!

  4. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyTara @ Unsophisticook Reply

    Great use for zucchini, yum!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Ah, thanks Tara! I think I have to agree with you!

  5. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlySommer@ASpicyPerspective Reply

    Great rules Marly! ….and gorgeous cake. 🙂

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Ahh, thanks Sommer!

  6. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyEmily Segal Reply

    OK, I just made this and it really is one of the best vegan chocolate cakes I have ever had. The chickpeas and the zucchini are undetectable but lend so much rich, moist and somehow light texture. This will go in the regular rotation. Thanks Marly!

    Emily in Israel

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Emily – so glad you liked it! I agree that it’s surprising to find that the heaviness of chickpeas can somehow give way to such a light and moist cake. Sigh. All this talk of cake is making me hungry!

  7. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyPaula - bell'alimento Reply

    Oh my goodness this looks fantastic Marly!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Thanks Miss Paula!

  8. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlySherri Reply

    This looks delicious. But what is potato starch?

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Sherri! Potato Starch is sold in most health food stores, but I buy it in the health food section of our grocery store. If you can’t find it, good ol’ corn starch will work just fine. Enjoy!

  9. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyAggie Reply

    I’m so with you on the bananas and flannel pjs after 7! It’s a must 🙂

    This cake looks so moist and delicious!

  10. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyShari-Tickled Red Reply

    This would last a millisecond in my house. Oh my goodness!!

  11. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyCaroline Reply

    Way too many giant zucchinis in the garden and a hungry vegan boy home from summer camp…searched for recipes and found this one. It was excellent. I never bake exactly as directed so….swapped out one cup of white flour for whole wheat pastry flour, reduced sugar by half a cup, and reduced the smart balance to 1/3 cup and also added 1/3 cup coconut oil. Hmmm, only had coconut milk so used that instead of soy and was out of vanilla so used cold brewed coffee concentrate. I am pretty sure I used more than one cup of choc chips too. 🙂 So although that sounds like a lot of changes it was simple and I like to use what I have instead of always running out to the store. So thank you for the recipe. I am going to make more of your chick pea recipes but need to keep up with the zucchini at the moment. Yum and healthy. By the way didn’t make the frosting just sprinkled on powdered sugar!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      You and I are made from the same thread I think. I LOVE changing recipes around. So glad you liked changing this one! My neighbor always gives me some zucchini just about this time of year (don’t you love neighbors like that?), so I’m going to have to try your version.

  12. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyYang Reply

    This looks really delicious! I will be making this tonight for sure! I know I have all the ingredients in my pantry! Thank you for sharing this!

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