Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Our Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cake recipe is a game-changer, delivering moist, chocolatey goodness in every bite. It’s a guilt-free treat to satisfy your sweet tooth and sneak in some veggies, too! Be sure to add some whipped vegan chocolate ganache frosting on top.

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

It might sound unconventional, but trust me, the addition of zucchini to this cake is pure genius. It adds moisture and texture without compromising on flavor. Plus, it’s a guilt-free indulgence you can enjoy anytime!

Ingredients & Substitutions

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.

  • Zucchini: Look for firm, medium-sized zucchini. Substitute with grated carrots for a similar texture.
  • All-Purpose Flour: Opt for unbleached all-purpose flour for the best results. Want your cake gluten-free? Substitute a baking-quality gluten-free flour.
  • Granulated Sugar: Choose organic granulated sugar for a more natural option. Use coconut sugar as a substitute.
  • Yogurt: Use plain, unsweetened vegan yogurt. You can substitute dairy-free sour cream.
  • Vegetable Oil: Use a neutral-flavored oil like canola or sunflower oil. Use applesauce as a healthier alternative.
  • Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips: Look for vegan chocolate chips that are free from dairy products and suitable for baking.

Buying Guide: When purchasing zucchini, look for ones that are firm and free from blemishes. Organic options are available at most grocery stores, typically located in the produce section.

What Makes This Recipe Shine?

  • 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.

How to Make Chocolate Zucchini Cake

The full recipe card below describes the actual process of making this cake. But I wanted to prepare you for the delightful baking adventure you can expect when making our Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cake recipe!

  • Making the batter: As you combine the ingredients, expect a thick batter, punctuated by chocolate chips and shredded zucchini.
  • Preparing to bake: Use a spatula to evenly spread the batter in the baking pan, ensuring a consistent texture throughout.
  • Baking the cake: Anticipate the delightful aroma of chocolate wafting through your kitchen as the cake bakes to perfection.
  • Serving and enjoying: Once cooled, topping it with whipped ganache frosting is a simple yet satisfying finishing touch. Get ready to indulge in a moist and chocolatey dessert that’s both easy to make and utterly delicious!

Reader Reviews

I knew this was going to be good as soon as I started mixing the sauce! Really yummy


Frosting Options

When it comes to topping off this scrumptious cake, a sprinkling of powdered sugar works just fine.

However, topping it with a luscious, creamy frosting adds an extra layer of moisture and flavor that takes this cake to the next level. Here are some favorite options:

  1. Vegan Chocolate Frosting: Rich, creamy, and decadently chocolatey, this frosting perfectly complements the flavors of the cake.
  2. Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting: Tangy and smooth, this frosting adds a delightful contrast to the sweetness of the cake.
  3. Whipped Chocolate Ganache: Dive into the light, fluffy, and irresistibly indulgent ganache frosting, a dreamy addition to your chocolate zucchini cake.
  4. Chocolate Avocado Frosting: Opt for a healthier twist with this rich frosting made with avocados!

For my cake, I opted for a whipped vegan ganache frosting. It’s easy to make and adds loads of flavor to every bite.

Frequently-Asked Questions

Do you peel zucchini for cake?

There’s no need to peel zucchini for cake. Simply wash, grate, and incorporate it into your batter for added moisture and texture.

Why do we put zucchini in cake?

We add zucchini to cakes and baked goods for its unique ability to enhance texture while contributing moisture and subtle flavor notes. It’s also helpful for adding nutritional value to the recipe.

Storage Tips

Store the cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. For longer storage, wrap individual slices in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.

Vegan Chocolate Cakes

If you love this chocolate zucchini cake recipe, you should know you have lots of delicious options! Here are some of our favorite chocolate cakes:

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

Indulge in this decadent Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cake, boasting a moist crumb and rich chocolate flavor. It's the perfect guilt-free treat for any occasion.
5 from 2 votes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 15 servings
Calories: 450kcal


For the Chocolate Zucchini Cake

  • 2 ½ 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

  • 8 oz bar semi-sweet chocolate (substitute 1 ¼ cups chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup coconut milk


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C 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.
    A glass bowl contains shredded zucchini along with a metal shredder.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, starch, cocoa, baking powder, soda, coffee, and salt. Stir together.
    Looking down on a mixing bowl with flour, cocoa powder, and more.
  • 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.
    A bowl of chocolate cake batter also has chocolate chips in it.
  • 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.
    A step-by-step process shot capturing the pouring of chocolate cake batter into a square cake pan lined with parchment paper. The image illustrates the initial stage of creating the delectable whole wheat healthy chocolate cake, with the glossy batter smoothly filling the pan.

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.
    A cake is being topped 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)

Calories: 450kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 172mg | Potassium: 365mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 50IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 3mg

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.

22 Responses to Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cake

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlySim Reply

    5 stars
    I absolutely LOVE this recipe. I keep coming back to it! I only use 1 cup of sugar and half cup chocolate chips and it is still fantastic! It is so moist and good.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

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