Not too sweet, yet deeply chocolatey, this chocolate zucchini cake is moist, light and decadent. And, what a great way to get your greens! I added three cups of grated zucchini in this cake.
But seriously, zucchini in chocolate cake? Absolutely! Zucchini is what makes this cake moist and rich. This fall, if you have lots of fresh garden zucchinis lying around, think about adding some to a chocolate cake recipe. It gives better results than butter and it’s healthier too! For a moist, rich and fluffy batter, always add the grated zucchini last. And don’t peel the zucchini, because most of the fibre and antioxidants are in the peel.
I experimented a lot with this cake, making it different ways, both with eggs and dairy, as well as vegan. Each version is delicious and the recipes are below.
Notwithstanding the amount of chocolate in this recipe, the cake is not overly sweet. That’s because the zucchini softens the taste of the chocolate and there’s only ½ cup of granulated sugar cane in the entire cake.
For natural sweetness, I also added six fresh medjool dates. Dates are an ideal replacement for white sugar. When softened and blended in with the chocolate, you can’t even taste the dates in this cake. For the full health benefits of chocolate, make sure to use good quality chocolate, such as 100% cacao powder and dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao.
Chocolate Zucchini Cake (non-vegan & vegan)
One 9 inch (23 cm) square springform pan.
- 1½ cups light spelt flour (farine d’épautre claire)
- 1 cup rolled oats (no salt, no sugar added)
- 3/4 cup powdered 100% cacao
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 200 grams 70% cacao dark chocolate, hand broken into pieces.
- 6 fresh medjool dates, pitted
- ½ cup grape seed oil (or good quality vegetable oil)
- 1 cup natural yoghurt, at room temperature + 1 teaspoon baking soda (the dairy yoghurt will bubble up, so mix this in a bowl that holds 2 cups of fluid)
- 3 free-range eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup finely granulated sugar cane
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups grated zucchini with peel on (I use a handheld grater or a box grater)
Options: can serve with whipped cream (dairy or coconut), vanilla ice cream, crème fraîche or berry/cherry compote.
For vegan: Increase the baking powder to 2 tablespoons. Substitute the natural yoghurt with natural soya yoghurt and substitute the eggs with 3/4 cups pure apple sauce (no sugar added).
Oven: 180°C / 350°F (standard oven)
Lightly grease and flour the sides of the pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Put all of the dry ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and process until the oats are powdery. Set aside.
In a small bowl, soak the pitted dates in hot water to soften, about 5 minutes.
In another bowl, pour the yoghurt and add the teaspoon of baking soda and set aside.
Put the pieces of chocolate in a small bowl and microwave on high heat for 30-40 seconds or until some of the chocolate melts. Take out and mix the chocolate with a fork so that the remaining pieces melt. (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in a double boiler, though this takes more time).
With spatula, transfer the melted chocolate into a large mixing bowl. Remove the dates from the water (discard water) and roughly tear them up with your fingers adding them to the melted chocolate. Add the grape seed oil and yoghurt (with the baking soda) and mix with an electric handheld blender until creamy.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs by hand with a fork and add this (or the apple sauce for vegan) to the chocolate mixture.
Add the granulated sugar cane and vanilla and hand mix with a fork or a whisk until all is well blended.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix by hand with a fork or a whisk (I like to use a fork).
Add the grated zucchini last and mix again by hand until all of the ingredients are blended and the mixture is creamy.
Transfer the batter into the prepared pan, spread evenly and bake in preheated oven on middle rack for 35 to 40 minutes. The cake is done when the top is cracked and firm and toothpick test shows traces of moist chocolate. Allow to cool completely before serving. Store leftovers in a covered container in or out of the fridge. Tastes even better the next day.