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Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake

  • Author: Emily Dixon, Sweets & Thank You
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 20 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


This easy Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake recipe is so plush and delicious no one will guess it’s gluten-free. (You’ll LOVE the chocolate frosting!)



For The Chocolate Zucchini Cake:

  • 1 cup oil (vegetable oil, avocado oil, or canola oil)
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 (150 grams) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini*
  • 1 3/4 cup (210 grams) gluten-free measure-for-measure flour
  • 3/4 cup (62 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural NOT Dutch-processed/dark)**
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (6 oz.) semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

For The Chocolate Frosting:

  • 1 1/4 cups (2.5 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 cups (420 grams) powdered sugar (plus more, if needed)
  • 3/4 cup (65 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder**
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream (plus more, if needed)
  • Optional: 1-2 Tablespoons corn syrup (for a glossy finish)


First, Make The Cake:

  1. Preheat The Oven & Prep The Pan. Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch metal baking pan and set aside. 
  2. Combine Wet Ingredients. In a large bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, and oil. Add sour cream, vanilla, and eggs. Whisk or stir until smooth and well blended. 
  3. Mix In Zucchini. Make sure you’ve squeezed the extra liquid out of the zucchini, then add it to the bowl. Stir to combine. 
  4. Add Dry Ingredients. Then, add gluten-free flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Stir until almost fully combined, with just a few dry patches left. 
  5. Mix In Chocolate Chips and stir until just combined. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and gently smooth out the surface. 
  6. Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs (no wet batter).
  7. Cool. Remove the cake from the oven and let the cake cool completely before you frost it. (If the cake is even a little bit warm, it will melt the frosting. I promise it’s worth the wait!)

Then, Mix Up The Frosting:

  1. Beat The Butter. Add the softened butter to a large bowl. Beat with a hand mixer on low speed for about 2 minutes, until it’s light and fluffy. 
  2. Mix. Then, add powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla extract. Add the cream, then mix for 30 seconds on low speed, then about 1 minute on medium speed, or until well combined. 
  3. Adjust. At this point, you’ll want to adjust for texture. If the frosting is too dry or thick, add a little bit of additional cream at a time until it thins out. If the frosting is too thin or too wet, you can add more powdered sugar or cocoa powder a teaspoon at a time, until you reach the right consistency. The frosting should be easy to spread but should still hold its shape. (If you want the frosting to look extra glossy, you can add 1-2 Tablespoons of corn syrup at this point.)
  4. Decorate. Then, spread or pipe the frosting onto the cake as desired. 
  5. Serve & Store. Enjoy the cake right away, or cover the cake and store in the refrigerator 3-4 days. 


*Zucchini: make sure you squeeze the excess liquid out of your grated zucchini. Put the grated zucchini in paper towels (or a clean kitchen towel) and squeeze to remove extra liquid. 

**Cocoa. Because of the ratio of baking soda & baking powder, you MUST use regular (natural) cocoa powder NOT Dutch-process/dark cocoa in the cake for it to work. For the frosting, you can use either natural unsweetened cocoa or Dutch processed cocoa. I prefer the taste of natural cocoa powder, so that’s what I used. 

Can I Make This As A Layer Cake? Yes! You can bake it in two 9-inch round pans. You’ll want to adjust the baking time to about 25-30 minutes or so. 

  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: gluten free chocolate zucchini cake, gluten free zucchini cake recipe

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