Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Cake

You will love this rich and moist chocolate zucchini cake with a luscious ganache topping. This hidden vegetable cake is perfect for a treat that is lower in sugar and has wholesome ingredients. This cake recipe is gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and paleo-friendly. 

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Gluten-Free & Paleo
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Who doesn’t like a piece of chocolate cake on occasion? This particular chocolate zucchini cake is not just delicious but it’s also nutritious with hidden vegetables and antioxidant-rich cocoa. Made with grain-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free ingredients, this loaf cake is beautifully sweet and rich but it won’t leave you with a sugar hangover.

Why You’ll Love This Cake

  • It’s very chocolatey, moist and decadent yet it’s not so bad for you!
  • It’s easy to make and doesn’t use complicated ingredients you can’t find.
  • Contains antioxidants, healthy fats and hidden veggies! 
  • Great for using up leftover or excess zucchini; you can also add grated carrots, sweet potato, and pumpkin.
  • Covered in chocolate ganache for that luxurious finish! 

How To Make Chocolate Zucchini Cake

The key dry ingredients include almond meal, tapioca flour and cocoa powder. It’s mostly an almond meal so the cake is still on the lower-carb side of things. Eggs, coconut oil, applesauce and zucchini will keep it super moist and baking soda and powder will help it rise and fluff up.

For applesauce, please use unsweetened ready-made stuff you can get from the store or make your own with fresh apples, it’s super easy using this recipe. 

How to make chocolate zucchini cake steps
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Baking Options

Once you mix the batter, you can bake this cake in a loaf pan you would normally use for banana bread or in a round cake pan.

You could also turn these into chocolate zucchini muffins or cupcakes; you will need to reduce the baking time to about 20 minutes.

If you have a non-stick pan, simply grease it with some butter or coconut oil but if your pan gets things stuck to it, I would line it with some greased parchment paper first. 

Hidden vegetable cake - chocolate zucchini, gluten-free, paleo
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Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Cake Paleo Gluten-Free
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Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Cake (Paleo, Gluten-Free)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Author: Irena Macri
Servings: 8 servings
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Australian
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4.89 from 9 votes
Calories: 395kcal
Learn how to make moist, delicious and healthy chocolate zucchini cake with smooth and glossy chocolate ganache on top. This hidden vegetable cake is gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and paleo-friendly. You can make it lower in carbs by replacing coconut sugar with a sugar-free alternative.



  • 2 cups almond flour or meal
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour cassava flour can also be used
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda bicarb soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar-free sweetener e.g. monk fruit, stevia/erythritol or see notes
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil melted
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini squeezed between two paper towels to remove excess water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chocolate ganache 

  • 1 cup chocolate chips 70% cocoa
  • ½ cup coconut milk


  • Preheat oven to 180 C / 355 F. 
  • Grease a non-stick loaf pan (22cm x 12cm is what I used) with a little coconut oil and set aside. You can place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom and sides to prevent sticking (this depends on your loaf pan).  
  • In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients: almond flour, tapioca flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 
  • Then add the applesauce, eggs, coconut sugar, coconut oil, zucchini and vanilla. Mix until fully combined.
  • Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Pop in the oven on the middle rack for 40 minutes, or until deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted near the centre of the loaf comes out clean or with a few crumbs.
  • Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then use the parchment paper to remove the loaf from the pan and continue to cool to room temp on a wire rack. If not using parchment paper, insert a knife along the edges to loosen the cake and carefully remove it to a plate. You can do the upside-down flip onto a wire rack or a cutting board.

To make the chocolate ganache

  • Add the milk to a microwave-safe bowl and heat for about 1 minute, keeping an eye on it. Remove from the microwave just before it bubbles up. Pour the warm milk over the chocolate chips and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes. If you don’t have a microwave, slowly heat the milk on the stove. 
  • Gently stir the milk and chocolate together until they come together to a smooth consistency. Then add the chocolate ganache on top of the zucchini cake. 


  • Sweeteners: You can use a variety of sweeteners here: monk fruit sweetener, stevia/erythritol sweetener such as Sukrin or Natvia, coconut sugar or even regular brown sugar. The nutritional label is calculated with a sugar-free sweetener. 
  1. Make-Ahead Instructions: You can prepare the cake in advance. Keep it at room temperature, covered tightly, then finish with the ganache when you want to serve. Glazed and unglazed cake may be frozen up to 2 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature, if desired, before serving.
  2. Baking options: you can use a loaf cake pan or a round pan, the bake time is the same 40-45 minutes. If you want to make these as cupcakes or muffins, reduce bake time to 20 minutes or so.
  3. Tapioca flour subs: For grain-free flours, you could use cassava or arrowroot flour, or half the amount of coconut flour. Alternatively, you can use quinoa flour or regular gluten-free flour.


Calories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 289mg | Potassium: 249mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 103IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 124mg | Iron: 3mg
Keywords: Loaf Cake, Chocolate, Cocoa, Paleo, Dessert, Almond Meal, Dairy-Free, Zucchini, Healthy, Grain-Free, Cake, Gluten-Free
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookedandloved or tag #cookedandloved
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Irena Macri
By Irena Macri

About the author: Hi, I’m Irena Macri. I share delicious recipes that I have cooked and loved. I am a published cookbook author, have been food blogging for over 10 years and have a Diploma in Nutrition. You will find many healthy recipes as well as my favourite comfort food. More about me here | Subscribe to my newsletter and freebies

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    1. I have only tried it with almond meal in it as I wanted to keep the carbs down but you should be able to replace it with gluten-free flour or quinoa flour (if carbs are not an issue).

  1. Hello, Can I substitute arrowroot flour for tapioca?
    Looking forward to make this for my dughter’s birthday, looks delicious!!

    1. For grain-free flours, you could use cassava or arrowroot flour, of half the amount of coconut flour. Alternatively, you can use quinoa flour or regular gluten-free flour.

    1. For grain-free flours, you could use cassava or arrowroot flour, of half the amount of coconut flour. Alternatively, you can use quinoa flour or regular gluten-free flour.

  2. 5 stars
    If I hadn’t made this myself, I would have never known this was a healthier version. All of the flavor with none of the guilt. A+

  3. 5 stars
    Enjoyed this for dessert last night and it does not disappoint! Turned out perfectly light, fluffy and delicious; my whole family loved it!

  4. 5 stars
    Hello Irena,
    I have made this cake, following the recipe using the almond flour and the tapioca flour. It was very, very nice.
    I was wondering if I tried something different, using two cups of Gluten Free Grain Free flour instead of the almond flour, do I still need to add the half cup of tapioca flour?
    Thanking you for your help.

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