This Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cake is not only vegan, but it’s filled with zucchini and topped with a light and fluffy dairy free buttercream icing.
Every time I make a cake I declare that is my new favorite cake, and this chocolate zucchini cake is no exception. Also—and this is very sad—but I’m counting this as my St. Patty’s Day recipe. …..because of the zucchini. IT’S GREEN, so it counts.
Here’s the truth: I actually make cookies with green icing, but I used natural food dye and it wasn’t good, so I opted to not post those cookies and to post this cake instead. What’s natural food dye, you ask? It’s food dye—or food coloring—made out of vegetables! SO FUN, right? Wrong. I won’t get too into it since that’s not the recipe you’re currently staring at, but basically the food dye tasted ok, but the texture was water-y, even when I added extra powered sugar.
Anyway, this cake is pure perfection and way better than vegetable-icing cookies. Trust me. HOWEVER, there is zucchini in this cake, because I was really, really going for that not-so-obvious St. Patty’s recipe. Also because zucchini bread is such a thing, but zucchini cake is not. WHY?
When I originally set out to make this cake, I wanted it to be a one layer cake, plain and simple. Well, the cake didn’t rise as much as I’d hoped, so I oped for a 3 layer cake instead. But, the layers are thin, and I didn’t cover the whole cake in icing which, as it turns out, is WAY easier and less time consuming, so it’s still a fairly “light” cake if you will. I have to say “light” because there’s a good amount of buttercream, so I’m not sure a how light it can truly be.
I topped this cake with chocolate candies, which aren’t vegan, but you can easily sub them for chopped dairy free chocolate instead! If you’re looking for an easy way to sneak veggies into your dessert, this vegan chocolate zucchini cake is IT!
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2¼ cup cane sugar
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- 3 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 2¼ cup almond milk
- ¾ cup applesauce
- 2½ tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2½ cups zucchini, shredded
- For the buttercream:
- 1 cup dairy free butter
- 3 tbsp almond milk
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; then, add milk, applesauce, vinegar, and vanilla to that same bowl and stir with an electric mixer until combined.
- Last, stir in the zucchini by hand.
- Grease three 8" cake pans with coconut oil and divide the batter evenly amongst the pans. Bake the cakes for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cakes to sit in the pans for 10 minutes, and then run a knife along the edges of the cake and carefully invert them onto a cooling rack. Wait until cakes have completely cooled before icing them.
- For the buttercream: cream butter and milk together, then add cocoa and powdered sugar. You want the icing to be thick but still spreadable. If it seems too thick, add 1 tbsp milk. If it seems too thin, add ¼ cup powdered sugar.
- To assemble: use a serrated knife to remove domes off of the cakes, then scoop a large dollop of icing onto the first cake and spread it; then place the second cake on top of that cake and repeat that same step. Top the final layer with chocolate chips or chopped chocolate, if you want.