Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Espresso Cream Cheese Icing (no processed sugars)

Growing up, chocolate zucchini cake was a very popular cake in our household. I don’t know if it was because we had a ridiculous surplus of baseball bat sized zucchini, or if it was because my mother thought it clever to sneak in vegetables into our desserts. We didn’t eat a lot of desserts growing up, so we always enjoyed this rich, moist cake as a treat. For those of you with a truck load of over sized zucchini,  my mother would grate whatever she couldn’t use up and then freeze some in individual baggies for use over the winter months. It’s especially useful to have a bag of ready-to-go, grated zucchini to make this cake, but also it is great for no yeast quick breads. Zucchini Walnut bread is such a lovely treat in the winter with a hot cup of tea.

First off I have to say that I love my sweets. No really, I love them. I want to make out with cakes and ice cream. My biggest weakness is cookies, so I rarely make them. As my husband and I make the change to only using whole food sweeteners, the challenge then becomes how to change our baking recipes to not include brown sugar or white sugar and in this case, finding an icing that didn’t use icing sugar. I caved on the sugar part and used Raw Cane Sugar or otherwise known as Demerara or Turbinado, since I didn’t feel like messing with the chemistry of the cake. Next time I’ll use palm sugar in the recipe. I’ve noted the change in the recipe for those of you wanting to use palm sugar. I also managed a great tasting cream cheese icing sweetened with honey.

A couple of quick words as to why I love this cake. It moist and almost fudgy. It’s sweet enough to be a dessert, but no where near to0 sweet. It’s more like dark chocolate than milk chocolate, if you get the comparison. And the best part is that there is no zucchini taste at all! The espresso brings out richness and the orange complements the chocolate. Substituting cinnamon for orange zest would also be fabulous.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil (or softened butter)
  • 1 1/4 cup raw cane sugar (1 3/4 cup coconut sugar)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup full fat yogurt
  • 2 cups sprouted whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup raw cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups grated zucchini (peel left on)
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp espresso or really strong coffee

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two 8 inch cake pans ( I used a 9 inch spring form but I wouldn’t do that again, 2 cake pans are better). Next you’ll need 3 bowls.

In the first mixing bowl add the melted coconut oil and sugar, blend until well combined. If using butter, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in 1 egg at a time. Then mix in the yogurt until well blended.

In the second bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, and salt. Stir until evenly combined.

In the third bowl add the grated zucchini. Stir in 1 cup of the flour mixture. Stir the flour mixture into the zucchini until the zucchini is well coated and no white clumps remain.

Add the remaining flour mixture to the egg mixture in 3 equal parts. Making sure the flour is well blended before making the next addition. Add the zucchini mixture and stir until well combined. Add the nuts, zest and espresso and give it a final stir. Pour the mixture into 2 cake pans. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes before removing the cake from the pans. Allow the cake to cool completely before icing.

Espresso Cream Cheese Icing

  • 2 Tbsp espresso
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • 5 Tbsp honey

Mix all 4 ingredients together, mixing with beaters until smooth. Add a extra Tbsp of honey if needed.


I’m sharing this with Veggie Converter.


21 Responses to Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Espresso Cream Cheese Icing (no processed sugars)

  1. Koko September 16, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    Omg Omg…I die. I HAVE TO MAKE THIS. Must buy zucchini and kick my mom outta the kitchen ASAP!!! This looks sooo good! I love that you used honey in the cream cheese icing, and whole wheat flour in the cake.

    • France Morissette September 16, 2011 at 11:37 pm #

      The best part is you can’t even taste that I used whole wheat flour. I don’t know if there’s a taste difference between sprouted WW and regular WW, but I used sprouted, if that helps.

  2. Heather @Gluten-Free Cat September 18, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    This cake looks incredible!!! Zucchini and chocolate go so well together. I’m new to your blog and love your focus. Right up my alley! Thanks for following me on Twitter so that I could meet you!

  3. Kelly September 18, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    What a gorgeous cake France! I luuuv the combination of chocolate and zucchini. It creates such a moist and delicious result and combined with walnut, it couldn’t be tastier. And how about that expresso icing? – yum!! this is a must try for moi :)

  4. Kitchen Butterfly September 18, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    That is one awesome looking cake! I love the addition of vegetables to baked goods!

  5. Jenn September 18, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

    I had some of this last night! It’s even more delicious than it sounds! =D

  6. Jeanette September 19, 2011 at 12:57 am #

    Love how you made this make a healthy chocolate cake, if such a thing exists! I can only imagine how the expresso chocolate and orange flavors meld together. I think chocolate is the perfect foil for zucchini.

  7. Elsa September 19, 2011 at 1:48 am #

    Great recipe! I’ve never used chocolate with zucchini before. I do have zucchini frozen in the freezer so I will have to try this out. I like my chocolate cake to be more like dark than milk chocolate, so I’m sure I would love this.

  8. Joanne September 19, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    I love zucchini in chocolate cake! you really can’t tell it’s there and it’s a great way to eat your vegetables while still eating dessert 😛 I love that espresso cream cheese icing on top!

  9. Linda September 19, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    I love the combination of chocolate and zucchini and especially love this recipe as you’ve used very healthy ingredients! The espresso cream cheese icing sounds to die for! I’d proudly serve this to guests not worrying one bit if zucchini was in it!!

  10. Jean March 9, 2012 at 2:22 am #

    Re: your chocolate pate recipe. You used grams for the choc measure. Could you please put in the oz. measurements instead?? Thanks!

    • France Morissette March 9, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

      Jean, 170 gr is 6 oz and 100 is 3.5 oz. These measurement are often the ones found on a Greens and Blacks or other organic chocolate bar, so no measuring is needed. However if you’re buying it in different quantities, this should help. Here’s a link to a site I use to make those conversions.

  11. Denise July 21, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    I made this for my birthday cake last week and loved it.  Thanks for posting!!!

    • beyondthepeel July 21, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

      Happy Birthday Denise! Glad you loved it. It’s one of my fav’s :)

  12. Teresa June 27, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

    I made this today minus icing into muffins. I left out the yogurt but oh my ! Was these to die for. My husband thought they were the best muffins ever. So tender and light! Thanks

    • beyondthepeel June 29, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

      We love zucchini cake. In the fall when the zucchinis where big like baseball bats, we would grate the zucchini and put them in freezer bags. We ate a very similar cake as our family “go to” cake. I’m glad you liked it.

  13. Death by Cake January 7, 2014 at 3:46 am #

    This was so gross. Never again,


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