The best vegan chocolate zucchini snack cake… extra moist and rich with a gooey dark chocolate ganache. Super decadent, but hey, it’s got a vegetable so healthy right? Easy to make, completely dairy and egg free and so delicious that it’s hard to stop at one slice.
It’s officially zucchini season! In between grilling and making zoodles, I think we can all use something a little sweeter. Enter my all time favorite chocolate snack cake. The zucchini makes it super moist, but don’t worry, you can’t taste it! Plus, with the addition of Dutch process cocoa powder and rich chocolate ganache it’s pretty hard to beat.
What You’ll Need to Make Vegan Chocolate Zuchini Cake
Grated zuchini: this one is kind of important… zucchini keeps the crumb so incredibly moist and gives the cake a delicious texture without a veggie aftertaste. I like to use a box grater to grate my zuchini, but a food processor would work too. Make sure you really pack into the measuring cup, but refrain from draining out any moisture.
Dutch process cocoa powder: my favorite cocoa powder for baking super rice chocolate cakes is Dutch process. It’s slightly more expensive but definitely worth it! You’ll need cocoa powder for both the cake and chocolate ganache.
Apple sauce: dry cake is the enemy here, so the addition of a bit of unsweetened apple sauce will also help the cake reretain moisture while baking. It also acts as a binder in place of eggs.
Oil: choose an oil that’s liquid at room temperature such as olive oil or avocado oil for best results.
Granulated sugar: I like to use granulated sugar as a sweetener, but the cake itself isn’t too sweet so the deep flavor from the cocoa powder really comes through.
All purpose flour: I wouldn’t recommend substituting any other types of flour.
Baking soda + baking powder: both help the cake rise while baking.
Boiling water: this is the key to extra rich and flavorful chocolate cakes. By adding boiling water to the batter, we essentially “bloom” the cocoa powder, creating a deeper chocolate flavor.
Chocolate ganache: the ganache is super simple, just a combination of your favorite nut or seed butter (I use Sunbutter) plus powdered sugar, cocoa powder and a little plant milk for thinning.
(Full ingredient list and instructions listed in the recipe card at the end of the page)
How to Make Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Snack Cake
- Prepare the baking dish: I like to use an 8×8 square baking dish. Heavily grease the bottom with vegan butter and set aside.
- Mix the dry ingredients: Start by whisking together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Mix the wet ingredients: in another large mixing bowl, add your cocoa powder, sugar, oil and apple sauce. Beat with a whisk until well combined. To the wet ingredients, pour in your boiling water. The mixture will seem quite thin, but it will thicken when you add the dry ingredients.
- Combine wet and dry: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients along with the grated zucchini. Fold until just combined. Careful not to over-mix, or the cake will not rise properly.
- Bake: Pour your batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake on the center rack of the oven for about 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. You do not want to over bake this cake or it might become dry, so keep an eye on it! Once the cake comes out of the oven, let it cool in the pan for about 30 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
- Make the frosting: The frosting is super easy, I like to just use a good old fashioned bowl and whisk, but a stand or hand mixer would work well too. First, place your nut/seed butter of choice in a large bowl and microwave for about 20 seconds or so until its thin and easy to stir. Add in the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and 2 tbsp of plant milk and whisk well to combine. If it seems super thick, add in more milk until the desired consistency is reached. Remember, it will continue to thicken in the fridge. Refrigerate your frosting until ready to use, before spreading over the cooled cake. Slice and serve!
Tips for Making Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Snack Cake
- Make sure the ganache has been refrigerated for at least half an hour before spreading over the cake. If its still warm, it might spread over the sides of the cake and make a mess. If even after refrigeration, the ganache is still too thin, add up to another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar until thickened.
- This cake will last up to 4 days at room temperature (covered) and up to 1 week when stored in an airtight container in the fridge. The cake without the frosting can be wrapped in parchment and sealed in a plastic bag to be frozen for up to 2 months
- I have only tested this recipe using Sunbutter, which is made from sunflower seeds. It will work with other types of nut or seed butter with varying tastes and consistencies. You may need to add more or less plant milk to reach a thick, spreadable texture.
More Vegan Dessert Recipes to Try:
- Oatmeal banana snack cake
- Chocolate tahini oat cups
- Maple brown sugar coffee cake
- Chocolate raspberry whoopie pies