Healthier Chocolate Zucchini Cake

We LOVE Chocolate Zucchini Cake.  Even my husband who believes chocolate is so-so (can you believe that????) loves the cake.  It's fudgy, moist, and delicious.  You cannot taste the zucchini at all, instead, it just makes it even more moist.  I even freeze grated zucchini to use throughout the winter in cakes, quick breads and muffins, because of this.

Here is the link to our original version if you're so inclined.  The problem, is that it uses a lot of refined sugar, butter, and oil.  I had hoped to make a slightly healthier version.....

I was able to drastically cut down the oil, eliminate the butter, and swap out the refined sugar for much less honey.  I replaced the all-purpose flour with equal amounts of spelt and whole wheat, but you can certainly use all-purpose if that's what you have on hand.  I have not yet tried a gluten-free version so I cannot tell you which gluten-free flours may or may not work.  I cut the recipe in half because it's just the two of us and it was impossible to get through an entire 9 x 13 cake before it went bad.

An 8 x 8 cake turned out to be the perfect size.

If you prefer the larger size, no problem - just double the recipe!  To cut down any additional oil, I use parchment paper to line the baking dish as opposed to spraying it with oil.  If you don't have parchment you can certainly use oil for the baking pan.

There are a couple of options to kick the chocolatey goodness up even more if you desire.  You can either add chocolate chips or chunks to the cake or, as soon as you remove the cake from the oven, you can sprinkle chocolate chips or chunks on the top and allow them to melt.  This makes a delicious frosting.

Healthier Chocolate Zucchini Cake
makes 1 - 8x8 cake

1 cup flour (I used a mix of whole wheat and spelt, but you can use all-purpose flour if you prefer)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup runny honey
2 Tablespoons applesauce (or sub with additional 2 Tablespoons oil)
1/4 cup oil
1 egg
3 Tablespoons yogurt (I used non-dairy, use whatever you have or sour cream if you don't have yogurt)
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini, excess moisture drained off
1/3 cups chocolate chips or chunks, optional

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Prepare an 8 x 8 baking pan by either lining it with parchment paper or lightly oiling it.

In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the honey, applesauce, oil, egg, and yogurt.  Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mix the dry ingredients into the wet, just until combined.  Add the zucchini and chocolate chips, if using, and mix just until combined.  Smooth out the top of the cake.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake no longer jiggles when lightly shaken.

If you are adding chocolate chips to the top of the cake, sprinkle the cake with them as soon as it's removed from the oven.  Let sit 3-5 minutes and then, with a rubber spatula, spread the melted chocolate evenly over the cake.

Allow cake to cool on a wire rack.  Store at room temp (if there's any left) in a covered container.


  1. Looks great, anything chocolate is good in my opinion. Have a good week.

  2. Chocolate is so-so? Must be a man thing.

    This looks amazing. I will have to tweak it because I have a gut feeling that I have developed celiac. Ugh.

    Thanks for sharing the yumminess!

  3. I'm definitely going to try this! I too am supposed to be sugar-free, though I occasionally cheat with sucanat. It's been tough to find good desserts with honey, so thanks for this. And so glad you redid the recipe for an 8 x 8 pan, which will be plenty, I'm sure.

  4. Thank you Staci for sharing this recipe.
    I’ve made this cake twice and it is so moist and yummy. Some low sugar cakes are a waste of ingredients however your recipe is delicious 👏


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