This Zucchini Cake is easy to make and perfect for using up all that garden zucchini. Made with wholesome gluten-free and paleo pantry-friendly ingredients it’s a healthy and delicious snack to satisfy that sweet tooth craving!
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Updated July 2020
Healthy Zucchini Cake Recipe
What do you do when you have a ton of zucchini to use up? It’s a dilemma many of us have come July and August when zucchini season arrives.
This healthy Zucchini Cake is soft, fluffy and the perfect healthy zucchini dessert. The combination of banana and zucchini makes this cake super soft and moist and I love that I get to sneak in some healthy veggies for my family.
Looking for more baked goods or zucchini desserts to use up some of your zucchini bounty? Check out our Paleo Zucchini Muffins, Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread, Zucchini Cookies and Gluten Free Zucchini Bread.
Why we love this recipe
- The best part about this moist and decadent paleo cake is that it comes together so quick and easy. Just ONE bowl and NO mixer required.
- This chocolate zucchini recipe is also grain-free, gluten-free and dairy-free and includes a option to make this a vegan cake
- Another bonus is that this cake is refined-sugar free and sweetened up with banana and maple syrup instead.
- These zucchini bars can easily be made ahead of time as a healthy and delicious breakfast with your morning cup of coffee — or toss a few of these into your lunchbox to enjoy throughout the day.
Ingredients you need for this recipe
Most zucchini banana cake recipes are typically made with a combination of all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, coconut oil or butter and milk. To keep these chocolate chip zucchini bars healthy and paleo-friendly, we are using:
- Banana – be sure to use a very ripe banana to add extra moisture and sweetness. You can also try applesauce or for keto zucchini cake, swap with pure pumpkin puree.
- Eggs: Bring your eggs to room temperature. Want vegan zucchini cake? Try swapping the eggs with flax eggs to make this zucchini cake vegan.
- Unsalted Almond Butter: You could also use cashew butter or any other nut or seed butter, if preferred.
- Pure maple syrup – Adds natural sweetness and extra moisture. You can sub with another liquid sweetener of your choice such as coconut nectar syrup, Lakanto Sugar-free maple syrup for low carb or honey if not vegan.
- Vanilla – adds flavor and makes this gluten-free cake delicious
- Baking soda: a paleo leavener that helps the paleo zucchini cake rise
- Super fine almond flour: our favorite grain-free flour to use in place of all purpose flour
- Ground cinnamon and sea salt – add flavor and balances out the sweetness
- Grated zucchini: Be sure to squeeze out the water from your grated zucchini after measuring. Wondering how to grate zucchini, check out the instructions here.
- Dairy-free chocolate chunks or vegan mini chocolate chips – we like Hu’s Kitchen Gems or Lily’s Sweet Chocolate Chips. Leave out or swap in nuts if you don’t love chocolate and zucchini together.
How to make Zucchini Cake
- Prepare for Baking: Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8×8 square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a slight overhang; set aside.
- Mix the Wet Ingredients: In a large bowl, using a fork, mash the banana then beat in the eggs until combined. Add almond butter, maple syrup and vanilla and mix until combined.
- Add the Dry Ingredients: Place a large mesh sieve on top of the bowl, and sift in the 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, almond flour, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and salt and stir until the batter is well mixed.
- Grate the zucchini using a box grater. Wrap the shredded zucchini in a kitchen towel, paper towels or a nut milk bag and squeeze well to remove the excess water. Drain and fold in the zucchini, followed by the 1/3 cup chocolate chips.
- Assemble: Spread evenly into prepared pan and top with walnuts and additional chocolate chunks (if desired).
- Bake: Bake in preheated oven for 26-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
- Let Cool: Remove from oven and allow to cool on wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove from pan using the parchment paper and enjoy warm or allow to cool completely
Tips for the Best Zucchini Cake
- Remove Moisture From Zucchini: It’s important to remove any water from your shredded zucchini to prevent the cake from getting soggy.
- Let Cake Cool Before Slicing: If your cake hasn’t completely cooled before you slice it, it could be too crumbly. Let it cool before serving so it’s nice and firm.
- Use Fresh Zucchini: This recipe is perfect for the summer in July when zucchini season is in full swing! In-season zucchini will give you the moistest, most delicious cake ever.
Variations for zucchini bars
Want to switch up this zucchini recipe?
- Banana – swap out the banana and make your zucchini cake with applesauce or even pumpkin puree for a keto zucchini cake
- Fresh or Frozen Berries – we love adding blueberries to add some extra moisture and sweetness.
- Pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds or flaxseeds – add an additional crunch and bumps up the protein.
- Nuts. We love adding chopped walnuts or pecans
- Toppings: Spread a dollop or a smear of nut butter or dairy-free cream cheese on a slice for a delicious afternoon snack or after-dinner dessert
How to Store Flourless Zucchini Cake
Start by tightly wrapping the cake in plastic wrap or you can also keep it in an airtight container. It will stay fresh on the counter for up to 3 days. If you store it in the fridge, it will stay good for a few extra days!
Can Zucchini Cake be Frozen?
If you’ve ever wondered if I can freeze zucchini cake you definitely can. This gluten-free chocolate chunk cake is freezer friendly.
How to Freeze Zucchini Cake
If you want to freeze gluten free zucchini cake, I recommend wrapping it in a layer of aluminum foil followed by a layer of plastic wrap. It will stay good in the freezer for up to 3 months! When you’re ready to enjoy your frozen zucchini cake, just thaw it on the counter overnight before serving.
More zucchini recipes you might like:
Crispy Zucchini Fritters with Cheese
Extra Crispy Zucchini Fries
Recommended Tools You’ll Need For this Recipe:
This Zucchini Cake is easy to make and perfect for using up all that garden zucchini. Made with wholesome gluten-free and paleo pantry-friendly ingredients, it's a healthy and delicious snack to satisfy that sweet tooth craving!
- 2 large overripe banana , mashed
- 2 large eggs , room temperature (we have not tested it but you can try subbing with flax eggs for vegan)
- 2 tablespoons drippy almond butter , best results when you use near the top and not near the bottom of the jar
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup , for Keto, sub with 1 1/2 Tbsp Lakanto Sugar-free maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup superfine blanched almond flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup finely grated zucchini , be sure to squeeze out as much water as possible after measuring
- 1/3 cup dairy-free chocolate chunks or chocolate chips , plus more for topping - we like Hu's Kitchen Gems or Lily's Sweets
- 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts OR pecans , optional
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8x8 square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a slight overhang; set aside.
In a large bowl, using a fork, mash the banana then beat in the eggs until combined. Add almond butter, maple syrup and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Place a large sieve over the bowl and sift in the baking soda, almond flour, cinnamon and salt and mix until the batter is uniform.
Grate zucchini using a box grater. Wrap the shredded zucchini in a kitchen towel, paper towels or a nut milk bag and squeeze well to remove the excess water. Drain and add to the cake batter and stir to combine. Fold in the chocolate.
Spread evenly into prepared pan and top with walnuts and additional chocolate chunks (if desired). Bake for 26-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and allow to cool on wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove from pan using the parchment paper and enjoy warm or allow to cool completely.
Yum! Made this with my nieces and we all devoured it! So delicious!
I love treats that sneak in some veggie goodness, sometimes its the only way I can get my hubbs to eat any veggies at all!
Oh I do love the sound of these and they look so delicious! 😀 Great list of healthy ingredients 😉
Megan - -
Wow!! These bars look amazing! I have yet to try a zucchini treat, so I’m excited to try these soon 🙂
Why have I never had a zucchini cake before?? These bars sound fantastic! Especially with the chocolate 🙂