Utterly DELICIOUS Gluten Free Chocolate Courgette Cake Recipe. It’s moist and fudgy, rich and decadent and very VERY chocolatey. No one will EVER know it’s gluten free OR that it contains Courgette (Zucchini). Optional dairy free.
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Introducing my amazing Chocolate Courgette Cake Recipe
This is my gluten free Chocolate Courgette Cake. And with the annual glut of garden courgettes (which never seem to fail), it has become my new favourite courgette recipe. It’s moist and rich and very very chocolatey. Not only would you never know that it is gluten free, but you wouldn’t know that it is stuffed with the goodness of courgette either.
The inspiration for making Chocolate Courgette Cake came from a reader (Chanon) who kindly shared with me her Aunty Carol’s non-gluten free recipe. This year’s courgette harvest brought the opportunity to try it as a gluten free version. And actually, a straight conversion of the original recipe with additional egg and moisture worked pretty well. We shared it with friends who gave great feedback. But for me, it was still slightly too sweet and the texture wasn’t quite there.
So, ‘Aunty Carol’s’ Chocolate Courgette Cake has been given a Gluten Free Alchemist makeover…
The BEST Chocolate Courgette Cake (or Zucchini Cake)
Now, my family aren’t that great at giving positive feedback for my recipes. They are honest to a tee and can be less than exuberant even when they love something. It’s a tough environment to create recipes in, but I know that honesty will be at the base of anything they offer. So, when my husband said this… ↓↓↓ I was more than happy!
“This is the BEST chocolate cake I’ve eaten… gluten free or not…”
While Mr GF is not a huge cake fan, I take this as a massive complement. It means that the cake is confirmed as ticking all the right boxes…
- Moist with a great ‘non-gluten free’ cake texture
- Dark, rich and very chocolatey
- Not excessively sweet… The chocolate is the dominating flavour, not the sugar!
- Perfect on its own or with cream or ice cream
- A cake that deserves a place of the GFA make regularly list.
Are courgette and zucchini the same?
Yes! Is the direct answer… ‘Zucchini’ stems from the Italian ‘zucchino’, meaning ‘baby marrow’ or ‘tiny squash’ and ‘Courgette’ apparently means the same, but in French. But both are exactly the same plant and fruit.
Depending on where you live in the world however, the terminology used will likely be one or other. What you call it generally comes down to geography. So… As I understand it from my research… If you come from a country where American or Australian English is spoken or adopted or that uses Italian, the likely name used will be ‘Zucchini’. If you are in a region which uses British, New Zealand or South African English or speaks French, you’ll be eating ‘Courgette’.
Please correct me if I’m wrong!
Chocolate Zucchini Cake or Courgette Cake?
With the above clarification in mind therefore, this recipe for Chocolate Courgette Cake may also be a Chocolate Zucchini Cake. Either way, it’s gluten free through and through (although no one would ever guess!). Which also makes it safe for those who are Coeliac and Celiac (another geographical semantic difference).
At the end of the day, I honestly don’t care what you call it… Zucchini Cake, Courgette Cake or straight gluten free ‘chocolate cake’ is fine with me… It’s that good, you just need to try it.
Why choose THIS Gluten Free Chocolate Courgette Cake recipe?
So, what makes this particular gluten free Chocolate Courgette Cake really good? And what makes it different and (in my humble opinion) better than others that I have tried? Well…
- It’s deliciously moist and decadent with some good stuff in it too… In fact, it may be one of the BEST chocolate cakes I (and Mr GF) have ever eaten!
- Most importantly… No one will EVER know it’s gluten free… and that’s a PROMISE!
- You won’t know you’re eating courgette either… But the moisture it brings makes all the difference to the texture. A sort of chocolate-courgette version of my incredible Carrot Cake!
- It’s perfect for using up the mountains of courgettes that you have grown (although it’s also well worth buying some for if you don’t garden).
- And it’s super-easy to make…
What fat is used to make Gluten Free Zucchini Cake?
Looking at chocolate cake recipes on the internet that use courgette or zucchini, most of them are entirely or significantly oil-based in terms of the fat used. Now you’d think that given how many cakes use oil instead of butter, there is good reason for doing so. And I’m sure there is. But, whenever I have tried making Chocolate Courgette Cake using oil, I have been disappointed. The texture (for me) is a little odd and ‘claggy’ and the flavour has a strange after-taste that appears to tie in with the oil used. And at GFHQ, flavour and texture really matter.
Don’t get me wrong… I love some cakes made with oil. In fact, my Pistachio Olive Oil Cake with Lime and Blackcurrant Drizzle is one of my favourites. And the Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes (made with grapeseed oil) have a delicious oil-based vanilla sponge too.
For Courgette Chocolate Cake however, something just wasn’t quite right about it. So, for this particular recipe, I have subbed all the oil with melted butter to achieve a deliciously decadent and silkier texture in the sponge and on the palate.
What sugar should I use for this recipe?
Again, many popular recipes for chocolate courgette cake appear to use standard caster sugar. For this recipe, I used a combination of both golden caster and soft light brown sugar. Why? Because using less refined sugars offers a more subtle sweetness and caramel overtones.
Of course, if you prefer to use white caster sugar because that’s what you have, this will work fine too in terms of texture (although the level and type of sweetness will shift).
Why this courgette cake is super-chocolatey
Unlike most recipes for Chocolate Courgette Cake that just use cocoa in the main sponge, this one uses a combination of cocoa and REAL chocolate. Being dark chocolate, it doesn’t add to the sweetness, but it does make the cake even more decadent, rich and delicious.
Better still… The baked sponge is also dotted with delicious bites of chocolate chip (dark is best) that give mouth-melting excitement in every bite.
What Gluten Free Flour can I use to make this recipe?
As with all gluten free baking, the flour that you use makes a MASSIVE difference to the end result. And for the vast majority of gluten free bakes, a single flour won’t work. So, when making this Zucchini Cake, you’ll need to use a gluten free flour blend.
The flour blend that I used for making it was my Gluten Free Alchemist Blend A. However, an alternative such as Doves Farm Freee plain white baking flour should work fine as a substitute. Just be sure to use plain flour as the recipe includes individual raising agents.
Can I make Gluten Free Chocolate Courgette Cake dairy free?
Yes! My Gluten Free Chocolate Courgette Cake can easily be made dairy free. Just make a simple substitution of the following:
- Switch the dairy butter for a good dairy free alternative. I recommend using a nice creamy block alternative such as Stork or Flora baking blocks.
- Use dairy free yoghurt… Try to choose one which is thicker in texture and has a higher fat content.
- Make sure the chocolate used is dairy free.
Unfortunately, this is not a cake recipe that has been developed to be egg free or Vegan. I am REALLY wary of any recipe that says it can be made vegan by ‘subbing’ an egg replacer, but that hasn’t actually been properly tested. At Gluten Free Alchemist, we won’t waste your time and money passing off a recipe as ‘possible’ without it being fully tested. But for a great blog that does make divine Vegan cakes, check out Peachicks Bakery.
Can I make this chocolate cake recipe without courgettes?
No. This cake has been specially developed to account for the moisture and texture of the added courgettes. Therefore, it cannot be baked without them. However, I have some other amazing gluten free chocolate cake recipes on the blog. So, if you don’t fancy a cake with courgettes (although I promise, you would never know they are in there), try these ‘big cake’ recipes instead. (There’s one for every occasion)…
- My AMAZING Gluten Free ‘Go To’ Chocolate Cake
- Fudgy Chocolate Cake (both as a home and holiday mix)
- Chocolate Fudge Cake
- Flourless Squidgy Chocolate Cake
- Chocolate Bundt Cake
- Flourless Chocolate Torte
How can I tell when my Chocolate Zucchini Cake is done?
Like most cakes, it’s pretty straight forward… Use a cake skewer or the end of a sharp knife and insert it into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, then the cake is ready! If there’s still cake batter on the skewer, then leave it in the oven a little longer.
When poking the skewer in, try to do this quickly and without taking the cake fully out of the oven… A sudden rush of cold air before the cake is ready will cause it to sink.
Do I need any special equipment to make Gluten Free Chocolate Courgette Cake?
No. Not really. My Gluten Free Chocolate Courgette Cake is pretty straight forward. What you will definitely need though, are…
- An Electric whisk to beat the mixture.
- Mixing Bowls
- Pyrex Bowl for melting the chocolate and butter.
- A mixing spoon or Silicone Spoon-Spatula for mixing and folding.
- Kitchen Scales are essential. It’s definitely worth investing in a good set. I use these digital dual platform scales.
- Two 8 inch cake tins… These are the ones I use.
- Good quality baking paper for lining the cake tins. Either a roll that you cut or baking paper circles.
- A grater for the courgette. It doesn’t need to grate too fine, but does need to be sturdy.
How long will your Gluten Free Courgette Chocolate Cake last?
That depends on how quickly you eat it. 😁 But kept in an airtight container or cake carrier, it should last 4 to 5 days.
Can I freeze this cake?
The sponge can be frozen and lasts well for about 3 months. I wouldn’t however freeze the cake layered with butter cream or slathered in ganache and decorations. Various icings will not freeze well on cakes and can separate and deteriorate on defrosting. So, if you want to make the cake to freeze, do so as simple sponges layered with baking paper and stored in airtight bags. When ready to serve, remove from the freezer, defrost and decorate.
How to decorate your Chocolate Courgette Cake…
Gluten Free Chocolate Courgette Cake is delicious as it is and needs nothing to enhance it. However, we all love a layered cake right? So, your best option is to keep it simple… I’ve added a single layer of deliciously creamy chocolate buttercream to sandwich the cakes… And a top coating of dark chocolate ganache which both seals the cake for freshness and makes it that bit more special as a tea time treat.
Ready to make my Gluten Free Chocolate Courgette Cake Recipe?
So, hopefully… you’re all set to make my Gluten Free Chocolate Courgette Cake. Don’t forget to let me know what you think! Leave a comment below and tag me on social media with your cake photos so I can see how it turned out. (Find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter).
And don’t forget to rate the recipe. If you tried and loved it, please give it 5 stars as it helps to let other people know it’s a great recipe too! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Thanks for reading and for visiting Gluten Free Alchemist.
Other Cake Recipes that use Courgette at Gluten Free Alchemist
Gluten Free Courgette and Chocolate Cake
- two 8 inch round non-stick loose-bottomed baking tins
- baking paper
- Kitchen scales
- measuring spoons
- heatproof (pyrex) bowl
- wooden/silicone spoon
- Mixing bowls
- electric whisk
- mixing spoon/spatula
- Small saucepan
- microwave or hob
- palette knife
- Cake scraper
Chocolate Courgette Sponge
- 300 g plain gluten free flour blend I use GFA Blend A – See NOTES
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 50 g cocoa powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda baking soda
- 1½ tsp baking powder gluten free
- Optional : 1½ tsp ground cinnamon)
- 125 g unsalted butter or good dairy free alternative
- 75 g good quality dark chocolate
- 3 large eggs At room temperature – UK large (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 110 g full fat plain Greek yoghurt or other thick yoghurt (inc dairy free alternative)
- 200 g golden caster sugar
- 100 g soft light brown sugar
- 350 g grated courgette including the grated skin (grated weight)
- 100 g dark chocolate chips
Chocolate Butter Icing
- 125 g good quality dark chocolate chopped (dairy free if needed)
- 120 g unsalted butter or good dairy free alternative softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 180 g icing sugar confectioners sugar
- ½ tbsp milk/dairy free milk to 'loosen' as required
Dark Chocolate Ganache
- 180 g good quality dark chocolate chopped
- 180 ml double cream heavy cream
- grated chocolate to sprinkle on finished cake optional
Chocolate Courgette Sponge
- Prepare two 8 inch round non-stick baking tins by base-lining with baking paper.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C (170 Fan)/350 F/Gas 4.
- Weigh and mix together the flour, xanthan gum, salt, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder (and cinnamon if using). Set aside. TIP: Weigh into an airtight container and shake vigorously.
- In a heat-proof (Pyrex) bowl, melt the butter and 75g chocolate together by either setting over a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave (30 second bursts at 'medium'), stirring frequently, until smooth and well combined.
- Set aside the melted chocolate-butter mixture to cool slightly.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until well blended.
- Add the vanilla and melted butter-chocolate mixture and whisk again until well-combined.
- Add the yoghurt and whisk through until even in colour.
- Next add the sugars and beat again until even and smoothly blended.
- Add the dry ingredients (flour-cocoa blend) and fold through quickly and lightly with a large mixing spoon or spatula until JUST blended.
- Lastly add the grated courgette and chocolate chips and fold through until combined and even (but be careful not to over-mix).
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tins and smooth the tops.
- Bake for 45 minutes to an hour (oven-dependent) until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Allow the cakes to cool for at least 30 minutes in the tins before attempting to remove and then be sure to run a flat knife completely round the sides before turning out onto a wire rack.
- Cool completely and chill in the fridge before decorating.
Chocolate Butter Icing
- Place the chocolate in a small heat-proof bowl and melt in the microwave on 30 second bursts, set at 'medium', stirring well between each (or over a pan of just simmering water). Set aside once melted to cool slightly.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with a whisk until smooth and pale.
- Gradually add the icing sugar, vanilla extract and melted chocolate, beating well until smooth.
- If necessary, add a dash of milk to loosen, whisking through.
- Set the icing aside (covered) until ready to layer the cake.
Dark Chocolate Ganache
- Put the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.
- In a small saucepan, heat the cream until JUST beginning to form simmer bubbles round the edge of the pan, then IMMEDIATELY remove from the heat. Do NOT boil or heat beyond this, as it may cause your ganache to split.
- Pour the cream over the chocolate in the bowl, and poke down to push it below the surface.
- Leave to stand for about 5 minutes before gently stirring through to smoothly and evenly combine melted chocolate with cream. Stop when you have a smooth, silky ganache.
- Set the ganache aside to cool completely at room temperature, very gently stirring intermittently.
- When the ganache has thickened to spreading consistency, it is ready to use. At this stage, use quickly or it will thicken further. If too thick, pop the bowl in the microwave for literally a couple of seconds to loosen.
Putting the cake together
- When the cake is chilled and the butter icing is ready, set one sponge on a flat board and spread a thick layer of chocolate butter icing on the top. Keep a little back to 'crumb coat' the outside of the sponge.
- Position the second sponge layer on top of the icing.
- Use the remaining icing to smear over the top and round the sides of the cake to form a very thin protective layer. Using a cake scraper will help this process.
- Place the cake back in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to let the icing coating 'set'.
- When the ganache is ready to spread, use a palette knife to spread evenly across the top and round the sides of the cake.
- Sprinkle the top of the cake with grated chocolate (if using).
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature and enjoy!
© 2019-2021 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist
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