Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Ganache

  • Serves: 16 squares
  • Prep Time: 00:20
  • Cooking Time: 00:40
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My Chocolate Zucchini Cake is a lovely moist cake with a fudgy texture and is topped with a healthy chocolate ganache. No one will even guess there's zucchini hidden in this delicious chocolate cake. It makes the perfect birthday cake, I just made it for one of my daughter's-in-law.

Ingredients

* Please click on the green icon next to the ingredients listed below for extra details and helpful information.

  • 2 cups grated zucchini, with moisture removed
  • 2 cups almond meal/flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 3 Tbsp arrowroot flour
  • 2/3 cup cacao raw powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder (gluten free)
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 lge egg(s)
  • 1/3 cup coconut cream, (a thick brand like Ayam)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (100%)
  • 2 Tbsp almond butter/spread, sunflower butter or tahini (hulled)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract (organic)
  • CHOCOLATE GANACHE
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream, (a thick brand)
  • 60g of 80% dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 2 Tbsp ghee, or butter
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup (100%)
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract (organic)
  • Pinch of fine sea salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 170c (fan-forced). Line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper, leave a little overhang for easy removal.

Grate the zucchini and use paper towels or a tea towel to squeeze out the moisture. Set aside.

Add the almond meal, coconut flour, arrowroot, cacao, baking powder and salt to a food processor. Blend for 15 - 20 second to mix and create a finer texture.

Add the eggs, coconut cream, coconut oil, maple syrup, almond butter and vanilla to the dry ingredients. Blend for 15 - 20 seconds until all the ingredients are combined well. Add the zucchini and blend for a further 8 - 10 seconds or until the zucchini isn't visible in the batter.

Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin and spread out evenly, then smooth the surface.

Bake for 40 minutes, the top will be crisp and the centre will be a bit soft and fudgy. Cool in the tin for 20 minutes then remove by the paper and finish cooling on a wire rack. Let completely cool before frosting.

To make the Chocolate Ganache: Add the coconut cream, chocolate and butter to a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until just melted (don't overheat), then remove and add the maple syrup, vanilla and salt, stir well to combine. Transfer to a small bowl and place in the fridge to firm up to a soft spreadable consistency.

To serve, place the cake on your serving plate and spread over the chocolate ganache and decorate with fresh strawberries or raspberries.

Store in the fridge but allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

zucchini

A zucchini is also called a courgette or summer squash depending on which country you live in. Zucchini looks similar to a cucumber and is usually served cooked with it's skin left on. Zucchini contains a good amount of folate, potassium, vitamin A,C and fibre.

almond meal/flour

The most favoured gluten/grain free flour substitute in my kitchen is almond meal. It is finely ground blanched almonds and is also known as almond flour. It has a slightly sweet flavour so you don’t have to add as much sweetener when baking with it. All kinds of nuts can be ground down to make a meal and are excellent for raw cheesecake or pie bases. Nut meals/flours are best stored in airtight containers in the fridge or freezer to prevent them going rancid.

coconut flour

Coconut flour is made by drying and grinding the meat of a coconut to a fine texture. Coconut flour is a low-carb flour that's an excellent source of dietary fibre and protein. It's a good grain-free and nut-free alternative but does require a larger amount of liquid than normal when used for baked goods. When replacing in a recipe that calls for wheat flour (or almond meal), use this guide; 1 cup of regular flour = 1/3 cup coconut flour, add an extra egg and an extra 1/3 cup of liquid. It can be used in soups, gravies and stews as a thickener and adds a boost of nutrition. There are now quite a few brands of coconut flour available and they all seem to perform differently depending on how coarse the texture is. In my recipes I used Organic Coconut Flour from 'Let's Do Organic' and 'Red Tractor Foods' I like their finer texture.

arrowroot flour

Arrowroot is a herb, the roots are cultivated for its starch properties. It is used in my recipes as a thickener and I also like combining it with almond meal to produce a much lighter texture, more like a gluten flour. I find the starch helps to bind the ingredients together. You can substitute tapioca flour, which is made from the dried roots of the cassava plant. Tapioca can be used in baking, it has a slightly sweet flavour. However, I do not recommend thickening with tapioca, as it has a stretchy, gummy texture. Supermarkets only sell in very small containers, which is not cost effective. Purchase from baking specialty stores, health food stores or online. ( When substituting for cornflour in recipes, 2 teaspoons arrowroot = 1 tablespoon cornflour/starch).

cacao raw powder

Raw cacao powder and cocoa are made from the same source but are so different. Cacao powder is raw, unsweetened and in it's natural state, it has a stronger flavour and you would use less than cocoa powder. It is so good for you; high in dietary fibre, iron and is a good source of magnesium and antioxidants. Cocoa has been heated and processed, the high heat when processing kills all the minerals and vitamins.

baking powder (gluten free)

Baking Powder is a rising agent for baked goods. If substituting for baking soda you will need 4 times the quantity. Ensure you purchase a gluten free, no aluminum brand. Alternatively, you can make your own baking powder; 1 teaspoon of baking powder is equal to 1⁄4 teaspoon of baking soda and 1⁄2 teaspoon of cream of tartar. Note, that they should only be combined when preparing your recipe.

sea salt

Organic unbleached, unrefined organic Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt is my salt of choice as these contain healthy minerals and trace elements that our body needs. Regular table salt has been bleached, refined and processed leaving minimal health benefits. If you choose to use regular table salt in my recipes you will need to reduce the quantity or the end result will be to salty.

egg(s)

I have used large free range or organic eggs from a 700g carton in my recipes. Eggs are one of the few foods considered to be a complete protein because they contain all 9 essential amino acids, also studies have shown that lutein (yellow colour) in egg yolks protects against the progress of early heart disease.

coconut cream

I use this extensively throughout my recipes; from soups to dinners to desserts and cakes. I think it is the best dairy-free alternative. It gives so much flavour and creaminess to a wide variety of dishes. When purchasing in the can read your labels, even some organic brands contain gums and thickeners, choose full-fat not low-fat versions. I use Honest To Goodness organic cream 400ml and Ayam which isn't organic but has no additives or thickeners and is much creamier and thicker than other brands (that's why I love it), it comes in 400ml, 270ml and 140ml size cans.

coconut oil

Coconut oil is one of the most nutritious fats to cook and bake with. Use organic extra-virgin coconut oil which is unrefined and unbleached from non GMO coconuts. Coconut oil has a high smoking point and it is slow to oxidize due to its high saturated fat content, thus, resistant to going rancid. Some studies suggest coconut oil helps with digestion, including irritable bowel, tummy bugs, candida and parasites due to this oil containing short term medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), which is a healthy form of saturated fat.

maple syrup (100%)

Maple syrup is an earthy, sweet tasting amber liquid that is produced by boiling down the sap of maple trees. Use organic 100% maple syrup which is a natural food sweetener, not a flavoured maple syrup. Pure maple syrup contains a decent amount of some minerals, especially manganese and zinc, some traces of potassium and calcium but it does contain a whole bunch of sugar. I try to reduced the amount of sweetness in each recipe to the lowest possible without compromising taste. Feel free to adjust to your liking. I use maple syrup in place of raw honey when I don't want the strong honey flavour coming through in a recipe. I have paleo cookies and desserts in my cookbook made from whole food ingredients with natural sugars but please don’t overindulge. Use as a treat only for special occasions.

almond butter/spread

Almond butter may also be called almond spread. It is finely ground down almonds to a texture resembling a paste. In my cookbook I have a recipe for roasted almond butter, which has extra flavour due to the roasting and a little organic salt added. If purchasing a commercial almond butter in a jar, make sure it's 100% almonds.

vanilla extract (organic)

Use an organic vanilla extract (not an essence) or vanilla powder. Vanilla makes a big difference to the flavour of a recipe, I recommend keeping to the quantities I have stated in a recipe. I prefer Madagascar pure vanilla extract manufactured by ‘Simply Organic’ and for powder, Vanillamax 100% pure, finely ground Madagascar vanilla beans produced by Bulletproof.

coconut cream

I use this extensively throughout my recipes; from soups to dinners to desserts and cakes. I think it is the best dairy-free alternative. It gives so much flavour and creaminess to a wide variety of dishes. When purchasing in the can read your labels, even some organic brands contain gums and thickeners, choose full-fat not low-fat versions. I use Honest To Goodness organic cream 400ml and Ayam which isn't organic but has no additives or thickeners and is much creamier and thicker than other brands (that's why I love it), it comes in 400ml, 270ml and 140ml size cans.

dark chocolate

In some of my recipes I have used Paleo approved dark chocolate drops/chips, they are dairy, soy, and gluten-free (my favourite brands are, 'Absolute Organic' or 'Chef's Choice' certified organic 70% cacao, purchase online or from health food stores). I also used 70 - 85% organic dark chocolate blocks, they can be broken into pieces or melted for recipe. I also make my own chocolate from: cacao butter or coconut oil, raw cacao powder and sweetened with 100% maple syrup, pinch of sea salt and vanilla extract.

ghee

Ghee is clarified butter, it is pure butter fat that has had the milk solids removed. You can get the flavour of butter in your cooking without the dairy (please don't consume if you have an allergy to ghee). My favourite brand is Organic Valley Purity Farms which I purchase online from iherb. It is also very easy to make yourself.

maple syrup (100%)

Maple syrup is an earthy, sweet tasting amber liquid that is produced by boiling down the sap of maple trees. Use organic 100% maple syrup which is a natural food sweetener, not a flavoured maple syrup. Pure maple syrup contains a decent amount of some minerals, especially manganese and zinc, some traces of potassium and calcium but it does contain a whole bunch of sugar. I try to reduced the amount of sweetness in each recipe to the lowest possible without compromising taste. Feel free to adjust to your liking. I use maple syrup in place of raw honey when I don't want the strong honey flavour coming through in a recipe. I have paleo cookies and desserts in my cookbook made from whole food ingredients with natural sugars but please don’t overindulge. Use as a treat only for special occasions.

vanilla extract (organic)

Use an organic vanilla extract (not an essence) or vanilla powder. Vanilla makes a big difference to the flavour of a recipe, I recommend keeping to the quantities I have stated in a recipe. I prefer Madagascar pure vanilla extract manufactured by ‘Simply Organic’ and for powder, Vanillamax 100% pure, finely ground Madagascar vanilla beans produced by Bulletproof.

sea salt

Organic unbleached, unrefined organic Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt is my salt of choice as these contain healthy minerals and trace elements that our body needs. Regular table salt has been bleached, refined and processed leaving minimal health benefits. If you choose to use regular table salt in my recipes you will need to reduce the quantity or the end result will be to salty.