gluten-free chocolate courgette cake recipe

With Kye and I feeling much better, the butter was once again pulled out from the fridge this morning to soften for the much anticipated chocolate courgette cake. I swear, that container of chopped, weighed butter has been in and out of the fridge more times than I care to remember over the past week. Every time I would go to make the cake, I’d get side-tracked. A phone call from a friend wanting to catch up, or my blocked nose that prevented me from tasting anything for days. Then yesterday I thought right today’s the day, but alas the yoghurt was still doing it's thing in the yoghurt maker. And I really didn’t feel like venturing into town to buy some more. Never before have I tried so hard to get it together to make a cake, so with that kind of build up, this cake really had to be a good one!

I first read about this cake in the New Zealand gardener “garden diary 2010”. Christchurch gardener Andrea Hawkes had one of her favourite seasonal chocolate cake recipes featured in it with grated courgette. It sounded interesting and such a great way to use up what is always a ridiculously large crop. My sister made it last year and I vowed to convert it to gluten-free so I too could eat it. Here I have also cut the sugar content by a third, with no noticeable difference in flavour or texture, so now the cake could almost be called a health food… if it weren’t for all that chocolate on top!

I’ve done away with the icing, but by all means ice it if you like. Also next time I make it I think I will fold the chocolate through the cake mixture prior to baking instead of sprinkling on top, leaving little nuggets of goodness to discover with every mouthful.
The texture of this cake is amazing. It’s light, but moist and is flecked throughout with little green shreds of courgette, that will make for a great conversation starter. Serve with a little dollop of softly whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream. Perfect.
Recipe converted to gluten-free from one I found in the New Zealand gardener “garden diary 2010”.

chocolate courgette cake recipe
This cake does contain butter and yoghurt as we now tolerate these. But if you are strictly dairy-free, try substituting dairy-free margarine and soy yoghurt. Also make sure your chocolate is dairy-free. (Most good quality dark chocolates are) If you eat wheat, you can simply use 2 1/2 cups plain wheat flour in place of the almond meal, brown rice and potato flours. Serves 12.

125g butter, softened
1 cup (200g) light muscovado sugar (or use soft brown sugar)
3 eggs
3/4 cup (75g) ground almonds (almond meal)
1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence
1/2 cup (120g) natural plain yoghurt
1 1/4 cup (150g) brown rice flour
1/2 cup (75g) potato starch (known as potato flour in NZ)
1/4 cup (40g) cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 cups (375g) grated courgette (zucchini)
100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 170 C/ 338 F. Grease and line a 9 inch/22cm spring form cake tin.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time beating well between additions. Add vanilla, yoghurt and ground almonds and mix well. Sift the dry ingredients and mix in with the grated courgette. Spoon into greased tin and sprinkle with the chopped chocolate. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the centre feels firm and a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Serve as is, or ice with chocolate icing.

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  • Reply
    January 15, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    This looks amazing! Am bookmarking this to make as soon as I can get my hands on zucchini!

  • Reply
    January 16, 2011 at 7:11 am

    Looks gorgeous! I've been trying to use up excess zucchini from my many prolific plants, and this is a good idea, I will have to try. 🙂

  • Reply
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    January 16, 2011 at 10:51 am

    I was just thinking that little bits of chocolate throughout the cake would be a nice little surprise and then you mentioned it! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 18, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Thanks so much for posting and introducing me to New Zealand food! I absolutely am going to follow your blog, and I'm going to share it with others in my program. I know several of us are hoping to find alternative food options, especially veggie, and I can already tell this blog is going to be a great resource! Thanks. 🙂 Now I am even more excited about your country.

  • Reply
    January 19, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Your welcome Rebecca. I hope you enjoy your time here in NZ. 🙂

  • Reply
    January 19, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    MMMMMMM,..I already love a good gf corurgettes ( zucchini ) cake & to combine that with real chocolate must be so awesomely tasty & it looks pretty too!

  • Reply
    January 30, 2011 at 12:11 am

    yum – my friend makes me a gluten free chocolate zucchini cake and it's so lovely and moist, almost like a chocolate zucchini carrot cake. ell the best for your move!

  • Reply
    January 30, 2011 at 1:29 am

    Thanks Jas. I might be in touch asking where you find all your gluten-free flours in Perth 🙂

  • Reply
    February 15, 2011 at 6:34 am

    mmm looks delish, my son is allerguc to milk protein, soy and eggs, is there substitutes I could use to make this cake? Like Gold n Canola marg (for butter) and egg????

  • Reply
    February 15, 2011 at 7:45 am

    Hi there, I have made some suggestions to make this cake dairy-free up above the recipe in the headnotes, I tend to use olivani for a dairy-free butter substitute. As far as the eggs go, I'm not sure. I haven't done a whole lot of egg-free baking before.

    This is what suggests

    Replace 1 large egg with one of the following:

    * 3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce (or other fruit puree) + 1 teaspoon baking powder
    * 1 tablespoon flax meal, chia seed or salba seed + 3 tablespoons hot water. (Let stand, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes or until thick. Use without straining.)
    * Egg Replacer, according to package directions
    * 4 tablespoons pureed silken tofu + 1 teaspoon baking powder

    Replacing more than two eggs will change the integrity of a recipe. For recipes that call for a lot of eggs, like a quiche, use pureed silken tofu. Because egg substitutions add moisture, you may have to increase baking times slightly.

    Note: To replace one egg white, dissolve 1 tablespoon plain agar powder into 1 tablespoon water. Beat, chill for 15 minutes and beat

    Hope that helps -emm

  • Reply
    May 1, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    This is really delicious. I found it via pinterest on a search for something for dinner based on courgettes as they were what I had most of in the fridge! Turned out that dessert was the item featuring courgette. I halved the ingredients as I didn't want to have it go to waste, or more likely eat 10 portions myself!! I was too impatient to wait for it to properly cool, so ate it while still warm. Delicious and moist enough to not require any icing, cream or ice cream. DH does not require GF and can be a bit creeped out by vegetables in cakes etc but he also declared it delicious!
    Thanks for sharing the recipe, I shall look forward to trying some more of yours.

    • Reply
      May 2, 2012 at 12:14 pm

      I'm so glad you enjoyed it 🙂 It's always a bonus when the gluten-eating hubby loves it too!

  • Reply
    January 19, 2014 at 12:50 am

    I made this yesterday and it was great. I was trying to squeeze too many things into my day, and I made the mistake of making it too close to when I had to leave the house for a hair appointment. It took longer to make than I expected, and then it took longer to cook as well (my slow oven). I had to take it out before it was ready, so it was a bit moist and crumbly (I was also 10 minutes late to my hair appointment). But everyone still raved about the cake, and no one picked out it had courgette in it. I stirred the chocolate chunks through, and iced with a very thin layer of chocolate icing.

  • Reply
    February 18, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    Do you drain/squeeze out the excess moisture from the zucchini?

    • Reply
      March 30, 2017 at 10:13 pm

      No, just grate it and add as is x

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