Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chocolate Mocha Zucchini Birthday Cake

Yesterday, I mentioned that Iris from The Daily Dietribe had issued a Gluten-free Birthday Cake Challenge. This chocolate zucchini cake makes for a sweet moist treat that is not only gluten-free, but dairy-free and refined sugar-free as well. This recipe uses the chocolate version of my Swiss Buttercream. Be sure to check back at The Daily Dietribe for many other fun birthday cake recipes.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Yields two 8" or 9" round cake layers (for a 2-layer cake)Ingredients for the Chocolate Zucchini Cake

  • 2.5 oz (1 cup) cocoa powder
  • 5 oz (1 cup) millet flour
  • 1.5 tsp aluminum free baking soda (I use Bob's)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp chia seed meal (you can grind up chia seeds in a coffee grinder)
  • 2 eggs (should be 3.5 oz, de-shelled
  • 5 oz (1/2 cup) unsweetened apple sauce
  • 4 oz (1/2 cup) honey
  • 8 oz finely grated zucchini (2 cups firmly packed, after grating)
  • 2 oz (4 Tbsp) coconut oil, melted (or can sub part or all Earth Balance spread)
  • Heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two 8" or 9" cake pans with parchment paper, and grease with coconut oil.
  • Sift all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  • Whisk together all wet ingredients and add them to the dry.
  • Spread even amounts of batter into each cake pan. Tip: if you bang the cake pan on the counter a couple times, and then spin it around fast right before you place the cake pans in the oven, you get a pretty even, level cake layer. And it's a good way to get out some aggression :)

  • Bake at 325 F for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Mocha Mousse Filling

Yields one cup of mousse (enough to fill and 8" or 9" cake)


  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 dates
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp coffee extract (can sub 1 Tbsp of strong brewed coffee or espresso)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • Add all ingredients together, except the melted coconut oil, into a food processor or high powered blender and puree.
  • Then add in the melted coconut oil and blend until incorporated.
  • Store in the refrigerator until ready to fill cake.

Assemble and Decorate how you like for the Special Occasion

  • I used one piping bag with an Ateco 23 (small star shape) tip. I place one layer down and pipe a ring of icing around the outer circle with the piping bag.
  • Then I spread the mousse filling into the circle, smoothed it level with an off-set spatula, and topped it with the other layer top side down (so the flat side is on top).
  • My cakes turned out even enough I didn't level them- but if your oven bakes uneavenly you may have to slice the cake layers level before assembling (more for you to snack on while you decorate :)
  • Then I iced the cake and gave it a border.
  • This one is also topped with raw cacao nibs for a bit of a crunch.
Happy Birthday Cake Making,


  1. I wish I had a talent for making pretty cakes...unfortunately that's not a skill I have, though I've tried! This is beautiful and I wish you a very happy birthday (not sure when it is, but I know it's coming up). Thanks for linking up to the cake challenge. I'll have the post up tomorrow morning!

  2. Wow! What a gorgeous cake! Plus I can justify it being healthy, what with zucchini and applesauce in it ;)

  3. Iris, hope you had a wonderful birthday!

    Stephanie, yes- that's the point of the cake being able to eat a big slice without the guilt :)

  4. This cake is so beautiful!

  5. Oh Boy! This looks too good. I'm going to try it soon. I'm glad I stumbled upon your blog. Thanks for the recipes!

  6. Hello Eryn. This cake looks wonderful! Do you think it would work as a sheet cake? And do you think your Swiss butter cream would be a good DF/GF frosting choice? My son is turning 6 and I need to make a ninja cake for about 30-40 people. Thanks!

  7. Hillary m- Yes, it does work as a quarter (about 8-9" x 12-13"), although I haven't done it in a larger size. I would double the cake batter and the filling, though for a 9 x 13. Let me know if you try out the frosting- feel free to make tweaks. I sometimes add some coconut powdered sugar (or regular) at the end to make it sweeter for kids :)

  8. Thanks Eryn. I also have a coconut butter cream frosting that I might use. My original thought was to make it a single layer, but perhaps I will do two layers and use the filling, minus the coffee. Yum!!

  9. Eryn- just wanted to let you know I made this other day and it was fabulous! I didn't add chocolate to the butter cream and left the coffee out of the filling. That butter cream is amazing! The only thing I will alter when making it again is to remove the banana from the filling and use all avocado. I think leaving out the coffee made room for more banana flavor, which I didn't care for. This cake is 5 stars all the way. I should also mention this cake was fed to people who are both GF/DF and not. Thanks for such a wonderful recipe!

  10. Thanks so much! Your comment warmed my heart :) Good to know about the avocado- I actually prefer it without the banana but some think the all avocado version is not sweet enough or tasted like and avocado! That's the great thing about recipes is you can totally make them your own. I'm glad everyone enjoyed it- that is my ultimate goal to make recipes that can transverse allergy lines :)

  11. I'm so glad I stumbled across your blog! I will definitely have to try some recipes! The cake sounds divine ;)

  12. Hi Eryn, this cake looks very beautiful and I want to try to make it. I have a question about the icing and the mousse. You say that you spread the mousse filling into the circle, so does that mean you use the mousse filling as icing? Or do you cover a top layer of mousse with icing? And which exact icing is used on the cake that is on the photo? Thank you!

    1. Valeria, the icing recipe is here: http://www.pumpkinspantry.com/2011/06/swiss-buttercream-dairy-free-refined.html (chocolate variation)

      Also, when I do a layer cake, I lay the bottom layer of cake on a cardboard cake-round or plate. Then I pipe a circle of the icing around the edge on the top of the bottom layer of cake. Then I fill that circle in with the filling- in this case, the mocha mousse recipe (above:). Then I place the second layer on top of that and then continue to ice the entire cake in the chocolate icing as seen in these pictures. Hope this clears up any confusion :)


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