Chocolate Zucchini Cake (Less Sugar, Low Calorie)

A moist, rich cake loaded with chocolate and zucchini. Chocolate Zucchini Cake is perfect to bring to a picnic.

Pin Chocolate Zucchini Cake here.

Lightened Chocolate Zucchini Cake - So moist and rich with loads of chocolate, Low Calorie Low Fat Healthier Dessert Recipe

Last summer, one of Food Done Light’s Facebook readers, Haley, contacted me about lightening a beloved cake, a chocolate zucchini cake. The original recipe was made with three different kinds of fat and lots of sugar. I was happy to take up the challenge. The first step was looking at the fat. With butter, shortening and oil, this cake was loaded with saturated fat. Each fat works differently so I kept a little butter, a little oil and substituted Greek yogurt for the rest. I also used a banana to add moisture and to help cut the sugar.

Did you know, you can almost always cut 1/4 cup sugar from a baking recipe? For this recipe, I cut out six tablespoons of sugar from the batter then more sugar by cutting the amount of chocolate chips on top. By substituting dark cocoa powder and semi-sweet chocolate chips, I kept all that luscious chocolate flavor. Haley wanted to use an almond milk instead of buttermilk. Either really would work perfectly well. I also swapped half of the white flour for whole wheat.

Lightened Chocolate Zucchini Cake - So moist and rich with loads of chocolate, Low Calorie Low Fat Healthier Dessert Recipe

I loved the way the cake tasted, but since I had never had the original I was not sure how Haley would like it. Thus I sent her my modifications, and they really enjoyed it. She said it was a little less dense than the original but was a huge hit with her family. That’s what counts. I have to say I adored every bite of this cake. It was moist and full of knock your socks off chocolate flavor. It had a beautiful crumb (texture).

Sometimes when you are trying to reduce fat and calories, your cake can become gummy. Oh man, have I ever baked a few gummy cakes. It is not enjoyable. That was not a problem with this one. I also thought I might miss having frosting, but no I definitely did not. There is so much chocolate flavor it does not need frosting. The chocolate chips melt on top creating bursts of melted chocolate goodness. If you can afford a few more calories and sugar in your diet, increase the chocolate chips to 1 cup. I kept it at a half to keep the calories and sugar down.

Bake up Haley’s family’s Chocolate Zucchini Cake for your family. They are going to love it. It also travels really well, making it perfect for a picnic or BBQ. I am hoping for an overload of zucchini next month, and I am making this cake again. In fact, this might be my birthday cake next month. Yummy!

Lightened Chocolate Zucchini Cake - So moist and rich with loads of chocolate, Low Calorie Low Fat Healthier Dessert Recipe

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Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Course Cake, Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 18
Calories 204 kcal
Author Christie Daruwalla


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3 tbsp . 2% fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 over ripe banana , mashed
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp . pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut or almond milk
  • 1 1/2 cups (180g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (120g) whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3 tbsp . dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp . baking powder
  • 1 tsp . baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp . kosher salt
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini , squeezed dry in a paper towel
  • 4 oz . mini semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with baking spray.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter, oil, yogurt, banana and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg, vanilla and milk mixing until well combined.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add 1 tbsp. of flour mixture to shredded zucchini and stir to coat zucchini
  5. Add the remaining dry ingredients to wet ingredients stirring until just combined.
  6. Stir in the zucchini.
  7. Spoon the batter into baking pan.
  8. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.
  9. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes.
  10. Place on a wire rack and cool completely.

Recipe Notes

I calculated  7 Weight Watcher Smartpoints.

Nutrition Facts
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 204 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 14%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Total Carbohydrates 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Sugars 3g
Protein 3g 6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Happy Healthy Eating,


But wait, there’s more. Check out these deliciously, light cake recipes:

Peach Upside Down Cake

Peach Upside Down Cake

Pear Custard Cake

Pear Custard Cake

Low Sugar Pina Colada Cake

Low Sugar Pina Colada Bundt Cake


  1. It's sort of funny that a cake with a vegetable in it was that unhealthy in the first place -- that's normally a swap you make to lighten something up! I love your substitutions and I know that zuch + chocolate = delightful, so this is bound to be a hit.
    • Christie Daruwalla says
      Thanks Kelly. The original had a lot of sugar and chocolate chips not to mention all the fat. That is an old-fashioned cake for you.
  2. I love this recipe make over! My mom used to make a chocolate zucchini cake in the summer, but it was full of fat (though delicious!) Can't wait to try this!
  3. I love how healthy this cake is! Your substitutions sound great. Such a fun way to use up some zucchini, which is always abundant!
  4. Michelle@healthiersteps says
    Your chocolate zucchini cake looks super moist. This is great to use up all this summer vegetables.
    • Christie Daruwalla says
      Hi Michelle, I was really pleased with how moist it was and the crumb on the cake was fantastic.
  5. Oh. My. God. Why haven't I thought of using zucchini in a chocolate cake?? I use it in every other quick bread, muffin and breakfast recipe, so why not in this? Love it. Cannot wait to make this (this weekend!)!
    • Christie Daruwalla says
      Hope you enjoy it Dee Dee. I am going to make it again but with butterscotch chips on top!
  6. This is such a healthy dessert. Love the Greek yogurt addition too. No guilt eating this. I'll take a slice!
  7. I LOVE using zucchini in my baking! :) It makes everything so moist without added butter & oil- plus hidden veggies! ;)
    • Christie Daruwalla says
      Zucchini certainly worked like a dream in this cake. I cannot wait to make it again.
  8. Oh man! I just want to reach through my screen and gobble that up! It looks so good. I have never made a chocolate zucchini cake, so I really need to get on it. Love this lightened up option!
  9. I can't wait to try this. Looks so chocolatey! Yum!
  10. Can you taste the banana in the cake? Can it be subbed using applesauce or prunes instead?
    • Christie Daruwalla says
      Hi Pam, No, the banana isn't there for flavor. You could use applesauce, I just personally don't like it in baked goods. I don't like the texture.


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