Chocolate Zucchini Layer Cake with Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting {gluten-free} + Alternative Baker + a Blogiversary

Grass-green matcha cream cheese frosting adorns layers of chocolate cake flecked with zucchini and nutty sorghum flour in this gluten-free chocolate layer cake.

Chocolate Zucchini Layer Cake with Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting {gluten-free}

Today is pretty much the most exciting day of my life. More than the day I won a poetry contest in 6th grade (which began “a lone bald eagle in a tree / collecting pollen a honey bee”). More than the day I finally passed my driving test (after failing three times). It comes close to the day we brought Catamus home from the SPCA (and he promptly destroyed our favorite houseplant). Today is the day that Alternative Baker is unleashed upon the world in all its buttery, sugary, gluten-free glory. (Plus, The Bojon Gourmet turns 7 this Friday!) Let’s celebrate with cake.

Alternative Baker: Reinventing Dessert with Gluten-Free Grains and Flours

I’m so grateful to everyone who’s helped along this journey, and I’m excited to hear how you all like the book. If you bake something from it, please snap a photo for Instagram and tag it #AlternativeBakerBook so I can squeal over it! If you don’t have a copy but are Alternative Baker curious, read all about it and order it here. If you want to hear me ramble on about the cookbook process, tune into The Dinner Special podcast to hear my super fun interview with Gabriel Soh. And you can drool over the Buckwheat Orange Double Chocolate Cookies that Alana just shared from the book!

Chocolate Zucchini Layer Cake with Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting {gluten-free}

Are you ready for cake?!

Chocolate Zucchini Layer Cake with Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting {gluten-free}

This is a favorite recipe from the book. I usually bake it in a single pan and cut it into squares, but I thought we needed something a bit fancier this time around, so I doubled the recipe, baked it in three layers, and then I put gold on it because how often does one get to eat gold? Slightly more often than one releases a cookbook, I’d wager.

Chocolate Zucchini Layer Cake with Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting {gluten-free}

I’m generally not the biggest fan of cake – give me pie, crisp, cobbler, ice cream… pretty much any other dessert any day. Same goes for Jay. But this is one that we can’t keep our hands off of. Like all the recipes in Alternative Baker, it’s full of seasonal produce and whole grain flour, with a flavor twist to keep it tasting (and looking) fresh and vibrant.

Chocolate Zucchini Layer Cake with Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting {gluten-free}

First of all, cake usually doesn’t have much in the way of nutritional value. But this cake has a whole pound of zucchini in it, and loads of whole grain sorghum flour, so it’s basically health food. Cake tends to be dry and overly sweet. But this one gets moisture from the aforementioned shredded zucchini along with sunflower oil and brown sugar, with plenty of cocoa powder cutting the sweetness. Plus, I’ll eat just about anything if it’s covered in enough cream cheese frosting, and this version gets a delicious infusion of grassy matcha which, in addition to keeping the sweetness in check, turns the frosting green (see? health food!).

Chocolate Zucchini Layer Cake with Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting {gluten-free}Chocolate Zucchini Layer Cake with Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting {gluten-free}Chocolate Zucchini Layer Cake with Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting {gluten-free}

The matcha/chocolate combo was inspired by some über-tasty cupcakes Sarah made for a dessert-themed birthday party over a year ago. They sparked a flavor obsession that’s still going strong, from Matcha Mint Chip Ice Cream, to Matcha Mint Grasshopper Pie, to hot fudge-topped matcha ice cream from my favorite SF ice cream shop, to Sarah’s matcha chocolate chunk rice krispie treats. And this cake, which, even though I tested approximately 1 billion times, I still want to eat. A lot.

Chocolate Zucchini Layer Cake with Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting {gluten-free}Chocolate Zucchini Layer Cake with Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting {gluten-free}

Aside from eating too much of this cake, I’m looking forward to a day full of celebration including a relaxing acupuncture treatment, yoga class, and bowls of spicy ginger garlic miso ramen at Shizen (my latest obsession!).

Chocolate Zucchini Layer Cake with Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting {gluten-free}

Or perhaps I’ll bake a pie…

Chocolate Zucchini Layer Cake with Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting {gluten-free}

Chocolate Zucchini Layer Cake with Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting {gluten-free}
Yields: 12-16 servings
 
This gluten-free, whole grain layer cake is adapted from my book Alternative Baker: Reinventing Dessert with Gluten-Free Grains and Flours.
Ingredients
Cake
  • 1 pound (550 g) zucchini
  • 2 cups (430 g) packed organic light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup (120 ml) sunflower oil or other neutral vegetable oil
  • ½ cup (120 ml) whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons (20 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups (120 g) Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 ¾ cups (230 g) sorghum flour
  • ½ cup (80 g) sweet white rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (16 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Frosting
  • 1 pound (550 g) cream cheese, softened
  • 8 tablespoons (115 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ¾ cups (200 g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon (12 g) good-quality culinary-grade matcha, plus a sprinkle for garnish
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • chocolate discs or shavings and edible gold leaf, for decoration
Instructions
  1. To make the cake, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF (175ºC). Rub three 8-inch round cake pans with softened butter, line each with a round of parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust the pans with cocoa powder, tapping out the excess.
  2. Trim the zucchini and grate them on the medium holes of a box grater (the ones that measure 1⁄8 inch [2–3 mm]); you should have 2 cups packed grated zucchini. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, oil, milk and vanilla extract, until combined well. In a medium bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, sorghum flour, sweet rice flour, baking powder and salt, pushing through any clumps. Stir half of the flour mixture into the egg mixture until smooth, then add the grated zucchini, stirring until smooth, followed by the remaining flour mixture.
  3. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth into an even layer. Bake the cakes until the tops spring back to the touch, and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs, 30-40 minutes. Let cool completely in the pans, at least 1 hour, then turn out and peel away the parchment. (The cakes can be wrapped and stored for up to 1 day.)
  4. To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, matcha powder and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat the frosting on low speed, increasing to medium speed until smooth, light and fluffy, 2–3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  5. To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a serving board or platter and use a small, offset spatula or butter knife to spread about one-fourth of the frosting over the top in an even layer. Top with a second cake layer and repeat, then repeat with the remaining cake layer, frosting the top and sides. If you like, decorate the top of the cake with chocolate discs or shavings, a sprinkle of matcha, and a touch of edible gold leaf (if you’re weird like me and happen to have it lying around).
  6. For the cleanest results, chill the cake to firm up the frosting, at least 1 hour. Cut the cake with a large, sharp chef’s knife dipped in hot water and wiped dry between cuts. The cake is best within a day or two of baking, stored refrigerated airtight.

 

Chocolate Zucchini Layer Cake with Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting {gluten-free}

27 thoughts on “Chocolate Zucchini Layer Cake with Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting {gluten-free} + Alternative Baker + a Blogiversary”

  1. Happy Launch Day! Immediately checking sorghum flour levels in the pantry as this is the right season to find a zucchini in my zip code and I want to eat this now-ish.

  2. Oh Alanna, I am over the moon excited for you and so happy to have been a small part of this process. You are an incredible talent and anyone that is lucky enough to have this book in their home should consider themselves so very fortunate! I can’t wait to bake all the things… And purchase copies for many of my friends and family!
    Congratulations and enjoy this very special day!
    xoxo,
    Maureen

  3. Congratulations! I can only imagine how exciting today is for you. And that cake- hubba hubba. Zucchini and matcha and cream cheese frosting? And that color! Beautiful.

  4. Celebration time!!! Maybe I’ll even try this recipe.. Or wait till you bake it for me :-)

    Can’t wait to celebrate with you this Sunday!

    Love, YS

  5. Congratulations from Spain, Alanna! The book looks great and I will definitely be ordering a copy. I only found your blog a few months ago, but I absolutely love love love your stunning photography and it has quickly become one of my favourites. It has also inspired me to finally start my own blog after years of not believing I could. Can’t wait to get my hands on the book :)

  6. Happy Happy Launch Day Alanna, we are so excited for you! Our biggest Congratulations with a huge high five and lots of hugs! Making that cake tonight so I can be eating it when my cookbook arrives! Best, Lisa and all of us at Spice Society:)

  7. Huge congratulations Alanna! The kind of excitement where you just can’t stop smiling? It’s such a massive achievement and I can’t wait to get a copy of the book. Zucchini chocolate with the matcha frosting is such a intriguing combination too – and that creamy green frosting just makes me want to swipe my finger through it.

  8. Congrats! I finally bought matcha to celebrate your success as I’ve wanted to try baking with it for years (inspired by you of course). I can’t wait for my pre-ordered copy of your book to show up. Will you have any local book signings? Please let your fans know.

  9. SO MUCH to congratulate you on!
    1. THE BOOK. YES, that is soooo exciting girl!
    2. 7 YEARS? HOLY WHAT? That is an insane achievement!
    3. This cake! MATCHA FROSTING? This is purely incr-EDIBLE.
    You win. At life. And everything else that one could win at.

  10. Alanna, I’m so, so, so happy for you today- I know your heart must be full. I know the cookbook will be nothing short of a masterpiece, and I can’t wait to see it in the flesh. Please keep doing what you’re doing because your photos transport me to a happy place no matter what kind of mood I’m in, and your words and devotion to your craft are truly inspiring. Congratulations, enjoy it! :)

  11. Alanna, you goddess you! So proud. So happy. I cannot wait to hold this beauty in my hands. Also, this might be my favorite photography of yours of all time (which is incredibly hard to say given your body of work). All the love, xx!

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