Hello friends! In Philippines you’re allowed to celebrate your birthday all month long… and so I have. Even though my calories have been lowered (boo!) and my workouts have been stepped up (whoa!), I’ve still found time to relax a bit and really enjoy turning 47.
47!!! I know!! I kind of can’t believe it… especially when I consider that I remember my Granny Cox (my Ma’s mother) when she was 47. And no offence to that sweet, wonderful, and generous lady who made the best pies EVER, but to my 6-year-old self, she seemed kind of old. But somehow it doesn’t seem so old now. Go figure! I suppose age is what you make of it, and competing in a bodybuilding show for the first time “at my age” is maybe keeping me on the younger side of things. I hope so anyway!
I’m in the final 8 weeks of training before my competition, so of course my calories have dropped to help me lean out, but my sweet tooth hasn’t budged! And I just think people should eat cake on their birthday. Period. So I melded together two of my favourite recipes (Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Coconut Frosting and Chocolate Zucchini Almond Muffins), made a few more tweaks to lower the sugar content, and voila! We have a moist, dense, chocolatey loaf cake smothered in a rich, fudgey frosting that’s sugar & butter-free. You may be skeptical of all this “free-dom”, but let’s just say: MY KIDS LOVED IT! So there you go. A cake with 2 different vegetables (pumpkin and zucchini) and the kids were begging for more??! I lie not.
The pumpkin & zucchini add moisture, so the fat in this cake is minimal… only you would never know it, given how perfectly fudgy it is. The combination of flours (oat, almond, and whole wheat) lend a nice dense texture without being too dense. If you need it to be gluten-free, use certified GF oats and use all oat flour instead of the whole wheat.
Making this cake is ridiculously easy… just throw all the ingredients into your blender or food processor, blitz for a minute or so, stir in the zucchini, and then bake. The only thing you need to do in advance is cook the pumpkin (or just use canned.) It’s so easy I actually made it twice during my birthday week.
The secret ingredient of the frosting is avocado… yup, just like in the chocolate mousse. Avocado adds that silky richness to the frosting that just one-ups butter in my opinion. And instead of powdered sugar, I used a combination of unsweetened cocoa powder and chocolate protein powder. (Many protein powders use artificial sweeteners like asulfame-K, which I’m not a fan of… however, I’ve found several, like the Vega One line, that are sweetened with stevia, a natural herbal sweetener.) However, if you’d rather just use powdered sugar & cocoa powder, I’m sure that will work too, although I haven’t tested this option.
In Philippines, it’s the birthday person who treats family & friends to something yummy, not the other way around. So this is my gift to you… a delicious & easy treat that won’t “break your macros”… that’s what I say when I go over & above what I’m supposed to eat. But this cake fits perfectly every time.
Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Vegan “Buttercream” Frosting
The amount of protein powder you need in the frosting will depend on how big your avocados are. Start with the lower amount and add more as needed to thicken it.
For the cake:
- 2 T. flaxseed meal + 5 T. water (let stand 5 min to gel)
- ½ cup cooked pumpkin (peeled)
- ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- 2 T. almond butter
- 1 ½ t. vanilla
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup oat flour (I ground regular rolled oats in the blender)
- ¼ cup almond flour (or almond meal)
- ¼ cup whole wheat flour
- 2 T. chocolate protein powder (I used Vega One Sport Performance)
- 1 ½ T. stevia (can use ½ cup coconut sugar & omit stevia if desired)
- 1 t. baking powder
- ½ t. baking soda
- ¼ t. salt
- ½ cup shredded zucchini (don’t drain it)
For the frosting:
- 1 ½ large avocado (or 2 small)
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1- 1 ½ scoops chocolate protein powder (I used Vega One Sport Performance)
- ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
To make the cake, preheat oven to 350F (175 C.)
- Spray a 9x5 loaf tin with non-stick spray, and line with parchment.
- Combine all ingredients (except zucchini) in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
- Add zucchini and stir in with a wooden spoon.
- Scrape batter into prepared pan.
- Bake ~38-42 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out with only a few crumbs sticking to it.
- Cool thoroughly before frosting.
To make the frosting:
- Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until very smooth.
- Chill until time to frost the cake (can be made in advance.)