Double Chocolate Orange Courgette Loaf Cake (Vegan Gluten-Free)

This Double Chocolate Orange Courgette Loaf Cake is rich, fudgy and packed with healthier ingredients like banana, courgette and olive oil. It’s topped with a luscious chocolate yoghurt frosting and more chocolate

Nothing beats the combination of chocolate and orange especially with Christmas and Thanksgiving coming up so quickly. So, while this loaf is great all year round, it’s especially delicious in the cooler, winter months when you crave something rich and chocolatey but also want to add in some healthier ingredients. This cake ticks all the boxes and even contains hidden vegetables, too, not that you’d ever tell.

A Double Chocolate Orange Courgette Loaf Cake on a wire rack with a knife
Chocolate Orange Courgette Loaf Cake

Why will I love this cake?

This loaf is amazing:

  • Rich, fudgy and chocolatey
  • Melts in your mouth
  • Packed with good-for-you ingredients
  • Has hidden vegetables inside
  • Perfect crowd-pleaser dessert for afternoon tea
  • Naturally vegan, egg-free and dairy-free
  • Easily gluten-free and nut-free
  • Easy to make in one bowl
  • Topped with a healthy chocolate yoghurt frosting
  • Ideal for the holidays or all year round

If you already love the sound of this courgette loaf then skip ahead to the recipe card below. Or, first let’s discuss the recipe in more detail.

What ingredients do I need?

The ingredient list is simple and you can see the weights in the recipe card and see my favourites in the “shop the recipe” section below.

For the loaf:

  • Courgette: aka zucchini. This is the hidden vegetable in the loaf cake and makes the better moist, tender and with some added fibre and green goodness.
  • Plant-based milk: you can use your favourite dairy-free milk here like oat, almond, soya or coconut (form the carton).
  • Apple cider vinegar: this curdles the milk to form a buttermilk and bind the batter.
  • Coconut sugar: or you can use golden or regular caster sugar.
  • Banana: this is great for moisture, and to replace the need for eggs in this vegan cake. You can also use mashed sweet potato, pumpkin or applesauce.
  • Olive oil: this is the fat in the loaf to make it moist and tender. You can use light olive oil or another oil like melted and cooled coconut oil, avocado, sunflower or walnut oil.
  • Vanilla essence and salt: for flavour.
  • Orange: zest the orange for flavour to make this chocolate loaf cake the most delicious.
  • Plain or gluten free plain flour: keeps this cake nice and moist. If using gluten-free flour, make sure it’s a 1:1 baking blend and that is has a gum in, to bind the batter.
  • Cocoa powder: makes the cake really chocolatey. I prefer cocoa to cacao powder here as it’s more acidic and will react better with the raising agents, making a lighter loaf.
  • Raising agents: for the rise.
  • Dark chocolate: I made this with the dark chocolate orange and ginger bar from Divine as the flavours are perfect. Chop the chocolate into chunks and add into the batter, or use chocolate chips.

For the frosting:

  • Thick coconut yoghurt: this is perfect for a healthier frosting and I always use the Cocos Organic natural or vanilla yoghurt.
  • Cocoa powder: to make the frosting rich and chocolatey.
  • Maple syrup: to add sweetness and a nice sticky texture.
  • Extra chocolate and orange slices: to decorate.

Is this gluten-free and nut-free?

This is easily gluten-free as long as you use gluten-free plain flour and make sure this is nut-free by checking the ingredient list on your chocolate, yoghurt and milk.

How do I make this?

This is easy to make:

  • Grate the courgette: and allow to rest and squeeze out the moisture.
  • Whisk together all the wet ingredients for the cake: until smooth.
  • Sift in the dry ingredients: and mix again until smooth.
  • Fold in the chocolate and courgette: and mix again.
  • Pour into the loaf tin: and add more chocolate chunks.
  • Bake for 50 minutes: or until well-risen and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool fully: first in the tin and then on a wire rack.
  • Mix together the frosting ingredients: until smooth.
  • Spread the frosting over the cake: and decorate with more chocolate and orange slices.

How long will this last?

This cake will keep for 3-5 days in the fridge, in a sealed container, although best eaten at room temperature. You can freeze the unfrosted loaf, wrapped well, for 1 month and allow to defrost before decorating.

A Double Chocolate Orange Courgette Loaf Cake with orange slices
Double Chocolate Orange Courgette Loaf Cake

What else can I bake?

If you are looking for other bakes to try:

A Double Chocolate Orange Courgette Loaf Cake on a wire rack with a knife

Double Chocolate Orange Courgette Loaf Cake (Vegan Gluten-Free)

Yield: 1 loaf (serves 10)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

This Double Chocolate Orange Courgette Loaf Cake is rich, fudgy and packed with healthier ingredients like banana, courgette and olive oil. It’s topped with a luscious chocolate yoghurt frosting and more chocolate


For the Loaf:

  • 1 medium courgette/zucchini, grated (grated weight is 160-170g)
  • 240ml plant-based milk + 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 140g coconut or caster sugar
  • 1 ripe banana (100g, or 100g applesauce)
  • 80ml light olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 240g plain or GF plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 90g dark chocolate, chopped up

For Frosting:

  • 200g thick coconut yoghurt
  • 2-3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • Dark chocolate, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 160Fan/180ºC and line a 9x5-inch loaf tin with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare the courgette: grate the courgette and then place in a thin towel over a sieve for 5 minutes. Now squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can, so you have 100-110g of courgette left.
  3. Prepare the buttermilk: stir together the milk and apple cider vinegar and leave for 5 minutes to curdle.
  4. For the batter: pour the buttermilk mix, sugar, banana, olive oil and vanilla into a large mixing bowl and whisk well. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and add the salt. Whisk to a thick, smooth chocolate batter. Add in most of the chocolate and break up the grated courgette as you add it into the bowl. Fold to combine, being carefully to not over-mix the batter.
  5. To bake: pour into the tin and smooth over the top. Add on the extra chocolate pieces and bake for 50-55 minutes until well-risen and an inserted skewer comes but clean from the middle of the cake.
  6. To cool: leave in the tin for 15 minutes then carefully lift out to cool fully.
  7. For the frosting: whisk together the yoghurt, cocoa powder and syrup till thick and smooth.
  8. To decorate: swirl the frosting over the loaf and decorate with orange slices and more chocolate.
  9. Slice and serve straight away or keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 3-5 days or in the freezer for 1 month, wrapped well and ideally without the frosting. Allow to defrost before frosting and decorate as above.

Shop the recipe

Stay in touch

I look forward to hearing what you think of this Double Chocolate Orange Courgette Loaf Cake so please let me know in the comments below and leave a star review above. If you do make this, I’d love to see so please tag me, I’m @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy. I’m also on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest  – please say hello!

With choc orange courgette love x

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