Chocolate Zucchini and Butternut Squash Muffins (healthy, vegan + gluten free)

On my Instagram, I often made a rendition of this delicious zucchini cake from Chocolate Covered Katie, who has been one of my top blogging inspirations! Two years ago, I made these incredible tofu fries from her website with hemp tofu! But unlike that recipe, I did not fill the kitchen with a vile stench. In fact, people were asking me what smelled so delicious once I pulled these muffins out of the oven!

Here’s the original cake that I made from my Instagram post:

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Fall quarter grocery bills from the farmers market have totally backfired on me, because I'm now in way too much of a surplus with the budget on my dining plan! I can't help it. Japanese sweet potatoes are the best plants in the world! 🍠😭🌎 A few days ago, I went grocery shopping at my school to buy the ingredients for @chocolatecoveredkatie's zucchini cake recipe, which turned out so so splendidly! Note that this is my first time baking with zucchini, and I was extremely nervous about the end result. However, I seriously deserve a pat on the back for this one! 🍰🥒 (yeah I know that's a cucumber but can we just pretend that's a zucchini please?) In light of #nationaldonutday, I attempted to carve out the best possible donut-shaped piece of this cake and top it with @plantfusion cookies n' creme two-ingredient protein "frosting" and a drizzle of vanilla @drinkorgain protein! 🍩✨ Thank you to Katie for this wonderful recipe–it's the perfect treat for days where you want something light, fluffy, and aromatic with carbs without the overload of sweetness and fattiness (if you make this cake oil free, which I did). Pictured above is half the yield, but I maybe or maybe didn't eat the entire cake… 🤷🏻‍♀️ #superfitbabe #ethicaleatingclub #hclf #glutenfree #pegan #wslf #rawtill4 #chocolatecoveredkatie #vegan #health #diet #nutrition #plantbased #bestlifeproject

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While I, along with friends who have tried my cake, absolutely adored this recipe (I made it at least two more times prior to this final adaptation), I did experiment with it from time to time. Using oat flour definitely yielded a chunkier texture, replacing baking soda with baking powder added more “gumminess” to the cake, and less liquid made the cake, well, much more dry. In short, I prefer sticking with gluten free all purpose flour and butternut squash instead of applesauce and oil! However, there was another missing touch that really screams “Cassie” loudly and clearly.

After a few minutes, the answer became clear: chocolate. DUH.


AKA, I am still obsessed with chocolate. No surprise! You will see why when I added some carob powder in this recipe. The taste, texture, flavor, smell, and appearance elevated to unfathomable heights!

For the most part, I always consume an entire batch of these muffins for brunch, or around one or two for a dessert. Being high in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, protein, and low in fat, you absolutely can eat an entire batch for a hearty meal! They taste delicious with mashed berries, two-ingredient protein frosting, nut butter, seed butter, tahini, and even this sweet potato kabocha pudding spread on top!


Chocolate screams my name. But so does curry, cauliflower, chickpeas, cinnamon, and of COURSE, sweet potatoes. Golly, sweet potatoes and chocolate are the best.

RECIPE (makes 10 medium-sized muffins)

  • 1 1/2 cups of gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup carob, cocoa, or cacao powder
  • 1 medium zucchini, finely and thinly cut or grated
  • 1 1/3 cups roasted butternut squash, mashed
  • 1/4-1/3 cup sweetener of choice or 1 1/2 TBSP liquid Stevia
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cup liquid of choice
  • Optional: grated carrot, apple chunks, walnuts, coconut, turmeric, pumpkin pie spice, etc.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Incorporate the mashed butternut squash, zucchini, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract.
  4. Carefully stir in the liquid, adding in around 1/4-1/2 cup at a time.
  5. Spray a cake tin, small loaf or brownie tin, or muffin tin with nonstick spray (or line with cupcake liners if using a muffin tin).
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a sharp toothpick or needle comes out clean.
  7. Let cool completely before serving.


What ingredient screams your personality? Have you ever baked with zucchini?

6 thoughts on “Chocolate Zucchini and Butternut Squash Muffins (healthy, vegan + gluten free)

  1. I feel like we must have done something horribly wrong. The middle never cooked through (even after 50 minutes!) and they were extraordinarily flat – didn’t rise at all and were slightly concave in the middle. Of course, we are super disappointed because we used all high quality ingredients. Any ideas on what we did wrong? Followed the recipe to a “t”.


    1. Hello Mary!
      I am so sorry that your muffins did not result in the batch you wanted. Flat muffins could consequently be from over-mixing the batter. Sometimes I have tried making this in different ovens and have yielded relatively different results due to temperature and size, which distributes heat in various ways (in my dorm oven vs. my home oven). Also, you can try using less liquid (I’d start with 1/4-1/2 cup less) and/or using smaller muffin tins to see if they will cook more thoroughly. Please let me know if this is of help to you! ❤


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