Broccoli for Dessert! Chocolate Broccoli Cake

There can’t possibly be broccoli in this gorgeous, fudgy chocolate cake, right?

Most people don’t think of dessert when they think of broccoli, I know I generally didn’t! But this recipe by David A. Gabbe will change your mind about that.

Just like many of you, I was a little stumped about what to cook when I first went vegan in 2009. There were some resources online and a few cookbooks out there, but a lot of my information came from groups, like NW Veg, my local Portland VegFest, and cooking classes. One of the best cooking classes I ever attended was a Vegan Thanksgiving class by David Gabbe at Portland Community College. I still make many of the recipes from that class. His cookbook, Dave’s Vegan Home Cooking, is one of my favorites, full of whole food, gluten-free recipes.

I mean, who doesn’t like broccoli?!?

David’s Chocolate Broccoli Cake is one of my favorite desserts to serve. Not only is it delicious, but it is loaded with fiber and the benefits of cruciferous veggies. I like to take it to events where I’m serving non-plant-based eaters, like the Mother’s Day Tea, the Duvall Chamber of Commerce, and my neighborhood Bunco group! Before I retired, I used to make Chocolate Broccoli Cake and bring it to the fire station where the crews gobbled it up, unaware that it was full of wonderful broccoli (if firefighters will eat it, you KNOW it’s a rockin’ recipe!), so it’s firefighter-tested and approved. It’s also a great way to use leftover broccoli, especially broccoli stems and scraps, so it’s one for your Zero Waste arsenal.

So, without further ado, I bring you David A. Gabbe’s Chocolate Broccoli Cake with Chocolate Sauce! I’m so honored that David has given me permission to share his amazing recipe with you. Please, get his cookbook, Dave’s Vegan Home Cooking, for more fabulous recipes like this one.

Making Chocolate Broccoli Cake

It looks like the makings for a smoothie! Clockwise from left: Dry ingredients, peanut butter, plant milk, vanilla, and steamed broccoli stems and florets.

This recipe starts with mixing the dry ingredients. It calls for oat flour, vegan chocolate chips, cocoa powder, sugar (I use date or coconut sugar, whichever I have on hand), flax seed meal, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. If you have a high speed blender, don’t buy oat flour, simply process oats in your blender and voilà, oat flour! The same goes for flax seed meal, buy whole seeds and grind that in your blender as well. Not only is it less expensive to do it this way, the flour and meal are less likely to go rancid on you if you grind your own.

Next you combine the broccoli, nut butter, plant milk, and vanilla in the blender and blend until completely smooth. Now it really does look like a smoothie!

Blended wet ingredients.

Pour this into the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into a prepared baking dish. I line mine with parchment paper to avoid using oil.

Parchment paper eliminates the need for oiling the pan, makes it easy to remove the cake after it’s baked, and cleans up so much simpler! You can compost the paper afterward.

Bake at 350˚F for approximately 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Note, I use a 7.5×9.5-inch pan instead of an 8×8, and takes 60 minutes for mine in my oven.

While the cake bakes, make the chocolate sauce. Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and heat until dark and bubbly, stirring constantly. I use vegan chocolate chips instead of the oil or margarine, and it works perfectly! It may seem too loose, but it firms up as it cools.

Chocolate Sauce for the top.

Let your cake cool. You can ice in the pan or, if you want to serve cut pieces, like for a potluck or tea party, remove the cake from the pan and cut prior to icing. If your sauce has firmed up too much, simply warm back up on the stove, stirring, until you’ve reached your desired consistency.

I put a dollop of sauce on each piece and garnish with fresh berries.

Sauce pours nicely onto the cut pieces when it’s warmed up!

Raspberries and strawberries go great with this cake and really cut through the richness.

Fudgy, delicious…broccoli! I promise, you’ll never even know it’s in there!

I hope you try this cake out. It really is super easy and awesomely delicious! And, it always gives me a little thrill to know that it is full of nutritious broccoli. No one has ever tasted it and guessed it was a broccoli cake, I promise, it doesn’t taste like it. And if you’re looking for more wonderful whole, plant-based, gluten-free recipes like this one, go check out David Gabbe’s cookbook, Dave’s Vegan Home Cooking (and when you do, make sure to make the Millet Cornbread, honestly, people beg for that one!).

Let me know how it goes!

David’s book would go nicely in your vegan cookbook collection along with my giveaway cookbook!

Fast & Easy Vegan Cookbook Giveaway

I’ll draw one winner August 21, 2019 for JL Fields’ new , before you can even buy it online or in stores!

You want this cookbook! It brings a new selection of fresh meals to your table, pronto! From one-pot to pressure cooker, choose your favorite cooking method―without being held hostage for hours in your kitchen. It includes 100 quick and tasty vegan recipes, plus tips for ingredient substitution and other easy customizations, and handy labels for gluten-free, nut-free, oil-free, or soy-free diets.

So hurry and enter by August 20th. Open to U.S. residents only.

JL Fields Fast and Easy Cookbook Giveaway

You can also pre-order the book or order it after the contest is over on Amazon.

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4.20 from 25 votes

Chocolate Broccoli Cake with Chocolate Sauce

This moist, fudgy, rich chocolate cake is one of my favorites! It's a great way to use up leftover broccoli and no one will ever guess it's loaded with it! Make it for your next potluck or gathering and chuckle as you watch kids and adults devour it! (Recipe posted by permission from David A. Gabbe.)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Kids, Soy-Free
Keyword broccoli, chocolate
Servings 8 servings
Calories 520.9kcal


  • 4 cups raw broccoli cut in bite-sized pieces

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups oat flour (see notes below on how to make your own)
  • ½ cup non-dairy vegan chocolate chips
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup sugar or evaporated cane juice
  • ¼ cup flax seed meal
  • 2 tsp baking powder aluminum-free
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt

Wet Ingredients

Chocolate Sauce

  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar or evaporated cane juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon


For Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Place broccoli in steamer basket and steam 3 minutes.
  • In bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  • In blender, blend broccoli, milk, peanut butter, and vanilla, until smooth.
  • Pour blender mix into bowl of dry ingredients, mixing well.
  • Transfer batter into an 8x8 (or similar sized) glass baking dish lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake 40 minutes. Let cool. Spread with Chocolate Sauce.

For Chocolate Sauce

  • In saucepan, combine first four dry ingredients.
  • Add milk and mix thoroughly.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients and whisk over medium heat, adding more milk as necessary for smooth consistency.
  • Makes 2 cups.


To make your own oat flour, simply blend rolled oats in a blender until they turn into flour. You'll have much fresher, less expensive, and plastic-packaging-free oat flour this way.
Refrigerate leftover cake and use within 5 days or freeze.
For Mocha Broccoli Cake, add 1-2 tbsp instant coffee (granules or powder) to blender ingredients.
Refrigerate any leftover chocolate sauce and use within 7 days.
Recipe from David's Vegan Home Cooking. Posted by permission from David A. Gabbe.


Calories: 520.9kcal | Carbohydrates: 85.2g | Protein: 15.4g | Fat: 17.9g | Saturated Fat: 7.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4.6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4.5g | Cholesterol: 0.1mg | Sodium: 517.5mg | Potassium: 812.3mg | Fiber: 12.1g | Sugar: 47.3g | Vitamin A: 634.6IU | Vitamin C: 47.1mg | Calcium: 310.3mg | Iron: 5mg


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