Eggless Chocolate Bottle Gourd Cake

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(from 6 reviews)
Eggless Chocolate Cake

Bottle Gourd in a cake? Sounds weird right? The credit for this one goes to my friend and neighbor R. Couple of months back she wanted to try the eggless zucchini bread recipe I had posted. She didn't have zucchini in hand and she told me that she used bottle gourd instead.

We were eagerly waiting to taste the bread but she told me that the bread did not turn out good because of some problem with the oven. From then onwards I have wanted to try bottle gourd in a cake because quite often people ask me what they can substitute for zucchini.

Finally, I tried it in this cake and the verdict is I would use it in a rich chocolate cake but not in any other cake/muffin recipe. The cocoa masks most of the smell from the bottle gourd. Usually, my husband is the first to point out things like this, but even he couldn't notice any difference and my son too.

I have made a couple of other substitutions also in this recipe. I posted an eggless chocolate cake recipe using silken tofu back in August 2008 and since then I've been asked the following questions.

A couple of visitors have tried the original recipe incorporating a few substitutions thereby answering some of the questions above and also have left their feedback. But I thought I should do it and check it out for myself.

I decided to attend to all these questions in one go. So that's what this recipe is about. I'm very glad that I did it because it turned out to be a very healthy chocolate cake and is absolutely delicious.

To start with I halved the measurements to get one cake. Last time I had used two 9 inch pans, so this time I went with one 8 inch round pan. I had both white whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour (both are preferred substitutes for all-purpose flour) at home but decided to go with regular whole wheat flour itself because the former may not be available in all places.

Usually it is recommended to start with substituting 1/3rd of all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. So it would be 2/3rds of white flour and 1/3rd of wheat flour. But I decided to change it and went with 3/4ths of whole wheat flour. I used the whole wheat flour I bought from the Indian grocery store, but don't remember the brand.

I have used 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce instead of oil. But to give a taste which is closer to the original I have added 2 tablespoons of oil. So if you are already using oil instead of applesauce you may omit this 2 tablespoons of oil.

Since we are experimenting with yogurt as egg substitute this month and as it's also available everywhere, I decided to use it instead of silken tofu.

The substitutions did not stop with the cake, it continued to the frosting also. I did not have confectioner's sugar at home and since I'm trying to be on a "shopping-diet" I didn't want to buy it either. I had some chocolate chips and baking bars in hand.

But those frostings require whipping cream which I didn't have either. Then all of a sudden a light bulb flashed! My son drinks Ovaltine (chocolate malt drink like Bournvita and Boost) and that powder is so fine, the texture resembles that of confectioner's sugar. So I decided to use it for the frosting. I was really wowed by the result. It was so good and tasty.

Even after all these substitutions the cake has come out very well. It's not light and fluffy. It's moist and slightly dense but the taste is unbelievable. We are literally digging in the cake every day. My husband who is a health nut is also enjoying it as much as we are.


Chocolate Bottle Gourd Cake Recipe

Prep TimeCook TimeMakes
15 Mins38 MinsOne 8-Inch OR 9-Inch Cake
Eggless Chocolate Bottle Gourd Cake
5.0 from 6 reviews
Can a rich chocolate cake be healthy enough to eat for breakfast? Yes it can be! This eggless chocolate recipe is the answer.
Ingredients For Cake:
  • 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 6 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Applesauce (you could use oil too)
  • 2 tablespoons Canola oil (Only if using applesauce)
  • 1/4 cup Hot Coffee
  • 1/4 cup Milk (Omit it if using Zucchini/Bottlegourd)
  • 1/4 cup Yogurt (I used plain non fat, measured it with dry measuring cup)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Bottle Gourd, grated (Optional. You can use zucchini too)
Ingredients For Frosting:
  • 3 tablespoons Margarine/butter at room temperature (I used Promise, Heart Health)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups Powdered sugar (I used Ovaltine. The one I used did not have eggs in the ingredients list.)
  • 1/4 cup Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3-4 tablespoons Fat Free Milk

It yields about 3/4th cup of frosting, enough for one 8-inch or 9-inch cake.

Cake Procedure:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F for 15 minutes. Lightly grease an 8-inch round cake pan and dust it with cocoa powder. Update: I baked this cake before I knew about the parchment paper trick. Since I knew that I haven't baked a cake without it. Take a sheet of parchment paper, place the pan you want to use on the paper and trace the shape with a pencil. Cut it out. Spray the cake tin with non-stick spray, place the parchment cut out and spray it lightly once again.
  2. Grate the bottle gourd/zucchini, if using. After grating, I also coarsely chopped it with a knife. Measure 1 cup and transfer it to a bowl. Let the water secrete from the gratings. If using the water you may omit the 1/4 cup of milk later.
  3. In a large bowl sift together the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, and sugar. Make a well.
  4. Add all the wet ingredients one by one.
  5. With an electric mixer, beat the mixture on low speed for 2-3 minutes until the dry and wet ingredients are well combined. Do not over beat it.
  6. Add the grated bottle gourd/zucchini, if using. Mix together.
  7. Pour the batter in the prepared pan. Tap the pan a couple of times so the batter is spread evenly and there are no air bubbles.
  8. My cake was ready only around 38 minutes. I think it took longer because it was a dense batter with the whole wheat flour, applesauce, and the bottle gourd. So start checking from about 20 minutes, depending upon the ingredients you are using. A toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake should come clean.
  9. Once out of the oven, transfer the pan to a wiring rack to cool. After about an hour remove the cake from the pan and let the cake cool completely before frosting. Update: If you follow the parchment trick, the cake will come out clean just after 15 minutes. This will also avoid excess moisture due to the heat trapped inside the pan.
For Frosting:
  1. In a medium size bowl add the margarine, Ovaltine (powdered sugar) and cocoa powder. Start beating with an electric mixer on low speed. At this stage, it may seem to be very dry. Don't panic. Wait until you add the milk.
  2. Add milk little by little and continue beating the mixture till you get a nice spreadable consistency. I used around 3 tablespoons of milk.
  3. Now transfer the cake to a plate and start frosting it. I'm very lousy at it. Somehow managed to cover the cake with the frosting. But it was easier this time when compared to my first attempt. The frosting was in the correct consistency.
  4. I saw this technique of using the back of a spoon to create swirls on the frosting. Tried it and I think it looked somewhat close. Create an indentation on the frosting with the back of a spoon close to each other.
My Notes:
  1. I think my cake had too much moisture content because of the milk, hot coffee and the water from the bottle gourd. I think that's also one of the reasons it took so much time to bake. Also when I removed the cake from the pan I found that it was very wet. I had to use a couple of kitchen paper towels to blot the water. So I also refrigerated the cake for a couple of hours before frosting it. That's the reason I have mentioned to omit milk if using grated bottle gourd or zucchini.
  2. The recipe for the frosting is from 1001 Low Fat Vegetarian Recipes. The original recipe requires margarine or butter. I didn't have both. So I used the Promise blend which we have it on our toast. I was worried if it would work or not, but was so excited to see that the frosting came out beautifully.
  3. There are 2 types of Ovaltine available. I used the Ovaltine which is fortified with 8 vitamins and minerals. I used Ovaltine because I didn't have confectioner's sugar at home, but in a way, it worked out for the best. 4 tablespoons of Ovaltine (ie) 1/4 cup has 15gms sugar whereas the sugar content in 1/4 cup of confectioner's sugar is 29gms. I checked it in the grocery store. So I think this frosting is even better and healthier than the original one. Even though Ovaltine has lesser sugar content than confectioner's sugar, I found the frosting was a bit too sweet for my taste. Then imagine how it would have been had I used powdered sugar.
  4. If you are going to try the Ovaltine frosting, I would recommend decreasing the quantity of sugar in the cake to even 1/2 cup. I think this cake is a pretty healthy cake but for its sugar content.
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Eggless Chocolate Cake

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  1. Sunita

    Thanks so much for this fantastic recipe, Madhu 🙂 Its my first successfully eggless cake and it was rich, dense and absolutely melt-in-the-mouth. I made it without the zucchini/bottle gourd and used homemade applesauce. The cake mixture tasted a bit bitter, so I added some extra sugar – a little less than 1/4 cup. Maybe it was the coffee. Also added 1/4 cup milk to compensate moisture.
    DH is a hardcore vegetarian and only ate cakes from Jain bakeries back in India. I’m so glad to be able to actually bake a cake he can eat!

    • Madhuram

      You’re welcome Sunita. It could also be that the baking powder/soda was old or did not mix well. Or it could be the coffee too.

  2. bhaskari iyer

    hello madhu mam,
    i live in india and this is the first cake i have tried. i baked it in
    microwave oven at high(100 C) for 4min and then med(70-80 C) for 2 min
    and it came out rised and fluffy. i greased a borosil bake & serve with
    butter and poured the batter into it and covered the top with foil.

    • Madhuram

      Thanks for the feedback Bhaskari. It’s great to know that this recipe is microwave oven compatible.

  3. Vijaya

    Hi Madhu,
    Thanks to you, I am able to bake cakes for every occassion. I made the I cant believe cake for my son’s first birthday (for around 70 guests). Now, I made this one for my husband’s birthday – he is a fitness freak and so wouldnt like a high-calorie one. I tried it for the first time and the cake was great. I guess only after I discovered your site I am able to bake with confidence – Thank you!


    • Madhuram

      Wow! that’s great Vijaya. I have never done anything close to what you have done. Great job.

  4. Sarah

    I LOVE this recipe. I didn’t use the yogurt because of a milk allergy also, just used more applesauce. I used zucchini instead of the bottle gourd (whatever that is)! I baked this cake for my son’s 1st birthday. I frosted it with a store bought white frosting and it was WONDERFUL! I will use this again for sure! Once again, thank you so much for eggless recipes!

    That’s great to know Sarah. Bottle gourd is an Indian vegetable. If you are a fan of chocolate zucchini combo, you should try the following chocolate cake recipe too:

  5. Naisha

    Thanks Madhu for replying back… You are pretty fast.. I am impressed..

    I did add oil.. I didnt add zucchini and applesauce.. I think i may have added more than 1/4th tsp of coffee to 1/4 cup of water, which could have made the batter bitter (hence bland). But dont worry, it wasnt too bland to eat. I finished half myself and my friend liked it too 🙂

    Yes, sponge was moist, may be beacuse of milk, yogurt and coffee. They too have water content. So, you think applesauce makes the sponge much better? Will use it next time for sure and let you know.
    Sponge was very soft and crumbly. Was it same with you?

    Thanks again!

    Oh! Okay. I thought you didn’t add oil and applesauce and was wondering how it turned out moist. If I remember right, mine was not crumbly. I think its because of the applesauce as it binds the batter together.

  6. Naisha

    Hello Madhu,

    I tried this cake(without frosting) and made a few changes due to unavailabilty of ingredients:
    1. I didnt use zucchini.
    2. I didnt use applesauce (i was too eager).

    I think i used little instant coffee to make hot coffee, but something went wrong . The cake turned out a little bland. May be i used too much coffee powder.
    Or was it that i had to increase the qty of sugar, since i ommited applesauce?
    The sponge came out very moist and dense, as i was expecting. The color of sponge was very almost blackish brown and not reddish brown as yours.
    Any idea what could have gone wrong?
    Can you tell how much tsp of coffee shld i put in 1/4 cup of water?
    I think i am the only one whose cake didnt came out well. Pls reply.

    Hi Naisha, the applesauce and zucchini adds moisture to the batter and adding oil will give flavor to the cake. You haven’t mentioned if you added any oil at all. I have mentioned to substitute oil if you are not using applesauce and even if using applesauce I have asked to add little bit oil. Actually I’m suprised that the cake did come out well inspite of lack of enough moisture. Did you use whole wheat flour or all purpose flour alone? If you had used 3/4th cup of whole wheat flour like me and had you omitted oil/applesauce I sort of understand why the cake turned out bland. Plain whole wheat flour requires a lot of masking while using it for baking. Since I did not taste the cake I baked without frosting I’m not sure if mine was bland too. With frosting it was divine. Maybe that’s another reason.

    Regarding the color, I wouldn’t go by the picture because sometimes its the light and enhancements. For the coffee, I think 1/8th to 1/4th teaspoon of coffee powder should be fine for 1/4 cup. I remember mixing 1 teaspoon of instant powder with 1 cup of hot water for the original 2 layers recipe. So for this single layer it should be definitely much less. Hope this helps.

  7. Parul

    Thanks for your reply Madhu..I hope i can call you that..i love this name and my mom’s name is Madhu too 😛
    It is my 7th yr anniversary on this coming saturday..naah m not that old it is the day when my husband proposed to me..ur link is really useful and m gona definitely try it out..
    Thanks again!!!

    Sure no problem Parul. Everybody calls me that only. Happy Anniversary Parul.

    • Lenna

      Stay with this guys, you’re helinpg a lot of people.

      • Madhuram

        Thanks Lenna.

  8. Parul

    Hello Madhu..

    well i just came across your website while searching fot a eggless cake..i have a few questions for you:
    a) can i have this cake micowave made..if yes what shud be the time set for the HIGH temp.
    b)you said OVALTINE for frosting..can I use the normal sugar and powder it in a mixer???

    Please do reply..I wana try it in my microwave for my hubby 😛

    Parul, I have tried baking in microwave oven just once and it didn’t come out well. So I did not venture in it afterwards. See if this link helps you. Regarding the frosting, you could use a mix of powdered sugar and cocoa powder.

  9. Megna Anjali Summoogum

    i am from india. i have just tried it it was awesome 😀 feels like eating all myself!

    Thanks Megna.

  10. Anamika Duwaragan

    Hi Madhuram Acca,
    This is Anamika. This looks sooooo tempting. Plz find a house near your place for me. So, I can come and bug you to make this. 😆

    Welcome to my blog Anamika. I would love to have you as my neighbor.

  11. Shobana

    Hey Madhuram..,

    I tried out this cake it came out very well. All my Winnipeg friends liked it..,probably in another few days your website might become too busy with hits from Winnipegers:-)


    You’re welcome Shobana.

  12. manisha

    hey hii
    i read ur cake procedure..
    i wana know that “bottle gourd” is nt available in my near by market.. any substitute?
    and i will b makin it in microwave nt oven so hw mucha temprature…
    and butter can i use amul butter or mother dairy butter?

    Manisha, you could use zucchini instead and any unsalted butter is fine. I have not baked in mw ovens, so I’m not familiar with the temp/settings etc.

  13. sushma

    Hi Madhu,
    Can i use great value baking powder i got tht in walmart and in november….or any specific brand we have to use for baking powder and baking soda…..

    Sushma, you can use any brand of bp/bs. It is advisable to use aluminum free baking powder.

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  17. Veena

    Hey, the cake and frosting sounds almost fantastical, but i was a little concerned because i remember reading somewhere that one of the ingrediants in ovaltine is egg, infact that is where it got part of its name from – ovum- latin for egg.

    In the 30th comment I have given the link to the ingredients list for the Ovaltine I have used and it does’nt have eggs in it. That being said I’m not sure if any of the chemicals mentioned there refers to egg in some form or the other.

  18. sheetal

    Just a quick question. Can we Make the cake without putting Zucchini or Bottle Ground.

    Sure Sheetal. I think it would be better to increase the amount of liquid in the recipe, around 1/4 cup may be.

  19. Nandhini

    Added to my previous question, Shall i omit Baking Powder and add some more Baking Soda. It was mentioned in one of the sites that baking powder makes the cakes denser. Can u clarify on this.

    I’m not sure about this Nandhini. I thought that baking powder makes the cake airy.

  20. Nandhini

    Hi Madhuram,
    This weekend i am planning to try this out. I havent tried anything from ur site after Vegan Date Cake. My sister is coming this weekend for a function at home and i want to prepare this cake for her kid. In ur ingredient, u mentioned whole wheat flour. Do u mean Whole wheat pastry flour or just whole wheat flour (which we use it for making parathas). As i live in India I wont get whole wheat pastry flour. Pl clarify. ( in ur previous reply u mentioned about using orange juice while using whole wheat flour).

    Nandhini, I used the regular whole wheat flour. Also the substitute for whole wheat pastry flour is mixing maida and whole wheat flour in equal proportion. I read in King Arthur’s Wholegrain Baking that using orange juice will reduce the unpleasantness in taste and texture which occurs while using wheat flour. But I have not tried this so far. But this cake tasted good even without the addition of orange juice.

  21. Vidya

    hey you should read the ingredients on the Ovaltine because Ovaltine has eggs.

    Hi Vidya, Here is the ingredient list for the Ovaltine that I used in this recipe. I did check for eggs while buying it – it didn’t have them. Perhaps there is a scientific term for eggs which I don’t know. Check it out and please let me know.

  22. rakhi

    let me know the receipe for preparing Unsweetened Applesauce & Hot Coffee for the above cake.

    Rakhi, if you live in North America unsweetened applesauce is available in stores. But it can also be prepared at home very easily. Just peel the apple and chop it. Cook it on stove top or microwave oven using little water and grind it smoothly.

    For the coffee, just heat 1/4 cup of water and add little instant coffee powder and dissolve it.

  23. angelina amores

    hi!thank u for sharing eggless recipe,spcially the cake w/ ovaltine frosting! sounds delicious! am sure it is….

  24. suparna

    Great innovative cake madhuram:) liked ur idea of ovaltine for frosting 🙂 I enjoy going through ur recipes and drool over the food pics ;)I am a learner still taking baby steps in baking and overall cooking. It’s great n inspiring to see ur rich n innovative recipes. U r doing a fantastic job! Kudos.

  25. Dhanya

    Looks very yummy and moist. You are very creative yaar.