Why Zucchini Is The Perfect Keto Baking Substitute

If you're following a ketogenic diet, it means that you're going for options that are low in carbs and high in fats (via Healthline). While the high fat component is easy to accommodate if you have a sweet tooth — many desserts are packed with butter and cream — the low carb aspect makes baking challenging. After all, if you're trying to cut back on or altogether avoid flour and other carb-filled ingredients, how are you supposed to bake anything?

The answer lies in one simple vegetable — zucchini. Incorporating grated zucchini is an absolute game-changer when it comes to crafting low-carb baked goods. The primary perk is that it adds a hefty dose of moisture to the cake, ensuring that it doesn't dry out, no matter how you tinker with the rest of the recipe (via My PCOS Kitchen). The one thing to be mindful of, however, is actually the moisture content. Before adding grated zucchini to your batter, you want to ensure you squeeze out as much of the water as possible. Neglecting this step might introduce a bit too much liquid to your baked good, and create an end result that is soggy rather than scrumptious.

Zucchini also helps maintain a soft, crumbly cake texture, which can also be a challenge in keto baking. The recipe from My PCOS Kitchen uses almond flour, coconut flour, and a sugar substitute called Sukrin Gold, but you can play around with the carb substitutes you prefer.

A versatile, flavorless addition

When you think of vegetables in baked goods, chances are that carrots are the first thing that comes to mind. However, while carrot cake is delicious, many on a keto diet might avoid carrots because they're relatively high in carbs compared to non-starchy alternatives (via Healthline). Zucchini has another advantage over carrot cake beyond the lower carb content — the versatility.

As Sally's Baking Addiction explains, zucchini is basically flavorless. This means that you can incorporate any flavorings you want in your recipe, and the zucchini won't stand in the way of that flavor profile. The layer cake that My PCOS Kitchen crafted was relatively light on the flavoring, incorporating a hint of ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. However, chocolate and zucchini form another classic combination, and the addition of zucchini can help create an incredibly moist chocolate cake. Or, add a citrus twist and create a recipe flavored with lemon juice and zest (via Mom On Timeout). For a seasonal treat? Gingerbread has a strong flavor profile, and zucchini would make a great addition to the holiday staple packed with warming spices (via Allrecipes).

Additionally, since zucchini creates a more dense, moist batter, it can be used to make everything from muffins to loaf cakes, giving you limitless keto-friendly baking options. Take advantage of the short time span in the late summer when zucchini is in season (via Cooking Light) and try out a few different recipes!