It’s that time of year where zucchinis are popping up like wildflowers. It can be hard to think of what to do with them after you’ve sauteed, roasted and baked them for weeks. But, if you have a few stray zucchinis lying around – like we did from our CSA crops – I promise that this recipe is SO well worth it!
Topped with a peanut butter frosting, the rich chocolate batter is so moist from the zucchini but sweet enough with hunks of chocolate melting in your mouth. If your kids are picky eaters (or perhaps you are), they’ll easily down a few of these before you have the chance to tell them the secret ingredient.
Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
Adapted from a Better Homes and Gardens’ recipe
- 2 cups shredded zucchini (Tip: After shredding the zucchini, let it sit in a colander for about 30 minutes so that any water drains from it. Then, pat down with paper towels to get any residual. This helps so your cupcakes won’t be too watery from the excess liquid in the zucchini.)
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup cooking oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (Tip: Sift the flour. You could also use cake flour for a lighter, airy cake.)
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup milk chocolate pieces (I used semisweet chocolate chips)
For the frosting, you will need:
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/3 cup softened butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 24 cupcake tins with paper baking cups.
In a large bowl, stir together zucchini, eggs, granulated sugar, oil and vanilla. Next, add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, baking powder and chocolate pieces. Stir until combined. Using an ice cream scoop, fill the cups until about half full.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on racks.
To make the frosting, mix the peanut butter, softened butter, 1 tablespoon milk and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar until combined. Mix in additional milk (about 1-2 tablespoons) if needed so that the frosting reaches the desired consistency. Place the frosting in a piping bag (or a baggie) and frost the cooled cupcakes.
If you don’t like peanut butter or have a nut allergy, you can substitute this easy chocolate frosting:
What you’ll need for the chocolate frosting:
- 1 softened stick of butter
- 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 2 cups of powdered sugar
In a medium bowl, beat the butter and vanilla until smooth. Then, slowly mix in the powdered sugar. If needed, add a little milk to get to the desired consistency of your frosting. Finally, if you’d like a chocolate frosting, add the cocoa powder and mix until blended. (You can omit the cocoa powder if you just want a vanilla frosting.)
To easily decorate, add mini-Oreo or Nutter Butter cookies to the top of your cupcakes.
Pictured above: Some of my coworkers enjoyed these cupcakes so much that they were stashing away and hiding them. So, of course, they had a little fun with it and made a crime scene. Yes, these cupcakes are so tasty that they should be illegal!