Thursday, August 28, 2014

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cupcakes

I'm going to do my very best to keep my posts seasonal. I make no guarantees because sometimes I get a hankering for something that is most unseasonal and the urge is just too irresistible. But I think we can all agree there is nothing worse than seeing a recipe for fresh peach crisp in the dead of winter when there are no peaches worth being called peaches around. All this to say, I will try not to set you up with cravings for pumpkin pie in the spring and watermelon salad when it's snowing outside. But I digress.

This week's seasonal bounty is zucchini so I have a few recipes to share that I hope you will enjoy. My eldest daughter just celebrated her 5th birthday and there is a slight chance I might have forced her to have these cupcakes. Maybe "forced" is too strong of a word choice but let's just say I didn't really present any other options. There is also a slim possibility she might have wailed (ever so briefly!) when she heard me utter the word "zucchini" in the same sentence as her beloved birthday dessert. Her sorrow was short-lived and then entirely forgotten when she realized the cupcakes came out not even resembling a vegetable in the least.

The addition of shredded zucchini (which keeps it's presence unknown) produces a cupcake that is moist and delicious, not to mention rich and chocolately. The original recipe said that the chocolate chips were optional but they MOST CERTAINLY ARE NOT!! If you're a chocolate chip omitter, alas, my blog might not be the place for you (coming from the girl who occasionally can be found hiding from her kids in the pantry, snacking on chocolate chips...)

But back to the recipe! The final result is a delicious chocolate cake that can be jazzed up with the frosting of your choice. Historically I have used a peanut butter frosting - a perfect pairing in my eyes! However, my 5-year-old-and-just-a-hair-opinionated daughter does not care for peanut butter and I knew this frosting would be a no-go. It was her birthday after all and so I opted for my mom's frosting recipe which is really better known as The Best Frosting Ever. It is buttery and sweet, but not the overly-sugary-store-bought-cake-frosting type of sweet. It contains both vanilla and almond extract which is heavenly and an absolute must, in my humble opinion. The frosting is dual-purpose  and works great on sugar cookies come Christmas time too. For this occasion, I dyed it pink and it complemented the cupcakes wonderfully while acting as the perfect vehicle for the star sprinkles that had been hand-selected for the occasion!

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cupcakes

2 cups shredded zucchini
3 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
¾ cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 recipe The Best Frosting Ever

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line twenty-four 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with double or single layer of paper bake cups or lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
In a large bowl stir together zucchini, eggs, granulated sugar, oil, and vanilla. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, baking powder and chocolate chips, stirring until combined. Spoon batter into prepared pans, filling cups about half full. Bake about 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove from cups. Cool completely on racks and frost.

Makes 24 cupcakes

The Best Frosting Ever

4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter
2 Tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon almond extract

Combine powdered sugar, butter, milk, vanilla and almond extracts in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat at medium-high speed, adding more milk as needed, until the frosting is a smooth consistency, about 3-5 minutes.

Makes enough for a 2-layer round cake or 24 cupcakes

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posted by kelsie