Zucchini Cupcakes with Creamy Caramel Frosting

So you guys probably remember my epic frosting fail last week, right?

I actually ended up keeping that failed batch in the fridge up until last night when I finally decided it needed to be tossed. Otherwise, I would have slowly eaten my way through the entire bowl and that just would have been bad for business.

Luckily, my second take on the frosting turned out juuuust fine.


Actually, it’s more than fine. It’s incredible. And it’s caramel.


I had one last zucchini sitting and waiting to be used up last week, and then my friend Mal sent me the link to a recipe for zucchini cupcakes that immediately intrigued me. I was sold on the cupcakes + zucchini combo, but when I saw caramel frosting? Ohhhh myyyy…


I do love me some caramel. Winking smile


I ended up getting exactly 24 cupcakes out of this batch, although the one dozen I baked in my pretty cupcake holders (a gift from the lovely Tina from my Blogger Holiday Gift Exchange a couple of years ago) used a bit less batter than the full cupcakes.


Just look a those tiny little specs of zucchini in there! They’re saying, “Hey, it’s okay to eat me because I’m filled with veggies!”


Alright then. I’ll have two.


Zucchini Cupcakes with Creamy Caramel Frosting

(slightly adapted from Taste of Home)

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Bake Time: 20 mins + cooling
  • Yield: 20-24

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1-1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2-1/2 cups flour* (I used 1-1/2 c. all-purpose + 1 c. whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1-1/2 cups finely shredded/chopped zucchini (I pulsed mine in a food processor)

Creamy Caramel Frosting

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or cow’s milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 – 2-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two muffin pans with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, beat the eggs, egg whites, sugar, applesauce, orange juice and extract. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to egg mixture and mix well. Stir in zucchini.
  • Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.
  • For frosting, combine the brown sugar, butter and almond milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Cool to lukewarm (*I waited about 45 minutes).
  • Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar, about a half cup at a time, until frosting reaches spreading consistency. Frost cupcakes.

My frosting was still slightly runnier than most of my other buttercream frostings, but I just put it in the fridge and it was fine.

Enjoy! Smile


    • Courtney says

      Oooooo YUM!! I hope you love them! Jay and I still have two more leftover from when we made them last week :)

  1. Karen says

    “1/2 cup canola unsweetened applesauce”

    Was this supposed to say just applesauce??


    • Courtney says

      I’m sure it could be substituted. You really don’t taste much of the OJ flavor (if any) so I’d say give it a shot!

  2. says

    Made a version of your Zucchini Oatmeal bread today!!


    A neighbor gave us a huge zucchini so I have been checking out your recipes.
    I decided to make mini muffins instead. Great recipe!

    • Courtney says

      I use a reusable pastry bag that I can change out the tips with, which I got from my local confectionery store

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