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Zucchini Cupcakes with Creamy Caramel Frosting

by Courtney on August 13, 2012

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.

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

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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…

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I do love me some caramel. Winking smile

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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.

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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!”

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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

Directions

  • 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

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 kaylie August 13, 2012 at 1:15 pm

These look SO good! I love making zuccinni walnut bread but I have never tried cupcakes. I will def try this recipe this week!
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2 Andrea @ Vegvacious August 13, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Oh man — these look fantastic! I definitely love me some caramel too and I have quite a few zucchinis almost ready for picking.

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3 Paige @ Your Trainer Paige August 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm

How CUTE are those cupcake liners (liners, right?) I never make cupcakes – obviously – lol, but I think I might have to buy a cupcake tin and make these!
OH! And I’m making your parm chicken burgers tonight for dinner :)
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4 Courtney August 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm

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

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5 Karen August 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm

“1/2 cup canola unsweetened applesauce”

Was this supposed to say just applesauce??

CANNOT WAIT TO MAKE THESE!!!!!

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6 Courtney August 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Haha, YES! Fixing now :)

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7 Karen August 13, 2012 at 1:26 pm

:)
PS also made the parm chicken burgers but used grass fed beef HOLY my yum… hubby and I cannot stop eating them!!

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8 Courtney August 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm

YAY! :)

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9 Alex @ Brain, Body, Because August 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I love zucchini season!
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10 Danielle@cleanfoodcreativefitness August 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm

These look amazing! I am in love with all of these fabulous zucchini recipes! Keep them coming!
Danielle@cleanfoodcreativefitness recently posted..Marvelous in My Monday

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11 Sylvia @ Frolic Through Life August 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm

These look amazing! I’ve got some zucchini in my fridge waiting to be made into these babies.
Sylvia @ Frolic Through Life recently posted..At the Farmer’s Market

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12 Christine @ Oatmeal Bowl August 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Zucchini cupcakes… caramel. YUM! what a creative and beautiful combination. I like how you were able to reduce the sugar. never used OJ either. but it sounds right. thank you!

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13 Michelle @ Eat Move Balance August 13, 2012 at 1:33 pm

I love zucchini bread, cake, anything. I was glancing at the recipe . . . do you think the orange juice is necessary? Can I substitute with any liquid, or is the citrus component important in the baking?
Michelle @ Eat Move Balance recently posted..M²T³ Event: Calamari, Cabbage, Zucchini and Chili!

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14 Courtney August 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm

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!

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15 Jasmine August 13, 2012 at 1:35 pm
16 Courtney August 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Awesome!! Thank you :)

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17 Rachel August 13, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Your cupcakes always look soo professional!
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18 Danica @ It's Progression August 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm

holy yum…I’m pretty sure I’ve never eaten zucchini plain because I always use it for recipes–muffins, bread, brownies, pancakes, and maybe now even cupcakes :)
Danica @ It’s Progression recently posted..Banana Mango Green Smoothie

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19 Alysha @Shesontherun August 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Those cupcake liners are so cute. If I wasn’t so full from lunch, I would love one of these :)
Alysha @Shesontherun recently posted..Corn and Scallion Sourdough Pancakes

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20 Hope @ With A Side Of Hope August 13, 2012 at 2:38 pm

These cupcakes look incredible! I love the caramel frosting! Yummy! :) I agree with everyone else. The liners are super cute.
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21 Michelle@Peachy Palate August 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm

They looks awesome and so easy to modify for a vegan version! :)
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22 Traci August 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Zucchini bread and caramel frosting are my weakness! Never thought of putting them together. Now I’m in trouble!

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23 Lisa August 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Those liners are absolutely adorable. I need to be making more cupcakes, its been forever since I’ve had one. And I of course love the zucchini addition, since I now have an obsession with them!
Lisa recently posted..Simple + Peanut Butter Fudge

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24 Suzanne @ Fit Minded Mom August 13, 2012 at 4:47 pm

These are going to make the perfect Fall dessert!! As much as I love Summer time I am starting to crave cooler weather and these aren’t helping:-)
Suzanne @ Fit Minded Mom recently posted..Healthy Chicken Enchilada Casserole + Painting Progress

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25 Chelcie @ Chelcie's Food Files August 13, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Wow those sound amazing!! Zucchini in cupcakes must make them healthy! ..:)
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26 Christie August 13, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Made a version of your Zucchini Oatmeal bread today!!

Yummm!

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

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27 Brandi August 13, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Oh my word those look amazing! The icing looks so pretty!!

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28 Nicole August 13, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Random Question: Do you use plastic or re-usable piping bags for your frostings?

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29 Courtney August 13, 2012 at 5:18 pm

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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30 Kim@hingryhealthygirl August 13, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Oh my! These look delicious. I love the caramel/zucchini combination idea!
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31 Kierston August 13, 2012 at 7:25 pm

You had me at cupcake! :)
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32 krystal@coffeecardiogoddess August 13, 2012 at 7:35 pm

I really want to make these!! Question though, how does the frosting come out tasting like caramel when there isn’t any caramel in it?
krystal@coffeecardiogoddess recently posted..MIMM: Smoothie & Fro Yo Love

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33 Purely Twins August 13, 2012 at 9:40 pm

these look great!! what a great combo, never would of thought to put zucchini with caramel.
Purely Twins recently posted..making our 2 minute protein muffin video

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34 Annie @ What's Annie Making? August 14, 2012 at 8:35 am

These look amazing! I’m glad you tried to make the caramel frosting again. Can’t wait to try these:)
Annie @ What’s Annie Making? recently posted..Parmesan Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

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35 Me And My Sweets August 14, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Hi,

I would love you to join My Sweet Party! i host a themed party every month and beginning of next month I feature my top three favourites. Check it out at

http://meandmysweets.blogspot.se/2012/08/my-sweet-party-august-childhood.html

btw, your blog is wonderful and I’m a new happy follower:-)

Cheers!

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36 Bek @ Crave August 15, 2012 at 1:20 am

They look awesome! Have one for me. Love the cute liners :)
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37 krystal@coffeecardiogoddess August 15, 2012 at 7:56 pm

I made them 2 nights ago and they were a hit with every person that has had one! My hubby really likes them! Coming from the man that kept saying the food processed zucchini looked like bird throw up. Haha
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