1 September 2014

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting
I am sure that by now, if you don't have a garden of your own, your neighbours are stealing into your yard in the wee hours of the morning and leaving care packages of zucchini on your porch. Perhaps you are covertly picking the locks of your neighbours cars and leaving them in their baby car seats. This prolific vegetable deserves such special treatment. If this sounds all too true you have hit the mother load!!!

People seem to have a love/hate relationship with this prolific summer squash. I am a lover of zucchini so am always looking for new ways to highlight it's delicate flavour. This squash truly shines by mid-summer. As a home cook, I'm partial to the sweet, young version, whose delicate, creamy flesh lends itself well to both raw and cooked dishes. I avoid the large, mature zucchinis that haunt the stalls at many markets in late summer which have waterlogged, fibrous bodies and bitter seeds.

Attack of the Squash People 

"And thus the people every year 
in the valley of humid July 
did sacrifice themselves 
to the long green phallic god 
and eat and eat and eat. 
They're coming, they're on us, 
the long striped gourds, the silky 
babies, the hairy adolescents, 
the lumpy vast adults 
like the trunks of green elephants. 
Recite fifty zucchini recipes! 

Zucchini tempura; creamed soup; 
sauté with olive oil and cumin, 
tomatoes, onion; frittata; 
casserole of lamb; baked 
topped with cheese; marinated; 
stuffed; stewed; driven 
through the heart like a stake. 

Get rid of old friends: they too 
have gardens and full trunks. 
Look for newcomers: befriend 
them in the post office, unload 
on them and run. Stop tourists 
in the street. Take truckloads 
to Boston. Give to your Red Cross. 
Beg on the highway: please 
take my zucchini, I have a crippled 
mother at home with heartburn. 

Sneak out before dawn to drop 
them in other people's gardens, 
in baby buggies at churchdoors. 
Shot, smuggling zucchini into 
mailboxes, a federal offense. 

With a suave reptilian glitter 
you bask among your raspy 
fronds sudden and huge as
alligators. You give and give 
too much, like summer days 
limp with heat, thunderstorms 
bursting their bags on our heads, 
as we salt and freeze and pickle 
for the too little to come."

Marge Piercy

You know it had to happen when being overrun with copious amounts of zucchini that chocolate cupcakes would have to be in the line-up. September brings a return to normalcy with children starting back to school and summer holidays under our belts. For me it means that my favourite season is just around the corner. If you are going to celebrate then your neighbours might not be upset if you leave these moist and delicious cupcakes on their porch instead.The added bonus for me is when I lick the bowl I am getting my raw vegetables as well…wink. My inspiration for this recipe was Jamie of Life's a Feast who was looking for a chocolate zucchini recipe and my version of a combination of recipes. My favourite may still be a Zucchini-Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Crunch Glaze from Dolce Italiano by Gina DePalma, but baking today has made the choice that much more difficult. Would I change anything next time? Perhaps sprinkling the tops with sea salt, saving a little of the caramel sauce to drizzle on top?

**Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting**

For the Cake

2 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa (I like Ghiradelli)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch salt
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup 2% buttermilk (or sour your milk by mixing 1 teaspoon lemon juice or white wine vinegar to milk and let it sit for 5 minutes)
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup oil
2 cups coarsely chopped or grated zucchini, patted dry
1 cup chocolate chips

For the Salted Caramel Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
2-3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
20 pretzel twists, optional

For the Cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves and a pinch of salt; with a metal whisk, whisk lightly to combine and set-aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer at medium speed process the eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar, and vanilla. Add the butter and continue mixing until light and fluffy, approximately 2 minutes. Add the buttermilk and oil and continue mixing for 1 - 2 minutes to incorporate.  With the machine off add the zucchini, chocolate chips, and the dry ingredients. Mix at low speed until mixed through and the flour disappears. Do not over process.

Ladle into a muffin tin that has paper inserts; fill about 3/4 full.

Bake for  25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool then frost.

Prepare the Salted Caramel Frosting: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Once melted, add brown sugar and heavy cream. Stir constantly over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add salt. Allow to bubble for exactly 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, until you reach desired consistency.

Makes 20-24 cupcakes

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. Oh I bet these are good..and they are pretty.

  2. We love zucchini, we call it our other potato. I just had some for breakfast in a tian. You presented the cupcakes so beautifully.


  3. Great idea to incorporate both chocolate and zucchini into a muffin. I wish someone would drop some zucchini off at my house.

  4. A great poem, thanks for sharing! These cupcakes look so pretty and tempting. A lovely tea time treat.



  5. I had to laugh at the poem…anyone who has a garden can appreciate it. What a lovely and delicious way of using zucchini.

  6. Beautiful cakes, Val. Chocolate and zucchini are a wonderful combination. I could attack that bowl of frosting with a spoon. Can't wait to try it.

  7. Georgeous and tempting! I’m a zucchini fan (raw in a salad, grilled as a vegetable and sneaked into sweets).

  8. Oh, my gosh! I would love one of these right now! They're gorgeous and have to be delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

  9. I have to say a couple of things: first, I have been buying 3 and 4 zucchini now every time I shop which is unusual for me. I seem to be just craving it. And second, just last week I came across and carrot chocolate cake recipe and wanted to make it - yes, vegetables in my chocolate cake. I love the moistness carrots and zucchini add to cake. And it had to be chocolate. But now I have to make your chocolate zucchini cupcakes! And good golly Salted Caramel Frosting? I am in love! This would be so fabulous on so many of my cake and cupcake recipes! Beautiful... and your cupcake are! Thanks for the shoutout!

  10. I love how these are both decadent and somehow guilt free from the zucchini infusion! Gorgeous.

  11. Val these are so pretty.
    You did such a good job at frosting.
    I am absolutely horrid at it, that's why I rarely make frosting anything.

  12. i'll take a spoon and a bowl of that frosting, thanks. you can throw some zucchini in if you must. :)

  13. That salted caramel frosting sounds delish, it can be good on many things. Your farmer friend on gordon gave me a giant zucchini a few days ago, still sitting on my counter. I wonder what it's destined for.

    1. Yes they gave me a zucchini as well, so I made cupcakes and gave them away. Of course I had one or two before I did so;-)

  14. Oh that salted caramel frosting looks like a dream. Very well done, my dear!

  15. Beautiful and delicious!
    Look amazing Val!
    Love this frosting I will make this recipe!


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