If it is summertime it must be zucchini time. There are lots of great reasons to eat zucchini and these chocolate zucchini cupcakes with peanut butter frosting is probably the most tasty way.
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As if the dark, rich chocolate cupcake isn’t delicious enough, there is a swirl of creamy peanut butter on the top of these cupcakes. A food taste combo perfect together!
No one will notice the zucchini in the batter. Not only can you slip in this healthy ingredient, but I think it is the zucchini that increases the moistness of the cupcakes.
Fruit or vegetable?
What do you think? Is zucchini classified as a fruit or vegetable? In a culinary world, zucchini is treated as a vegetable. It is usually cooked and presented as a savory dish or accompaniment.
When zucchinis develop, they form from an overgrowth of the zucchini flower, and is botanically classified as a berry. Any fruit is classified as the ripened ovary of a flower that contains the seeds for the plant. A vegetable, on the other hand, must be an edible plant part, such as the roots, stems, leaves or tubers of a plant. Based on these definitions, zucchinis are botanically considered fruits.
Great reasons to add zucchini to your diet
Zucchini, a summer squash, is a member of the gourd family. Now granted, this is a cupcake recipe but still an easy way to incorporate some added nutrition. Here are just a few reasons to add zucchini to your diet:
- Zucchini is one of the very low-calorie vegetables; about 33 calories for 1 medium zucchini. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Its peel is an excellent source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation and offers some protection against colon cancers.
- Zucchini is also rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are beneficial plant compounds that help protect your body from damage by free radicals. Carotenoids are particularly plentiful in zucchini. These may benefit your eyes, skin, and heart, as well as offer some protection against certain types of cancer, such as prostate cancer. Research indicates that the skin of the plant harbors the highest levels of antioxidants. Yellow zucchinis may contain slightly higher levels than light green ones
- Zucchini may promote healthy digestion in several ways. It is rich in water, which can soften stools. This makes them easier to pass and reduces your chances of constipation. Zucchini also contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to stools and helps food move through your gut more easily, further reducing constipation risk. Soluble fiber feeds the beneficial bacteria living in your gut.
- Weight loss can aid in weight loss. Because zucchini is low in calories and high in water and fiber, it is a great food for those wishing to reduce their body weight.
Coffee enhances the chocolate flavor
A little trick to intensify the chocolate flavor in these cupcakes, is to add some coffee. Espresso powder is best but instant coffee also enhances the chocolate to taste, well… more chocolaty. Since this recipe does not have liquid other than eggs and oil, I add it first to the vanilla extract. It dissolves instantly.
Grating the zucchini
Begin making the cupcakes by grating the zucchini. A simple box grater works well for this. You will need 2 cups.
Preparing the batter
In a large bowl stir together the eggs, granulated sugar and oil.
Add the vanilla mixed with the instant coffee granules.
Mix until combined.
Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and baking powder.
Mix again until combined.
Add the grated zucchini and the chocolate chips.
Fold in using a spatula until thoroughly combined. The batter will be thick.
Spoon batter into prepared pans, filling cups about half full. A scoop works well keeping each cupcake uniform in size with less mess.
Ready for the oven.
Bake the cupcakes 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 before frosting.
Making the peanut butter frosting
Bring the butter to room temperature by allowing it to sit on the counter for about 30 minutes. This can also be done by placing the butter in the microwave for about 5 seconds on high one or two times. Just soften the butter and do not melt it.
In a medium mixing bowl beat 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1/3 cup softened butter, 1 tablespoon milk, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
Gradually add 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, beating until combined.
If necessary, stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons additional milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Makes about 1-1/2 cups.
Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
- 2 cups shredded zucchini (about 8 oz.)
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup cooking oil
- 1 Tablespoon instant coffee granules
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 cup milk chocolate pieces
Peanut Butter Frosting
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/3 cup softened butter
- 1 Tablespoon milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Peanut Butter Frosting
- The amount of frosting is enough for a thin coating. If you want to splurge, I suggest doubling the frosting recipe 🙂
- This happens to me so often one would think I would learn my lesson. A recipe says to fill each cupcake pan to a certain level but I have extra batter. So instead of adding the extra batter to a different pan, I add the extra overfilling the cupcake pan. And it always happens… too much and the cupcakes don’t rise properly or flow over the edge. Cupcakes use the walls of the cupcake liners or muffin pan to help them rise high. If you overfill the liners, there’s too much batter and not enough space to climb. The batter can spill over the sides or you’ll be left with flat cupcakes. One of my muffin pans is slightly smaller than the other so I had extra batter that I should have placed in another pan.
- More zucchini recipes you might like…Breaded Fried Zucchini
- Zucchini Meatballs
- Cream Cheese Swirled Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
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