Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes Recipe

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes Recipe

[Photos: Nancy Olson]

These really chocolaty cupcakes require no frosting, in my opinion, but a small swipe of cream cheese frosting is definitely a tasty thing. I'd top them with chopped walnuts if I frosted them. The crunchy walnuts will add a nice textural contrast and counterbalance the sweetness of the frosting well.

This recipe makes just enough frosting to cover each cupcake lightly. Please double the recipe if you like your frosting piled high.

  • Yield:makes 24 cupcakes
  • Active time: 20 minutes
  • Total time:45 minutes


  • For the Cupcakes:
  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 pound grated zucchini (not peeled,which will yield about 4 cups of packed, grated zucchini, using the large holes on a box grater)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • For the Frosting:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped (optional, to sprinkle on top)


  1. 1.

    Preheat the oven to 350° F.

  2. 2.

    For the Cupcakes: Cream together the sugar and butter with the paddle attachment of an electric mixer. Slowly drizzle in the oil. Cream a little longer until the mixture is very light and fluffy.

  3. 3.

    Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla extract.

  4. 4.

    Whisk together the dry ingredients to thoroughly combine and add to the creamed mixture by hand just until combined. Fold in the grated zucchini and the chocolate chips.

  5. 5.

    Scoop into standard size muffin cups that have been lined with paper liners. The muffin cups should be filled a little more than three quarters full.

  6. 6.

    Bake at 350° F for 20-24 minutes, until they spring back lightly when touched. Let cool on a wire rack.

  7. 7.

    For the Frosting: Bring the cream cheese and powdered sugar to room temperature. Cream together the soft butter and powdered sugar with the paddle attachment of an electric mixer until there are no butter lumps (you won’t be able to get rid of the lumps later on).

  8. 8.

    Add the softened cream cheese to the butter and powdered sugar and mix just until the frosting becomes fully homogeneous. I’ve found that mixing it for too long will result in the cream cheese becoming a little bit grainy.

  9. 9.

    Once cupcakes have cooled, frost lightly and sprinkle with walnuts if desired.