Spiced Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

From What’s in Season: Summer Squash & Squash Blossoms


Photo by Cheryl Koehler

Makes 20 cupcakes

  • 12 tablespoons (1½ stick or ¾ cup) butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 2 cups grated raw zucchini
  • 2¾ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a cupcake pan for 20 cupcakes.

Cream the butter or shortening and slowly add the sugar, beating until smooth. Beat in the eggs and mix thoroughly. Stir in the vanilla, orange zest, and grated zucchini and blend well. (Batter may look curdled at this point. It will smooth out later.)

Stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda salt and cinnamon, and sift onto a piece of waxed paper. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the zucchini mixture along with the milk and beat until thoroughly mixed. Stir in the walnuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cupcakes cool completely before icing and decorating with candied zucchini slices and crystalized squash blossoms.

Dark Chocolate Frosting

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 split vanilla bean
  • ½ pound unsweetened dark chocolate
  • ½ pound butter

Boil cream, sugar, vanilla for 6 minutes. Remove from heat and add chocolate, butter. Whisk smoothly and strain out vanilla bean.

Candied Zucchini Slices

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zucchini slices (thinly sliced)

Bring above ingredients to a boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and drop thinly sliced zucchini slices into simmering simple syrup. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until zucchini becomes translucent. Remove with a slotted spoon, placing slices onto parchment paper to air dry.

Crystallized Squash Blossoms

With a very small paint brush, brush all surfaces of flowers with egg white. Toss flowers in superfine sugar and air dry until crispy.