Sweet Zucchini Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Sweet Zucchini Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I look forward to late summer not only for the cooler temperatures, but also for the abundance of late summer fruits and vegetables, especially zucchini.  As soon as I see local farm stands advertising fresh picked zucchini, the menu quickly veers off in the direction of oven roasted zucchini; grilled veggie kabobs; zucchini bisque; zucchini soufflés; grated zucchini in pasta sauce; meatballs; breads and of course, sweet zucchini cupcakes.

The smell of these yummy little beauties baking in the oven will make your home smell like late summer and early fall all wrapped up into one. Then once they’ve cooled, add a generous swirl of cream cheese frosting on top and treat yourself to a moment of reverence as you savor each sweet and savory bite.

For the Cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 zucchini, grated
1/3 cup olive oil
2 eggs

For the Frosting:
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with paper or foil cupcake liners.

2) In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

3) In a smaller mixing bowl, combine the grated zucchini, oil, eggs, vanilla and lemon zest and then add the mixture to the larger mixing bowl. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined.

4) Divide batter evenly into the muffin pan, filling each liner 2/3 full.

5) Bake the cupcakes 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

6) Remove the cupcakes from the oven and cool the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then remove the cupcakes from the pan and allow them to cool completely.

7) To make the frosting, blend the cream cheese and butter together in a mixing bowl until creamy.

8) Mix in the vanilla and gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar.

9) Pipe a generous swirl of the frosting on top of each cupcake and serve.

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