Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Ganache Frosting

These Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes are super moist, fluffy, and richly chocolatey. The velvety ganache frosting is heavenly, while zucchini lends moisture and some veggie power!

Our culture where being hyper busy – or at least appearing to be – is highly esteemed. Where one might suffer raised eyebrows if they don’t work through lunch or stay past 5pm.
Which reminds me, I just met a gal who is new here from Italy, and her fam was shocked that people don’t sit down together for lunch break.
Which then reminded me of my own teaching days, where my breaks consisted of being strapped to the Medela, grading papers, checking email, all while stuffing leftover Halloween candy in my mouth and calling it lunch.
So, Creativity. The pursuit of something energy-giving, relaxing, and dare we say it…fun?!
At first glance, I was like, ummm…I am no Martha. I don’t sew, quilt, paint, sculpt, whatevs. I admire all y’all who do. But the one time I tried to knit a scarf, it ended up being a skinny sash. And my piano skills have plummeted from Chopin to Chopsticks. Moving on.
But then. If creativity is something that simply allows us to decompress, refill, and reboot…that I can do. Even with 3 fireball boys and a bulldog underfoot.
Outdoor running is my creative. Especially when it involves lake trails in autumn.
Baking and cooking are my creatives. Nothing fancy shmancy at all.
I simply sprinkled shredded coconut on top for looks. Because I’m lazy like that


  • Cupcake Batter:
  • 1 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 TB unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp instant coffee granules (decaf is fine)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup + 2 TB canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated zucchini, loosely packed
  • 1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips (mini’s are best, as they melt into the cake well)
  • Orange-Ganache Frosting:
  • 4 1/2 oz semi sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp orange extract
  • Optional: shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened) for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350F, with rack on lower middle position. Line or grease a standard muffin pan. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, coffee granules, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine well.
  3. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add oil, zucchini, and mini chocolate chips. Stir to combine well.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold together the flour mixture with the egg mixture. Fold gently just until no more dry streaks of flour remain; do not overmix. Bake 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few tender crumbs attached (be sure to test in a cake-only spot; cracked spots tend to be misleading, since melted chocolate chips sit in those cracks.) Cool cupcakes completely.
  5. Meanwhile, make the Ganache: In a heavy saucepan, add chocolate morsels and heavy cream. Constantly stir on low heat until smooth and melted. Add orange extract and stir until combined. Remove from heat and let cool enough for ganache to thicken to a frost-able consistency. Frost as desired and sprinkle with shredded coconut

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