Once in a way, you come across a recipe that may seem like a dessert but is actually a healthy treat in the guise of a enticing dessert. Well, this one’s it. Enter, zucchini cupcakes, or zucchini-muffin-cupcake-wild-child (you’ll see why soon). Healthy? Yes. Nutritious. Check. Green? 2 cups of it! Delicious? You bet!
I found the recipe for these zucchini cupcakes in Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible, and I stopped and looked twice, because of what she wrote, “These healthy, easy-to-make gems are delicious teats to pack in lunch boxes or to serve for breakfast”. And what gems indeed. Get stated now, and when you’re eating them for breakfast tomorrow, you’ll thank me. Plus, you can pack them for an en-route-to-work snack or wrap them up for a tea break.
Even though they’re called zucchini cupcakes in The Cake Bible, they really are a cross between cupcakes and muffins you see. In her blog post, When is a Cupcake a Muffin?, Rose Levy Beranbaum says that a muffin has a higher amount of flour than a cake. Since the zucchini won’t give the cupcakes a good structure when compared to say, pumpkins, more flour is added to compensate. Also, there’s the use of oil, and the batter turns out more liquidy than usual. These zucchini cupcakes (?!) are also less sweet than most cakes and are positively healthy! The crumb structure is definitely coarser than a cake’s light and airy crumb structure but not as heavy and coarse as a muffin’s. Plus they’re actually the miniature versions of zucchini bread — even though the zucchini bread in turn is more like a cake.
Be that as it may, the zucchini (a good 2 cups!) packs in so much moisture, the raisins add to that and make for little pockets of joy, the taste simply amazes, and the spices provide a kick that you’ll love, that you tend to forget all the cupcake and muffin banter, and begin to immediately enjoy and love this wild child that is the real cool zucchini cupcakes.
- 75 g (2.5 oz or 2/3 cup) coarsely chopped walnuts
- 170 g (6 oz or 1 and 1/2 cups — lightly spooned into the cups) cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon powdered cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 163 g (5.75 oz or 3/4 cup — firmly packed) light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (107 g or 3.75 oz) safflower oil or sunflower oil
- 227 g (8 oz or 2 cups — firmly packed) grated zucchini
- 72 g (2.5 oz or 1/2 cup) raisins, optional
Preheat the oven to 175ºC (350ºF).
Grease and lightly flour your muffin pans.
Toast the walnuts for 5 minutes once the oven heats up, and allow it to cool.
Put the walnuts, flour, baking soda, salt and spices together in a bowl and whisk to blend. Add the raisins too if you are using them.
Now, beat the eggs, sugar and oil for a couple of minutes.
Add the zucchini and beat for about half a minute — until everything is smooth.
Add the dry ingredients and mix well.
Scoop the batter into the muffin cups — fill each one until it’s three-fourths full.
Put it in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Take the muffin pan out and let it cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then scoop the cupcakes and place them on the rack to cool off further.
If you want a cholesterol-free version, use 3 large egg whites instead of the two whole eggs. Be warned though, the zucchini cupcakes will be slightly more chewy. It tastes better the next day when eaten at room temperature! Make them over a weekend to last the week. Use the largest holes on the grater to grate the zucchini. or the shredding disk in the food processor. Depending in the size of your muffin cups, you may get between 14 and 17 cupcakes. If you have a few unfilled muffin cups in the end, fill them with a few tablespoons water, so the cupcakes cook evenly. Storage: 3 days when stored in an airtight jar, 5 days when stored in the fridge, and up to 3 months when frozen.
Do check out this recipe for Zesty Date orange Muffins too, while you’re here. They’re great make-ahead-breakfast options too. And if you loved these real cool zucchini cupcakes, do let me know by using the hashtag #notjustspice or say hi on Facebook @notjustspice.