Friday, January 21, 2011

Zucchini Spice Cupcakes

Martha Stewart is my hero. Seriously. Who else can make a poncho the hottest must have item of the season all from the confines of a 6x8 jail cell? Although, I'm not a poncho girl, I do love her recipes.

The first time I made Martha's Zucchini Spice Cupcakes, it was for a friend's backyard BBQ party. To say they were a hit would be an huge understatement. They flew off the plate and left it rocking in its wake. The second time I made them was for a girlfriend's baby shower. I was almost adopted by the family.

There is something wonderful about zucchini. Aside from all the health benefits, it's such a versatile fruit. Yes, that's right, I said fruit. My mother would grow it in her garden every year. She would plant it one week and be cursing the high heavens the next because it had taken the entire backyard hostage. Yet, there she was every winter planning for her next bountiful crop with, you guessed it, zucchini taking first place.

I am thankful for zucchini. Although it's virtually tasteless on it's own, pair it with roasted red peppers, onions, and goat cheese on a panini and you got yourself the best damn sandwich this side of the hemisphere. Zucchini bread with a nice cup of tea on a cold January morning?

Sign me up. Like yesterday.

Recipe adapted and slightly modified from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 cups packed light brown sugar
3 cups packed grated zucchini, drained VERY well
1 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

In another bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, vanilla, and zest until well blended; whisk in brown sugar until smooth.

Stir in zucchini

Add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in walnuts. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three quarters full.

Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

Now for the best part....


I halved the original recipe because it made SO much!

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, ½ cup at a time, and then vanilla, and mix until smooth.

Yield: About 24 cupcakes.

Happy Baking!

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