Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Zucchini-Spice Cupcakes

Every summer there always seems to be an abundance of zucchini.  What a great problem to have!  Zucchini can be very healthy for you.  But recipe after recipe, I couldn’t find any that really tasted great.  The only way I liked zucchini, so it seemed, was diced into some Asian dish.  And I don’t cook Asian.  I go to Asian restaurants.  [sidenote: I just purchased a wok, so I’m hoping this changes soon].

Enter, Martha Stewart.

If you haven’t invested in this book and you are a cupcake fan, then let me convince you.  Every single thing I’ve tried in here has been phenomenal.  Not good.  Phenomenal.

My absolute favorite [so far, I’ve yet to try all the recipes] is Zucchini-Spice Cupcakes.  They are definitely one of my most requested cakes, and it’s easy to see why.  Not only do they taste aaaamazing, but there’s just a little part of you that feels like it’s not that bad for you.  I mean, come on.  They’re zucchini.  ;)

The recipe calls for 3 cups of grated zucchini.  I usually use one medium size zucchini.  But if all I have is a large one, they I’ll save the rest for the second batch … or maybe I freeze it.  [ok let’s be honest, I just make more cupcakes, ok?  Can I help they make a yummy breakfast??]  But back to the grated zucchini.  I don’t know if you all are still using hand graters.  You know, ones I’m talking about.  Well, don’t.  Ugh!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scraped myself on the knuckle or lost the tip of my fingernail using one of those things.  Gross!!  A few years ago, I upgraded to the Townecraft King Kutter:

It’s such a wonderful kitchen gadget.  Recently, I got the Kitchen Aid attachment (which is so similar to the King Kutter, it’s kind of crazy).

Use one of these to grate your zucchini.  Your fingers will thank you.

Ohhh and one more tip.  The recipe doesn’t say anything about it, but I always leave the seeds mixed in with the zucchini, and bake it into the cake.  Why not?  It’s just added fiber, right?  :)

I’ll leave the rest to Martha …

Zucchini-Spice Cupcakes
3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
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 (about ½ zucchini)
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
Cream-Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 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, then 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.

To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting. Refrigerate up to 3 days in airtight containers; bring to room temperature before serving.

Cream-Cheese Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar
¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, ½ cup at a time, and then vanilla, and mix until smooth and combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 3 days in an airtight container; before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again.

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