Moist, tender, and not too sweet, these dark chocolate zucchini cupcakes are perfect for both snacks eaten plain and for celebrations with the addition of frosting.
Chocolate and zucchini are a match made in heaven, as far as I’m concerned. I love the way that zucchini adds moisture to baked goods (which you may have been able to tell by my other recipes for Zucchini Lemon Bread, No Fail Zucchini Bread, and Zucchini Cinnamon Freezer Muffins, to name a few) and these dark chocolate zucchini cupcakes are no exception.
Of course we probably all hope that adding zucchini to breads and cakes adds a bit of nutritional value – and maybe they do, but hey, they are cupcakes, after all!
Though I did try to make them as real-food healthy as possible by using less sugar and more cocoa powder than normal cupcakes in addition to using a healthy fat and 100% whole wheat pastry flour.
Personally, I think they’re as good of a snack with just a dusting of powdered sugar as they are a dessert when frosted, but I’ll let you be the judge!
This frosting, though – well, that’s another story. It is firmly in the decadent dessert camp, making it perfect for celebrations.
I have one – and only one – chocolate frosting that I use and it’s THE best frosting ever. And I don’t say that lightly. Everyone loves it. But of course it uses lots of butter and powdered sugar, so it’s definitely a special occasion kind of thing (here’s the link to this amazing Chocolate Silk Frosting recipe – trust me, to.die.for.).
You can also dust these cupcakes with powdered sugar or use your favorite frosting recipe – these are great with a peanut putter frosting, too.
Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
There’s nothing fancy or time consuming with this recipe, it’s simply a matter of mixing the wet ingredients with the dry and dividing the batter between lined muffin tins.
The batter is thicker than traditional cupcake batter, though, so you’ll fill the cupcake liners only half to three-quarters full.
I find thicker batters result in moister cupcakes and it also helps keep the chocolate chips evenly distributed rather than all falling to the bottom.
How do you shred the zucchini? Is it peeled first?
You can use a box grater or a food processor to shred zucchini. I use a processor because it makes quick work of it, but hand graters tend to make smaller pieces, so if you’d like it to be less noticeable, use a hand grater.
You can choose to peel or not – that’s totally up to you in this recipe (though it’s a key step in this incredible while zucchini cake!).
Tip for using up those huge zucchinis you missed int he garden or friends give you:
If your zucchini is gigantic, cut it into manageable pieces and then cut those into halves and then into quarters. Hold a knife at the top inner portion of each quarter and cut down to remove all the huge seeds and pithy centers. Discard and shred the outer portions only.
The recipe makes 24 cupcakes and they freeze beautifully (frosted or not), so you can have cupcakes whenever the occasion – or snack – calls for them.
With less sugar and more cocoa these cupcakes really do have a dark chocolate flavor, which I’m always aiming for with any chocolate recipe (by that I mean, less sweet and more true cocoa flavor).
Bring on the chocolate!
Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
- 2 cups shredded zucchini
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 3/4 cup cold-pressed sunflower oil, melted coconut oil, or lightly flavored olive oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour*
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips**
- [Chocolate Silk Frosting] or powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
- Add zucchini, eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla to a large bowl and mix well.
- Add remaining cupcake ingredients, mixing until all is combined.
- Spoon the batter evenly between the lined cups (the cups will be about half full).
- Bake 16 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (of cake batter - some melted chocolate may be on them). Cool in pans 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
- Frost with this ultimate chocolate frosting or dust with powdered sugar when they are completely cooled.
Other Zucchini Recipes to Try:
Dark Chocolate Zucchini Bread (sweetened with honey)
This recipe has been updated – it was originally published in November of 2012.
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