dessert snacks zucchini

Chai-Spiced Zucchini Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

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Chai-Spiced Zucchini Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting
Another great reason to grow or even <gasp!> buy zucchini.  These cupcakes are fluffy and tender, redolent with the aromas of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom and crowned with caramel frosting. Recipe can be made by hand or with an electric mixer and goes together easily.  If you don’t have all the spices listed in the recipe, it’s okay to just use cinnamon.  They will still be delish, I promise.
Zucchini Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting
And they’re not even chocolate!


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

*1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (see note at end of recipe)

3 large eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup buttermilk or orange juice

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups grated zucchini (start with one 8-inch squash)


6 Tablespoons salted butter

3 Tablespoons milk

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 – 2 cups powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place paper liners in 18 muffin cups.

Whisk dry ingredients (flour through cardamom) together in medium bowl; set aside.

Beat eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, and almond extract in a mixing bowl until smooth.  Add dry ingredients in thirds and mix until smooth.  Add zucchini and mix until well distributed.

Grease a 1/4 cup cookie scoop or plastic serving spoon and dispense batter into prepared pans.

Bake 18-20 minutes, until tops are golden and firm.  Cool in pan 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

While cupcakes are baking, make frosting.  Place butter, milk, brown sugar, and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil; boil 2 minutes, whisking.  Cool to lukewarm.  (Cooling may be hastened by placing saucepan in a sink with enough cold water and ice to reach halfway up the sides of the pan.) Beat in 1 cup powdered sugar and gradually add enough additional powdered sugar to make a thick, spreadable frosting.  Frost completely cooled cupcakes by placing a 1 tablespoon dollop on top of a cupcake and spreading in a circular motion with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.  Repeat for remaining cupcakes.

Yield:  18 cupcakes


  • Cardamom is a keynote flavor in chai but is a costly spice; you may choose to omit it.  To maximize your investment, store whole or ground cardamom in its container in the freezer where it will last in fine shape for about 2 years.


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