A couple weeks ago, I read Nicole’s post on Cooking After Five for Orange-Scented Olive Oil Muffins. In her post, Nicole mentions she likes to bake muffins for road trips. [Insert glass shattering] I’d never considered baking muffins for road trips, but it makes so much sense! What a wonderful idea. And great timing, too, since me and “the fam” have headed to Las Vegas for a week!
As usual, I bookmarked Nicole’s recipe…but Orange-Scented Olive Oil Muffins turned into Sweet Zucchini Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting, as I had some extra zucchinis from the Farmers Market that needed to be used.
Speaking of cupcakes, ever wonder the difference between muffins and cupcakes? Well, I have. Turns out there’s actually some controversy over this topic. In short: frosting does not a cupcake make. Crazy, I know! After doing my diligent research, I found that cupcakes are considered “little cakes” while muffins are more like bread. Further, cupcakes are more of a dessert food, are lighter in weight and, generally, have lots of decorations whereas muffins are heavier, tend to contain fruits, chocolates and/or nuts and are usually not iced.
Overall, the best description I found was this: If you threw a cupcake against the wall, you would hear something of a “poof!” If you threw a muffin, you would hear a “thud!” Awesome.
Given that distinction, however, I’m pretty sure this recipe for zucchini cupcakes is actually for muffins, but I will let you take that up with Martha Stewart, as that is where I found it.
Either way, they are a super tasty sweet treat. Just be sure to eat them within a day or so because they tend to dry out and lose their muffin-y-ness any later than that.
I’ve also used this frosting for Carrot Cake and it was delish. It’s very rich and smooth.
- For the cupcakes
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1 zucchini (10 ounces), coarsely grated (1½ cups)
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- For the frosting
- 4 tablespoons room-temperature unsalted butter
- 4 ounces room-temperature bar cream cheese
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth.
- Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla extract; beat until light and fluffy. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 1 day.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cups of a standard (12-cup) muffin tin with paper or foil liners. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Mix in nuts.
- In another bowl, combine zucchini, oil, eggs, and vanilla; add to flour mixture, and mix just until combined (do not overmix).
- Divide batter evenly among cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.
- Cool in tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes; turn cupcakes out, right side up, and cool completely. Meanwhile, make frosting. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, spread frosting on cupcakes. The frosted cupcakes are best eaten within 1 day.
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