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.
Sweet Zucchini Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
For the cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 zucchini (10 ounces), coarsely grated (1 1/2 cups)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
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.
For the frosting
Makes enough for 12 cupcakes
4 tablespoons room-temperature unsalted butter
4 ounces room-temperature bar cream cheese
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 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.
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