Zucchini Cupcakes

Before we let you in on the secret how to make these insanely delicious zucchini spelt cupcakes, I believe I have to thank someone.

My birthday was just a few days ago. I turned 30. Most people would take this as an opportunity to arrange a kick ass party. For a long time I thought I would too. But after attending some of my friends impressive 30-year old parties that went on for days, I suddenly choked. So I decided only to celebrate it with my family. Or at least that was what I thought. Luise (who was tired of me acting like a grumpy old man) had secretely called in all my friends and relatives from Sweden, London and Denmark, and last Saturday they all surprised me with a big party. Not only did all these people show up, but each and everyone had also brought a dish that they had made from Green Kitchen Stories. Can you believe it! We had never seen so many of our recipes cooked at the same time. It was awesome.

Thank you all of you who came and made it a great day. And thank you Luise for arranging an amazing party. Jag älskar dig.

Now let’s move on to these cupcakes. They started out with a simple craving for carrot cake. We love carrot cakes. I think I have baked them since I was seven or eight years old. But every now and then it’s good to move on, try new things, grow up! So when we craved carrot cake this time Luise reached for a zucchini instead. She baked them on spelt flour, only sweetened them with a banana and some maple syrup and then added many different spices. The zucchini made them juicy, the nuts gave them crunch and the spices gave them flavor. But hey hey hey, let us not forget the frosting … the frosting made them simply irresistable (I write while I take a bite on my fifth cupcake today).

*Recipe updated*

Zucchini Cupcakes
Makes around 12 muffins

1 ripe banana
3 organic eggs
5 tbsp maple syrup or other sweetener of choice
1 1/2 cup (375 ml) spelt flour
1 vanilla bean, scraped or 1 tsp ground vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cloves
0,5 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup (375 ml) zucchini, shredded
75 g (5 tbsp) organic butter
1/2 cup (125 ml) raw walnuts nuts, coarsely chopped

Zucchini & Lime Frosting
200 g plain cream cheese (choose an unsalted or lightly salted cream cheese)
3 tbsp maple syrup or liquid honey
1/2 organic lime, juice and zest
1/3 cup  (80 ml) zucchini, shredded

Making the muffins: Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Mash the banana in a bowl, add eggs and maple syrup and beat it together, using an electric mixer. Melt the butter and add it to the egg mixture. Sift all dry ingredients together add to the wet mixture, while stirring. Then add shredded zucchini (gently shake off any excess moisture)  and nuts and mix well. Spoon batter into muffin cups or a cupcake pan and bake for around 20 minutes or until golden brown and firm.

Making the Frosting: Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Place in the fridge while baking the muffins.

Serving: When the muffins have cooled, serve them with two spoonfuls of frosting topped with a pinch of freshly shredded zucchini. Enjoy!


  • Ohhh god - they look soooo good! I just wihs I could get hold of all of the spices in the recipe. I live in rural Spain, and while it is no problem to get azafran for a good paella, other spices are hard to get by. I´ll try to make a downsized version! And by the way: happy birthday....
  • What a lovely birthday surprise! I'm not sure any of my friends even know what my website link is, let alone make recipes from it!
  • Ewa
    Didn't have zucchinis, but made these with carrots instead and a gluten free flour mix, and they turned out delicious! Thank you for a perfect recipe.
  • Belated happy birthday! The cupcakes look amazing! And I love the wrapping... fabulous idea!
  • Happy 30th birthday!!! Sounds like it was an amazing celebration :) And those cupcakes sound pretty amazing too! I need to experiment with other flours more...
  • kimmaroo
    Recipe calls for the seeds of an entire vanilla bean for just a dozen cupcakes? Is that a typo? That's a heck of a lot of vanilla and at $8 to $12/bean at my local stores, these are some expensive cupcakes!
    • Hi Kimmaroo! You really got a point there. Using natural ingredients is unfortunately ridiculously expensive, also here in Sweden. We actually recently found a big batch of vanilla beans pretty cheap, so lately we have used it quite generously. Since we haven't added any sugar in these muffins the vanilla adds a nice sweet flavor to them. But it's not essential for the taste, so you could use half a vanilla bean or substitute it for 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Happy baking! /David
    • kimmaroo
      Hi David! Many thanks for the clarification! The vanilla beans I've been seeing here lately are huge so that may explain (at least partially) the cost as well as quantity of seeds. One bean yields enough to make a pint of extract (scrape seeds into a pint jar, fill with vodka, and add the scraped bean pod). We prefer low sugar baked goods at my house. I was thinking I'd reduce the amount of maple syrup (which is the nutritional equivalent of sugar) from 4 Tbsp. to 2 Tbsp. The banana and frosting also add sugar. The nice thing about baking at home is that you can customize recipes to your preferences. I prefer to use maple syrup or honey to sweeten baked goods rather than cane sugar so your recipe really caught my eye. I'm intrigued by the combination of all of the ingredients in your muffins, not just the ones that lend sweetness, and can't wait to try making them. Thank you for the great inspiration!
  • GRATTIS!! =D Looks fantastic - as always <3
  • HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! These are in the oven... I can't wait :)
  • Carolyn
    Happy birthday. I made these cupcakes tonight. I'm a very good baker, but sorry, these were horrible. I'm a breadhead, but I can't eat them... Maybe there is a typo in the recipe?? The batter was extremely oily, and the cupcakes ended up tasting more like baking soda than anything else... Something was very wrong. It's a shame, because I wasted some beautiful locally milled spelt on these. :( Waaaah...
    • Hi Carolyn. We are very sorry that they didn't turn out well for you. We have baked the cupcakes again after reading your comment and they turned out great for us, this time as well. We can't really understand how your muffins mainly could taste baking soda if you used all the spices in the recipe, ours have a very flavorful and rich taste. They are not as sweet as for example Starbucks cupcakes, but that is how we prefer them. And when you add the frosting they really turn out delicious. One thing we can recommend when using banana as a sweetener is to make sure that it is really ripe. The dough can feel quite oily since we use that instead of butter, but as you bake them they should get a nice texture. If anybody else have had any problems, or if anything in the recipe needs clarification, please don't hesitate to let us know. Much love David & Luise
    • Melina
      Hi, I have to partially agree. I followed the recipe to a T and the muffins were a bit greasier than I would like BUT I thought they tasted fantastic! Not baking soda-y at all, but delicious with warming spices!
    • Lisa
      I think the main reason they turn out kind of greasy for some people is that the oil is added at the end with the zucchini instead of in the beginning with all the other wet ingredients. If you don't mix the batter extremely well, they come out a little greasy BUT they still taste great!!
  • A belated Happy Birthday!!!! Sounds like you had a wonderful day. How beautiful that everyone brought a dish based on a Green Kitchen Stories recipe. That is beautiful! I love the sound of these zucchini cupcakes too. I will have to give them a try.
  • Casey
    Happy 30th from Australia David! & these cupcakes do look amazing. I will have to try baking them this week :) Do you think you could substitute maple syrup with honey? I don't own any maple syrup!
  • Happy belated birthday! It must have been overwhelmingly special to see all of your friends and recipes at once. Those zucchini cupcakes look heavenly, and I love that the recipe calls for natural, whole grain ingredients. I wish I could have one right now!
  • Congrats on turning 30 ... such an event should be celebrated! I love cardamom, so that was all the motivation I needed to try this cupcakes. Thanks for sharing!
  • Looks superb! Oh, and happy belated birthday, you probably had a real blast seeing all your recipes. :) I love this recipe too, zucchini in a cupcake??? Never thought of it, and zucchini is a staple summer vegetable in French cuisine. Thanks for the idea!
  • Happy B-day! Those cupcakes looks delicious! ^^
  • Happy Birthday! Love the idea of using a zucchini for a carrot-cake style cake. definitely going to give it a go. I wonder what else will work for it as well, I think that if it works that well for zucchini, then something like courgette may work as well.
  • I love Zucchini cupcakes! A local bakery where I used to live made some delicious ones... oh how I miss them!
  • Wonderful to hear that the party was such a success! Congrats to you David, and welcome to the 30-club ;)
  • Wow, what a fabulous surprise birthday party. It reminded me of my "I'm not 30 yet"party (a few days before I turned 30) with a fabulous mixed fruit cake cooked by my dearest friend Jennie (with sultans er golden raisins in USA, raisins, cherries, orange & lemon peel, currents & an assortment of nuts) iced like an English Christmas cake. It was fantastic. Sadly, my zucchini plants were a disaster this year - 1 zucchini eaten by rodents!
  • a) Happy Birthday!! I know you guys had the best time at the party! b) These cupcakes - I can't sit still just looking at them. YUM. c) I don't really have a C, but I always feel like there should be a C. Ya know?
  • Happy birthday! The cupcakes look so pretty! I'm obsessed with limes right now so I'm sure I would go crazy for that icing.
  • Happy birthday! What a great surprise, I would love that! Nice work Luise. And I just want to bite into one of these cupcakes they look so good!
  • Happy Birthday! Surprises are so much fun and it sounds like this one was a topper. By the way, I loved my 30's! And...with teens in my 40's, I'm loving this stage too. The little bit of shaved zucchini on top of your muffins is cute.
  • Wohoo! Sounds like all delishiousness in the world in one cupcake! Spices, creamy, nuttiness and all the abundance that mother earth provides.. (especially zucchinis this time of the year!) Love it! Bliss and great times for you<3
  • Hi...belated happy 30th year...I am a zucchini lover and I know that is a great ingredient you can made lots of recipe with this vegetable. I love your photos
  • These zucchini cupcakes look marvelous and a great way to celebrate your 30th birthday.
  • Happy 30th and what pretty cupcakes! At first I thought they were chocolate flavored but then I saw that it´s all of your lovely spices that make them dark. Perfect flavors of the fall.

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