© 2011 Green Kitchen Stories Zucchini_cupcakes

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!


  1. Posted 28 Aug ’11 at 12:20 | #

    Happy Birthday!!!
    Lovely cupcakes!

  2. Posted 28 Aug ’11 at 12:27 | #

    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.

  3. Posted 28 Aug ’11 at 14:20 | #

    These zucchini cupcakes look marvelous and a great way to celebrate your 30th birthday.

  4. Posted 28 Aug ’11 at 14:24 | #

    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

  5. Posted 28 Aug ’11 at 14:36 | #

    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

  6. Posted 28 Aug ’11 at 15:31 | #

    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.

  7. Posted 28 Aug ’11 at 16:02 | #

    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!

  8. Posted 28 Aug ’11 at 16:55 | #

    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.

  9. Posted 28 Aug ’11 at 17:09 | #

    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?

  10. Posted 28 Aug ’11 at 18:15 | #

    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!

  11. Posted 28 Aug ’11 at 18:24 | #

    Wonderful to hear that the party was such a success! Congrats to you David, and welcome to the 30-club ;)

  12. Posted 28 Aug ’11 at 19:26 | #

    I love Zucchini cupcakes! A local bakery where I used to live made some delicious ones… oh how I miss them!

  13. Posted 28 Aug ’11 at 20:00 | #

    happy birthday

    love your blog…beautiful

  14. Posted 28 Aug ’11 at 20:59 | #

    Oh my gosh!! I cannot WAIT to makes these! They look fantastic!

  15. Posted 28 Aug ’11 at 21:38 | #

    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.

  16. Posted 28 Aug ’11 at 22:00 | #

    Happy B-day! Those cupcakes looks delicious! ^^

  17. Posted 28 Aug ’11 at 22:07 | #

    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!

  18. Posted 28 Aug ’11 at 23:27 | #

    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!

  19. Posted 29 Aug ’11 at 01:23 | #

    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!

  20. Casey
    Posted 29 Aug ’11 at 02:31 | #

    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!

  21. Posted 29 Aug ’11 at 06:15 | #

    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.

  22. Carolyn
    Posted 29 Aug ’11 at 06:32 | #

    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…

    • Posted 31 Aug ’11 at 22:57 | #

      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
      Posted 17 Sep ’11 at 02:13 | #

      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
      Posted 28 Jun ’12 at 16:56 | #

      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!!

  23. Posted 29 Aug ’11 at 11:39 | #

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! These are in the oven… I can’t wait :)

  24. Posted 29 Aug ’11 at 19:36 | #

    GRATTIS!! =D Looks fantastic – as always <3

  25. kimmaroo
    Posted 30 Aug ’11 at 14:54 | #

    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!

    • Posted 30 Aug ’11 at 17:26 | #

      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!

    • kimmaroo
      Posted 31 Aug ’11 at 00:59 | #

      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!

  26. Posted 30 Aug ’11 at 16:17 | #

    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…

  27. Posted 31 Aug ’11 at 12:17 | #

    Belated happy birthday! The cupcakes look amazing! And I love the wrapping… fabulous idea!

  28. Ewa
    Posted 31 Aug ’11 at 15:07 | #

    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.

  29. Posted 31 Aug ’11 at 23:50 | #

    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!

  30. Posted 1 Sep ’11 at 22:47 | #

    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….

  31. Posted 2 Sep ’11 at 00:15 | #

    Oh, seems like a lovely recipe! What a nice idea combining including zucchini. Great photos! And happy birthday…

  32. Posted 5 Sep ’11 at 09:53 | #

    These muffins represents all I love in a sweet recipe: they are rustic, wholesome and flavorful. I will make them over and over again!
    Thanks for sharing!!

  33. Posted 5 Sep ’11 at 21:18 | #

    Luise – great job :) David – Grattis i efterskott!

    Love carrot cake so I have to try this!

  34. Posted 7 Sep ’11 at 05:27 | #

    These look fabulous!! Zucchini Cupcakes are the one Starbucks beverage I look forward to every year… And then you put them in cupcake form? Wow! Awesome.

  35. Amy
    Posted 9 Sep ’11 at 04:49 | #

    These look so yummy! Does anyone have any thoughts on substituting agave nectar for the honey in the frosting? Maybe a little less than 3 tablespoons though?

    • Posted 11 Jan ’12 at 22:25 | #

      Hi Amy, You could easily replace honey for Agave nectar. Start with two tbsp, taste it and see if you need one more.
      Good luck!

  36. Dagmar
    Posted 6 Nov ’11 at 17:37 | #

    Do you have an app for e.g an ipod? Because I would really love to buy/get it for my ipod! Look wonderful by the way! :-D

  37. Charlotte
    Posted 8 Feb ’12 at 09:44 | #

    thanks a bunch for this recipe, they turned out so GOOD! I didn’t have any limes though so i used lemon zest & juice instead >>> hands down the best frosting ever!

  38. Jane McLeod
    Posted 30 Jun ’12 at 14:29 | #

    Hello from Canada :)

    Thank you for a wonderful looking recipe; I’m very much looking forwards to trying them this weekend. I just had a question about preparing these in advance: I’m thinking of bringing these to a party later this week, and wondering if you think they would do well if made a couple days in advance? Would you recommend freezing/refrigerating them?

    Thank you so much for your help

  39. lisah
    Posted 22 Jul ’12 at 04:00 | #

    I was eyeing up this recipe, wanting to use the last of a massive zucchini, but I didn’t have all the required ingredients. I decided to improvise. I didn’t have cardamom, all-spice or cloves so I skipped those, adding a bit of nutmeg instead. I also used one whole mashed avocado instead of coconut oil, and orange instead of lime for the icing. It was delicious! I’m still interested in trying the original recipe but am also very happy with what I came up with.

  40. Pamela
    Posted 5 Oct ’12 at 14:33 | #

    I would love love love to make these, but me and my brother are both severely allergic to bananas (so sad, I know!) Is there any other fruit or veggie you can recommend to sweeten the cupcakes instead? Thanks so much! I love your recipes!

  41. Posted 21 Nov ’12 at 01:27 | #

    Hello lovely people,

    my daughter Mika (21 months) and I made these cupcakes this morning and they turned out rather magnificent! As with many recipes I get inspired by, I swapped a few ingredients to make do with what I had at home. I used wholemeal spelt, honey, ginger instead of all spice and added a carrot to my grated zucchini mixture as I only had one. Left out the vanilla all together because I simply forgot! And still, the cupcakes turned out AMAZING.My daughter devoured it and I am sure my little 3 month old boy will reap the benefits from his breast milk :)

    This is such a great proof of a great recipe…a great recipe stands the test of manipulation well. Thank you so much for your inspirational website and I really do hope that I am able to purchase your cookbook from Australia when it is published.

  42. payal
    Posted 13 Dec ’12 at 09:43 | #

    Hi David
    I love zuchinis in all forms and especially cupcakes are my favourite. But unfortunately I don’t eat eggs. can these be made without eggs. kindly please advise

  43. KathC
    Posted 31 Dec ’12 at 03:28 | #

    I just made this for my 5 year old daughter. She loves it very much and had 2 of them right from the oven. Usually she doesn’t like zucchini but she ate these without complaints.

  44. Hannah
    Posted 18 Feb ’13 at 03:09 | #

    I received one of those annoying emails from Apple suggesting apps the other day, and on a whim, for the first time, I actually opened it. I recently decided I want to eat healthy, so I figured, why not? Maybe they’ll be some good apps. That was where I found your green kitchen app. I have been a vegetarian since 3rd or 4th grade, and I was looking to eat healthy, so your app was pretty much a dream come true. After leaving my phone and home one day, I decided I wanted to show some of my friends the recipes, so I googled it with their phones. That was how I found this blog.

    I don’t know if I’m just a bad cook or what, but your recipes look amazing, the ingredients sound amazing, but when I made these, they were horrible. The muffins were not at all sweet, and tasted like bread, which I can deal with. I still enjoy them. The icing, however, was horrible. My entire family (mom, dad, sister) tried it and hated it. I used exactly the amounts that the recipe called for, and others seem to enjoy the recipe, so I have no idea what I did wrong. I tried the carrot cake on this blog and received similar results.

    I’m not giving up on this blog yet, though! I will be trying the vegetable lasagna, vegetarian pizza, portobello and peach burgers, lemon and coconut bars, and peanut butter cookies. All sound and look amazing and am hoping for better results.

    If you could give me any tips, or give me an idea of what I did wrong? My mom tried this recipe as well and yielded similar results (bread like muffin and horrible icing).

  45. Hannah
    Posted 18 Feb ’13 at 03:13 | #

    I read somewhere that you could substitute apple sauce for oil and was wondering that would work here?

    • Posted 18 Feb ’13 at 10:44 | #

      Hi Hannah, sorry about the recipe failure. We have made it several times, and it has always turned out well for us. But since you are not the only one who have had problems with it, we made some slight changes to it today that will make it more ‘easy likable’.

      Do try the lemon bars, I can guarantee that they won’t disappoint.

      Regarding your question about the oil. We have already replaced the oil with in this recipe. But generally, you can substitute eggs for apple sauce and some of the oil, check out this recipe for more inspiration: http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/vegan-chocolate-blackberry-cake/

      All the best

  46. Bean
    Posted 19 Mar ’13 at 17:35 | #

    Hi there,
    The muffins look so good in your post but sadly, when I made them this afternoon, mine didn’t look nearly as good. I’m an accomplished cook so I don’t think the problem was following the recipe – or the recipe itself since other people have had great success so perhaps it was the ingredients. My muffins are dry and bitter which is really disappointing, and they don’t look nearly as dark and smooth as yours. I will try again though, perhaps using more banana and maple syrup, also a little grated apple. I am disappointed but not put off.
    I made your chocolate ‘mousse’ this morning and they were delicious!

  47. Shannon M
    Posted 20 Jul ’13 at 12:18 | #

    I made these today and they were absolutely delicious! Even my two year old loved them. I left out the walnuts as I knew the toddler wouldn’t like them, and I used lemon juice instead of lime juice in the icing. I also only had about 1 cup of zucchini so I just added a little extra banana. They were light, moist and the spices and vanilla gave a lovely flavour. Thanks for a great recipe – will definitely be makin these again.

  48. Jen
    Posted 26 Jul ’13 at 20:03 | #

    Is there any way to make a creamy icing without dairy? I’ve tried a few recipes and they are always either way too sweet or the texture is off putting. Thanks for the help.

  49. Em Bee
    Posted 5 Aug ’13 at 22:58 | #

    This look amazing, and I am dying to try them… However I cannot have gluten, do you have any gluten free suggestions for the spelt flour?

    Many Thanks!

  50. Bella
    Posted 25 Sep ’13 at 22:04 | #

    Hi, I am currently falling deeply in love with this blog! I love love everything you do and the recipes are incredibly inspiring!
    Just wondering, for this particular recipe if I switched the spelt flour for a mix of quinoa and coconut to make it GF would the end result be similar slash edible?

    thanks, and I look forward to your next post!


  51. Sylvie
    Posted 20 Oct ’13 at 20:22 | #

    Well, as for me I baked them a few hours ago and they are delicious! They didn’t turned out greasy and I followed the recipe step by step. But the flavor of cardamom is really strong – reminds me of your sunflower and cardamom muffins… Anyway I love cardamom. :) They taste great, especially with this amazing frosting! Love the combination with lime.

  52. Cathrine
    Posted 14 Nov ’13 at 23:00 | #

    Is it possible to make this as a cake, instead of muffins? :)

  53. Btenda
    Posted 5 Feb ’14 at 13:29 | #

    can i substitute the spelt with wholemeal flouur. please advise

  54. Nikki
    Posted 23 Feb ’14 at 05:52 | #

    Made these this morning and they are delicious!! I used Ghee instead of the butter :-)

  55. Brittney
    Posted 7 Mar ’14 at 19:27 | #

    Ooo, I just made these for my family & they absolutely loved them (*and they are NOT healthy eaters*) Thank you for the blog:D

  56. Jenafer
    Posted 2 May ’14 at 00:22 | #

    Stumbled across this recipe when thinking of making zucchini cupcakes (with zucchini straight from my garden) for my son’s first birthday in early summer. I love the presentation. Were these cooked in the parchment paper or wrapped after baking?

  57. grace
    Posted 9 Aug ’14 at 20:45 | #

    Hello! Could I substitute the spelt for rye flour instead? Or will that that be strange!?

  58. Anne
    Posted 2 May ’16 at 16:18 | #

    I just made these cupcakes and am wondering if the measurements were correct as they don’t look like yours… Whilst they look ok, they are huge….. I reread the measurements and the courgette measurements were in mls not gramms? I weighed the flour, walnuts and cougettes in gramms is this correct??

  59. Joan Baker Gardner
    Posted 4 Sep ’17 at 03:29 | #

    Just made these luscious zucchini cupcakes with my 2 1/2 year old granddaughter. Besides being fun to make AND to frost, when my sister and two close girlfriends arrived to celebrate my 65th birthday we were all
    impressed! The cupcakes were beautiful and delicious! My husband resisted having a second one, but now we’ve got dessert tonight! Thanks so very much for creating such wonderful delights!
    p.s. What is your best “milk” or substitute for milk for toddlers?

  60. Liesa
    Posted 1 Dec ’17 at 15:29 | #

    This recipe looks good, but I hate bananas! Can something else replace the banana in these muffins? Thanks.

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