August 2, 2012

Zucchini Cupcakes with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

The other day, my friend told me about a new zucchini recipe she had just tried.  It was zucchini bread with caramel on top and she said that it was soooooooo good.  At first I was thinking -  Huh? That sounds interesting?  Then, I found this cupcake recipe the next night!  What the heck - I'm going to try it.  Not exactly the same thing as pouring caramel over zucchini bread, but similar flavors.  

These are not your average zucchini cupcakes.

 This recipe has some very unique ingredient combinations.  Almond, cinnamon, orange and caramel frosting all mixed with zucchini?  Sounded strange, but I figured it must work since they had a lot of really good reviews and were marked Contest Winning.

They turned out great and tasted DELICIOUS!

They are moist, but not super moist.  I loved the addition of almond extract.  I think it enhanced the flavors of the other ingredients.  I couldn't taste much orange flavor, but the flavors I could taste complimented each other nicely and it all totally worked.  The caramel icing is very rich and very sweet.  A little cream cheese and some chopped pecans help cut the sweetness.

Zucchini Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting
3 eggs
1 1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. canola oil
1/2 c. orange juice
1 tsp. almond extract
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. grated zucchini

Caramel Frosting
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3-4 c. powdered sugar
pinch of salt
4 oz. cream cheese, softened opt.

For the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk together the eggs, sugar, oil, orange juice and almond extract; set aside.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix together until a few streaks of flour remain.  Add the grated zucchini and mix just until combined.  Pour into greased cupcake liners, filling no more than 2/3 full.  Bake for 18 - 22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely.  Yield: 18-24 cupcakes.  

For the Frosting: Combine brown sugar, butter and milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes or until thickened (I cooked mine for 3 minutes).  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Allow to cool completely.  If adding cream cheese, add now, and beat until smooth and creamy.  Add powdered sugar and salt and beat until fluffy.  If it is too thick for your liking, add a little milk, but be careful not to add to much.  Frost cooled cupcakes.  Garnish with chopped pecans, if desired.  

Jenn's Notes: If you add enough powdered sugar, the frosting should pipe nicely.  I decided to add a little extra milk to mine at the end and accidentally put too much in, but before that, my icing was very stiff.  I tried the frosting with and without the cream cheese and it was delicious both ways.   


  1. Looks way way to fabulous as ALWAYS!

  2. I wanted you to know that I nominated your blog for the Lovely Blog Award even though you have probably been nominated multiple times. If you are interested in participating you can access the link at:

  3. I have zucchini coming out my ears and this sounds like such a lovely pairing! Cheers!

    1. It really is - you should try these! - Jenn

  4. Looks and sounds really yummy!

  5. thanks for sharing such a great recipe

  6. Those sound amazing! Totally love zucchini in dessert. And that frosting! YUM!

  7. Up to the point I had these in the oven, I read the recipe as peanut-butter-M&M marshmallow cookies instead of "peanut butter, M&M and marshmallow" cookies or M&M-and-marshmallow peanut butter cookies. Oops. They were still delicious, but probably would have been better with plain M&Ms (as you intended) rather than PB M&Ms.

    1. The original recipe actually called for PB M&M's, but I don't care for those, so I went with regular M&M's. - Jenn

  8. I love zucchini any old way, but never heard of cupcakes before. And never with caramel cream cheese frosting. Oh my these sound good. I wish you were my neighbor, you could run one over. I will be making these, so good and yummy looking! So glad you shared your creative inspiration with Sunday’s Best – your creativity helped make the party a success!

  9. I'm so excited to have found your blog through Serendipity and Spice's Linky :) I will be pinning A LOT of your delicious recipes. Thank you. You're also welcome to join in on our linky ( It's opened all week. Have a great one! Kaz

  10. Hi! I’m visiting from the Financial Friday link up – love this recipe! We have TONS of zucchini right now!
    Please visit me at
    Happy Monday!

  11. Saw your link at the Sunday Showcase link party. This recipe sounds delicious! Definitely pinning so I can easily come back to it later! Thank you so much for sharing!

  12. These look great and sounds wonderful
    I'd really like to try
    I appreciate your remark at the end as I prefer the frosting with the cream-cheese.
    I'm pinning this

  13. Do you think that any egg substitutes would work for this? If so, which do you think? I was wondering if banana would change this wonderful sounding flavor too much, or make it TOO moist. I don't feel like applesauce would change the flavor too much, but it might still make it too moist, like bananas. I was wondering about plain old egg replacer in the box (not sure if you've used it before or not)? 4 eggs is a lot to replace with a substitute.

    1. I have never used any kind of egg substitute? If you have used it in other cupcake recipes and had good results, then I am sure it would work in this recipe too. Do you want to replace the zucchini for banana or the oil for banana? I think replacing some of the oil with applesauce would work and not change the flavor. If you are worried about it, you could always cut the recipe in half for your first try. -Jenn