Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

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Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes that are so delicious you will not even believe you’re eating a dessert loaded with vegetables. Made with a milk chocolate frosting, these cupcakes are pure chocolate decadence. Use up those garden zucchini in this satisfying cupcake recipe!

Front view of a chocolate zucchini cupcakes topped with chocolate frosting

This recipe is for all of you who need creative ways to eat your vegetables.

I know most of you love chocolate. From chocolate raspberry cupcakes to chocolate pistachio cake to Andes mint cupcakes, there’s no shortage of chocolate on the blog.

Today’s recipe is updated from summer 2015. The cupcakes were lacking in flavor. They also were a bit flat. Nothing to be overly excited about.

I introduce to you the new and improved chocolate zucchini cupcake and it’s a real winner!

Overhead view of Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes on a wire cooling rack.

It’s a rich chocolate cupcake with shredded zucchini throughout and a luscious milk chocolate frosting on top. These cupcakes are the best way to eat zucchini. Truly!

Today’s recipe is rich, moist and full of flavor. I used unsweetened cocoa powder and went with just a bit more than what I used in the Andes mint cupcakes. I used oil and no extra liquid. The zucchini will release their liquid during baking and this combined with oil is plenty to keep the cupcakes supremely moist.

Everything gets mixed right in one bowl, making cleanup a breeze. The cupcakes take only 25 minutes to bake and once they’ve cooled they’re ready to be frosted with chocolate frosting.

The frosting is simple. Take a basic vanilla buttercream and add unsweetened cocoa powder to it. Mix it up and voilà.

Shredded zucchini on bamboo plate.

I was guilty of eating the frosting with a spoon. I couldn’t control myself.

It’s one of the best frostings I’ve made. Almost better than my cookie butter frosting.

I piped the frosting on with a Wilton 1M piping tip but you can also slather it on with an offset spatula just as easily.

I am in love with eating zucchini this way. And anyone you serve these cupcakes to will never know there is zucchini in them. You can’t even taste it. All you can taste is chocolate goodness.

You have to try these chocolate zucchini cupcakes. They are soft, tender, moist… cupcake heaven!

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes on a wire cooling rack.

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Overhead view of Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes on a wire cooling rack.

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

Yield: 24 cupcakes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes that are so delicious you will not even believe you’re eating a dessert loaded with vegetables. Made with a milk chocolate frosting, these cupcakes are pure chocolate decadence. Use up those garden zucchini in this satisfying cupcake recipe!


For the cupcakes

  • 2 cups (290 g) shredded zucchini
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (149 g) vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (260 g) all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup (75 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

For the frosting

  • 1 ½ cups (339 g) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (64 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4-5 cups (600 g) confectioners’ sugar


Make the cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine the zucchini, eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Stir until well combined. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and baking powders. Fold gently until all the dry ingredients are moistened and the mixture is evenly combined. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared baking cups. 
  3. Bake for 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes then remove from pan and cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with an electric hand mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth. Add the cream, vanilla, and salt. Continue to beat until incorporated. 
  2. Add the cocoa powder and 2 cups of confectioner's sugar, beat on medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened. Gradually add in the remaining sugar, one cup at a time. You may need more or less depending on how soft the butter is. Beat on medium-low speed until the sugar is moistened. Turn the speed up to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.


Make ahead tip

  1. The cupcakes can be made a day in advance. Cover them and store them at room temperature. 
  2. The frosting can also be made a day in advance. Cover it and store it in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  3. Frosted cupcakes will keep for up to 3 days covered and stored in the refrigerator. Or they'll keep for up to 3 months stored in the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 282

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the values shown are just an estimate.

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  1. These cupcakes are the perfect way to get the kiddos and the hubs to eat their veggies :)They look so chocolatey and delicious! Love that you topped them with your caramel frosting!

  2. I never thought of pairing salted caramel with zucchini! Now that I think about it, that is brilliant. They must go so well together. And no wonder you wanted to eat the frosting with a spoon. Dang, it looks so good!

    1. It turned out to be a great combo! Thanks, Mir!

  3. haha I am sure every kid will be more than happy to eat veggies this way 😉 the cupcakes look perfect Jen, so moist! and i love that frosting!

    1. I bet so! I was happy to get my veggies this way, ha! Thanks, Manali!

  4. I have never had zucchini and salted caramel together but it sounds AMAZING! These cupcakes look to die for 🙂

    1. These cupcakes are a real treat, Medha. You must try them!

  5. That frosting though….yum!! I’ve never made anything sweet with zucchini’s before. I see all of these delicious recipes and it has me craving zucchini and sweets together! Loving this recipe Jen! 🙂

    1. You would never know that zucchini is in the cupcakes. You can’t even taste it. I think you need to make them!

  6. Zucchini chocolate cupcakes are amazing, and I love that you put salted caramel frosting on them. That would be so, so good! These look fantastic!

    1. The frosting went so well with these cupcakes. Thanks, Stacey!

  7. Jen, I love love love baking with shredded zucchini!!! haha and you are right! This is the way to get kids (and adults) to eat their veggies! love these!

    1. Yes, definitely a match made in heaven! I could eat my veggies this way all the time.

  8. I love that you topped these cupcakes with your caramel frosting, Jen! I’ve actually never had a zucchini cupcake before, so I’m loving the looks of this, especially since it’s made with chocolate! Sounds incredible!

    1. Thanks, Gayle! You can not taste the zucchini at all. It’s just like an extra moist chocolate cupcake. So good!