Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

These rich, decadent, and incredibly moist Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting will surprise your guests. Zucchini in your cupcakes provides moisture, vitamins, and amazing flavor. Did I mention it's the perfect way to use up any extra zucchini that you may have sitting on the counter? If you've ever wanted to sneak vegetables into dessert, now is your chance!

Close up side view of chocolate zucchini cupcake with peanut butter frosting on a plate and coffee in a brown mug in the background.


 

Surprise frosting on the inside of these cupcakes ensures that you get a little frosting with every bite for the perfect amount and this quintessential pairing of chocolate with peanut butter.

Ingredients for Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

Overhead photo of Ingredients: flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, eggs, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, shredded zucchini, butter, and vanilla extract in glass bowls on a white planked blackground

Chocolate-Zucchini Cupcakes

  • All-Purpose Flour - The one-for-one gluten-free all-purpose flours should also work for this recipe.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder - Using good quality cocoa does make a difference.
  • Baking Soda - Combining both baking soda and baking powder in the cupcakes gives them the perfect texture.
  • Baking Powder
  • Salt
  • Eggs - Use large eggs for this recipe
  • Granulated Sugar - White sugar is a little dryer, and also lighter than brown sugar. If you used all white sugar you would have dry cupcakes but if you used all brown sugar they would be too heavy.
  • Light Brown Sugar - The blend of two sugars adds depth of flavor and also improves the texture and moisture content.
  • Shredded Zucchini - See our tips and variations section for ideas on how to change this up.
  • Butter - I tend to use salted butter but you are more than welcome to use unsalted butter.
  • Vanilla Extract

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Creamy Peanut Butter - Use creamy peanut butter so it can be piped. My favorite brand is Jif.
  • Cream Cheese - Make sure it's room temperature so blends into the frosting easily.
  • Butter - I used salted butter, but unsalted works great too.
  • Milk
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Powdered Sugar

How to Make Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

Once you make these chocolate zucchini cupcakes from scratch, they will become one of your go-to recipes. So moist and delicious, you won't believe how easy! First, preheat your oven so that your cupcakes bake evenly. Line your pan with cupcake liners to make them easier to eat without a mess.

Mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Then mix the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy in a separate bowl. Add the vanilla, eggs, and zucchini to the sugar mixture and combine. Beat the wet and dry ingredients together until smooth. Fill the cupcake liners and bake for 23-27 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely, then remove the center of the cupcake with an apple corer to make room for the filling of peanut butter frosting.

brownie mix cookies
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To make the frosting, combine the butter, cream cheese, and peanut butter in a large mixing bowl. Add the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Pipe this beautiful frosting into the hole you made in each cupcake, finishing it with a swirl on the top.

Image showing how to use an apple corer to make room for the filling in a cupcake.

Tips and Variations

Cupcake liners make clean-up a breeze, and if you get the tin-foil ones they don't stick or require cooking spray.

Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing the cupcakes and placing them on a wire rack to cool completely.

Substitute pumpkin, apple sauce, or shredded apples for the zucchini if desired.

Use any flavor of frosting you enjoy! The peanut butter is a nice touch, but any kind of frosting will work.

For extra beauty, add shaved chocolate curls made from a solid chocolate bar to the top of your cupcakes.

If your frosting is too thick, you can add a tablespoon of milk at a time and beat it in thoroughly. Check the consistency and a second tablespoon of milk if needed.

More distant view of several chocolate zucchini cupcakes on white wood with a bottle of milk and a beige linen behind the bottle

Frequently Asked Questions

How full should I fill the cupcake liner?

Half full seems to be about right for most cupcake liners or muffin tins. If you can keep the amount of batter consistent, you will have perfectly sized cupcakes for frosting.

How will I know if my cupcakes are done?

If a toothpick inserted into the center does not come out clean, it may have a slightly moist crumb and still be ready to pull from the oven. Zucchini adds a significant amount of moisture. If the toothpick comes out with a very moist crumb it isn't quite ready.

How to Store Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

Keep your leftovers in an airtight container or plastic zipper bag at room temperature for up to four days. You can refrigerate them for even longer.

Freeze leftover chocolate zucchini cupcakes for up to three months in an airtight container. Thaw frozen cupcakes one at a time for thirty seconds in the microwave or set them out to thaw overnight.

Top down view of chocolate zucchini cupcakes on a white platter with a white wooden background

More Great Chocolate Cupcake Recipes

Cut away view of the chocolate zucchini cupcakes showing the inside of the cupcakes and the peanut butter filling.
chocolate zucchini cupcake with peanut butter frosting in a paper cupcake liner on a white textured plate with a brown coffee cup behind it

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

These rich, decadent, and incredibly moist Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting are the perfect way to use up your zucchini!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 23 minutes
Total Time 48 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24 cupcakes

Ingredients
  

Chocolate-Zucchini Cupcakes

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 4 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • cup butter room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar

Instructions

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until thoroughly combined and set aside.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, add the butter and both granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until creamed.
  • Add the vanilla extract, eggs, and shredded zucchini. Beat with the hand mixture until the eggs are incorporated and the zucchini is evenly distributed.
  • Add the bowl of dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and beat until a smooth batter forms and the dry ingredients are incorporated.
  • Fill each cupcake liner half full with the cake batter.
  • Place in the preheated oven and bake about 23 - 27 minutes,or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the middle cupcakes comes out clean or with moist crumbs.
  • Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing the cupcakes and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Once the cupcakes are cooled, use an apple corer, small paring knife, or a large piping tip to remove the center of the cupcake making sure to not go all the way to the bottom of the cupcake though. Leave some cake underneath the hole as we will be filling each cupcake with frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting

  • In a large mixing bowl add the butter, cream cheese, and peanut butter. Beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until creamed.
  • Add the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Beat on low until most of the powdered sugar is worked into the frosting. Turn the mixer to medium speed and continue to beat for 30 seconds to 1 minute until the frosting is light and fluffy. If the mixture is too thick add one to two teaspoons of milk until you reach the desired piping consistency.
  • Fill a disposable piping bag fitted with the #336 piping tip with the peanut butter frosting.
  • Fill the center of each cupcake with the frosting.
  • Pipe swirls of frosting on top of each cupcake.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

(Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.)

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