Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes (+ Minted!)

This is a sponsored post featuring Minted. However, all opinions expressed in this post are my own.Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes // 80twentyThe other day I walked into the grocery store and saw a display of Halloween candy. Really?, I thought. Can we let the tomatoes, zucchini, and peaches come to their natural end before we start thinking about fall traditions? As I moved through my day, I noticed that I was having a bit of anxiety about embracing enough summer before it slipped away. It’s gone by so quickly, as it always tends to do in Canada, and all I could think of was how many more juicy peaches, tomato tarts, and grilled avocados (yes, try it!) I could stuff into myself in an effort to hold me over for another year. But then something kind of shifted and I found my mind wandering to the warm butternut squash biscuits I would make as the cold weather started to come in. It felt more comforting than I had expected, and before I knew it, one thing led to another and I found myself thinking of renting a cottage with friends for the Thanksgiving long weekend, surrounded by the picturesque fall trees and still misty water. Knowing Canada, the snow wouldn’t be too far behind. That led me to think about Christmas. (And I’m not even kidding about this stream-of-consciousness thought process.) I went from not being able to eat enough fresh tomatoes in this little window of time to writing my Christmas card list. That’s my anxiety speaking… or what I also refer to as me “acting a fool”.  So, I reminded myself to breathe. And as I paid attention to the rise and fall of my belly, I took it back to the present. One moment at a time, Kris. I don’t need to do any Christmas shopping… yet. In the meantime, I’m going to eat as many peaches as is humanly possible in the next couple of weeks.

Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes // 80twentyWhat’s weird about this situation, serendipitous one might say, is that merely a few short days later, I got an opportunity to work with Minted. If you just clicked on that link, you know exactly why I said serendipitous: the first link they sent me was to their Christmas cards. (I guess it’s never too early to start planning for Christmas.) You can custom make your family cards and it’s gotten me thinking about who will go on mine this year. This little one perhaps? I like to plan. What can I say?

Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes // 80twentyI’ve known about Minted’s beautiful work with their business cards and prints for awhile (I love this one, in particular). Minted takes the work of indie designers from around the globe and sells them online so that more of the world has access to them. I’m down with having access to more indie artists designers, especially those that work with food and cooking as their inspiration. I haven’t told you this before, but I’m a sucker for kitchen and home decor products. While many women like to shop for clothes and shoes, I like to shop for kitchen stuff, including food. A friend of mine got me into the idea of buying single items–like a single uniquely-made mug or beautifully shaped wine glass, instead of simply opting for a set. My growing variety of dishes allows me (and my guests) a different eating experience each time and I love it. When I’m buying new kitchenware, I try to imagine how it might look on a table, feel in my hand as I use it, and most importantly, what would look beautiful served on it. We do, after all, eat with our eyes first. When I was shooting these Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes, I found myself a little stuck. I had a vision of sitting them on a beautiful cake stand, but all I have is a clear pyrex-style glass one with a lid. It’s perfect for travelling with, but it didn’t give quite the effect I was looking for. Enter this beauty. Could you imagine how stunning dark chocolate cupcakes would look on this jade stand?  You might not have my geeked-out penchant for kitchenware, but you have to admit the colour combination is stunning.

Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes // 80twentySince I don’t (currently) own this cake stand, I had to make do with what I have. Luckily, with their rich-looking frosting and fancy liners, these dark beauties could probably stand on their own. True to 80twenty form, they look more decadent than they really are though. Filled with wisps of finely grated zucchini, sweetened with honey and dates, and rounded out by oat flour and almond meal, they’re actually only slightly sweet. And though they wear that glossy frosting, they’re the kind of sweet treat that still tastes a little healthy, which I welcome these days. Go ahead and try them. With or without the cake stand, they really are quite a site in your kitchen. And if you’re up for giving advice, should I buy that stand?!

If you’re interested in trying Minted for yourself, they offer some discounts here.

Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes // 80twenty

Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Gluten-free, Vegetarian, Dessert, Healthy
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Guilt-free cupcakes? These dark beauties are gluten and refined sugar-free making them a sweet treat you can feel good about eating.
Ingredients
  • CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CUPCAKES
  • 1.5 cups almond meal
  • 1.5 cups oat flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 eggs (at room temperature)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ½ - ¾ cup organic honey, depending on how sweet you like it
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 packed cups, grated zucchini
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips
  • CHOCOLATE DATE FROSTING
  • 1 cup pitted medjool dates
  • ½ boiling water
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CUPCAKES
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together the almond meal, oat flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, honey, vanilla, and vinegar. Mix in the zucchini.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir gently to combine.
  6. Mix in the chocolate chips.
  7. Distribute evenly in a lined muffin tin.
  8. Bake on the centre rack for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  9. Set aside to cool.
  10. CHOCOLATE DATE FROSTING
  11. Add the dates and boiling water to a high speed blender. Let them sit for 10-15 minutes, then blend until smooth.
  12. Add the remaining ingredients and blend again until smooth.
  13. Once the cupcakes are cool, top with frosting.

25 Comments

  • Reply August 26, 2013

    autumn

    I am so impressed with this frosting, Kris! Looking at the pictures, I totally wouldn’t have guessed it was made of dates either.

    • Reply September 2, 2013

      Kris

      Thanks, Autumn. The dates give it a lovely shine, don’t they? I hope you like it!

  • Reply August 26, 2013

    Sophia@ NY Foodgasm

    Wow what a creative idea for frosting LOVE how light this recipe is!!

  • Reply August 26, 2013

    Laura

    Holy jeez I want chocolate date frosting. These photos are so, SO great Kris. I caught myself thinking about squash gratins and whatnot when I saw all of them forming out in the garden last week. Then I was fast forwarding to cookies at Christmas. Clearly need some lessons in calming the eff down ;)

    • Reply September 2, 2013

      Kris

      The chocolate date frosting is a miracle! Add to yogurt… chocolate yogurt (and I mean good chocolate yogurt). P.S. I could always use a lesson in calming the eff down. :)

  • Reply August 26, 2013

    Winnie

    OMG yum!!! I want one of these right now.

    • Reply September 2, 2013

      Kris

      Winnie, come for a visit and I’ll make you some! :)

  • Reply August 27, 2013

    suzi

    soaking my dates in hot coffee at the moment and wondering about the vinegar. should i use apple cider vinegar in these? they look amazink!!

    • Reply August 27, 2013

      Kris

      Hi Suzi,

      Coffee and dates…. GREAT combo! You’ve probably already done this, but either vinegar would work fine. It’s used to activate the baking soda. :) I hope you like them.

      • Reply September 1, 2013

        suzi

        these were so incredible. this frosting will now be my go to recipe!! i did soak the dates in coffee and then it was a tad bitter. i added two more dates and it was perfection. YUM!

        • Reply September 2, 2013

          Kris

          Wheee! So glad about the frosting. Thanks for giving me the update on the coffee. Can’t wait to try it. :)

  • Reply August 31, 2013

    Sadie

    These muffins look amazing! To make them even healthier (and vegan) do you think I could substitute flax eggs for the real thing?

    • Reply August 31, 2013

      Kris

      Hi Sadie,

      Thanks for your comment. I haven’t tested them with flax eggs and though I do use flax eggs regularly in my baking, I don’t know if it would work here since the quantity is larger. That being said, why not give it a shot?! My philosophy on cooking/baking is that we have to experiment. That’s the only way to learn intuitively about what works/doesn’t work for us. So I say go for it! If you decide to do it, let me know. I’d love to hear if it worked for you.

      • Reply September 1, 2013

        suzi

        when i made them i subbed chia for the egg. i am vegan as well.

        • Reply September 1, 2013

          Maria

          Well, these definitely caught my eye! Chocolate on chocolate usually does lol . My question regarded swapping the eggs for flax or chia…and I see suzi gave chia a try with good results (thank you suzi).
          Big thanks to you for sharing this yummy recipe :) #ineedoneinmymouth

          • September 2, 2013

            Kris

            I’m a fan of the chocolate on chocolate too! In fact, I think these are triple chocolate. Thanks to Suzi for answering your question. :) I hope you enjoy them.

        • Reply September 2, 2013

          Kris

          Thanks for letting us know, Suzi. You answered Maria’s question too! :)

  • Reply August 31, 2013

    Meg @ Beard and Bonnet

    I need a dozen of these bad boys in my life!!! Thanks for sharing and I can’t wait to see how your Christmas cards turn out;)

    • Reply September 2, 2013

      Kris

      Thanks, Meg! I hope you enjoy them. :)

  • Reply September 11, 2013

    Lillian

    I’ve been looking for a vegan chocolate icing like this for ages! Yum what perfect looking cupcakes. Can’t wait to try them.

    • Reply September 11, 2013

      Kris

      Lillian, I hope they icing is what you’re looking for!

  • [...] with a creamy vegan chocolate icing I found here, that I literally licked out of the bowl, these little cakes are easily the most delicious orange [...]

  • Reply September 21, 2013

    Janine

    I made these last week without the frosting (didn’t have time) and they were delicious! With the frosting this will probably be S’s birthday cake recipe! :)

    • Reply September 22, 2013

      Kris

      So glad you loved them, Janine. The frosting will change your life! :)

  • [...] Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes (gluten-free, dairy-free), 80 Twenty [...]

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