Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes!

Don't let the zucchini in these "Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes" scare you, no one will ever know they have zucchini in them.   Zucchini is one of my favorite summer vegetables, mainly because it's so versatile.  It's great in savory dishes like casseroles or soups and stews and it's also wonderful in sweet recipes, like breads, cakes and cookies.  

 Zucchini just takes on whatever flavors you add to it.  So, if you can't really taste it in baked items, why use it?  Zucchini has a high water content so when you add it to baked goods, you can actually cut back on some of the fat or dairy in the recipe, which is healthier.  It also makes whatever it's added to really moist and delicious.  

Here is what you will need for these yummy cupcakes:

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup sugar
2  large eggs
1  1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup buttermilk
1  1/2 cups finely shredded zucchini
1 tsp. vanilla

***Butter Cream Frosting

8 cups confectioners sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup shortening ( used Crisco)
1/3 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla
chocolate sprinkles for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together.  Add eggs one at a time and beat after each. 
Sift all of the dry ingredients together in another bowl.  Add dry ingredients, buttermilk and vanilla to the wet ingredients and beat just until combined.  Fold in the shredded zucchini and mix until incorporated.

Evenly divide and pour into cupcake tins lined with cupcake liners.   This makes 18 cupcakes. 

Place in oven and back for 18-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool. 

While the cupcakes cool, prepare the butter cream frosting.  Beat powdered sugar, butter and shortening in a large bowl.   Beat milk and vanilla flavoring.  If it's too stiff beat in more milk a few drops at a time.   Frost the cooled cupcakes and garnish with chocolate sprinkles.  Store in an airtight container.

***This butter cream frosting recipe makes a lot of frosting so you will have some leftover.  It keeps in the refrigerator for a week to 10 days.  You can also divide the recipe in half if you don't think you will be baking that soon.

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