Do you decide on the cake or the frosting first? I found this frosting to try and it turned out so great that I needed to find a more acceptable vehicle to transport it to a mouth than a mere spoon. At first I decided on a simple spice cake. I may still do that at some point but spring is looming and my garden gloves are calling me. So I thought something with zucchini in it would be appropriate to add to the arsenal of ways to use up the bounty of the prolific plant. I adore zucchini bread but for this occasion I did want something lighter and more cupcake friendly. These little morsels filled the bill. And the frosting is delightfully fluffy and silky like a true buttercream.
Update: These freeze amazingly well, just freeze first on a rack or plate, then into a ziploc freezer bag or container. They thaw to just like fresh in only 20-30 minutes.
Mini Zucchini Spice Cupcakes
makes 3 dozen bite sized cupcakes
¼ cup sunflower oil (melted butter or a blend would also be awesome here)
¼ cup orange juice
3 tbsp applesauce
1 large egg
1½ tbsp evaporated cane sugar
½ tsp almond extract
1½ cups light spelt flour (or 1¼ cup all purpose)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp ground cloves
¾ cup finely shredded zucchini (1 small zucchini will yield around a cup)
Preheat oven to 325ºF and line two mini muffin pans with paper liners. In a mixing bowl, combine the oil, juice, applesauce, egg, sugars and extract until thoroughly mixed. Combine the dry ingredients and stir into the egg mixture. Add zucchini and stir well. Using a tablespoon cookie dough scoop to portion batter into pans will yield exactly three dozen mini cupcakes. If you only have one or two pans, the batter may sit between batches, just don't stir it or the cakes will be slightly smaller. Bake for 15 minutes or until done. Cool for a few minutes before removing to a wire rack. Cool completely before frosting as desired.
Un-canned Cream Cheese Frosting
makes about 2 cups
8 tbsp butter
¼ cup unhydrogenated shortening
2 oz cream cheese
1 tbsp tapioca syrup
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp vanilla
1½ cup confectioner's sugar
½ tsp sea salt
pinch baking powder (finger pinch, NOT 1/8 tsp)
pinch citric acid (finger pinch, NOT 1/8 tsp)
Cream the butter, shortening and cream cheese in a stand mixer for two to three minutes until smooth and fluffy. Scrape down the sides. Add the syrups and vanilla and beat for another two to three minutes until silky smooth.
Add the sugar, salt, baking powder and citric acid and combine on low speed until moistened. Turn the machine up to medium high and beat for four minutes until smooth and glossy, like you would see in a canned frosting. Scrape down once or twice during mix time.