Sweet zucchini cupcakes

I’ve heard many times before that zucchini is a garden favourite: it’s relatively easy to grow and it can yield a true bumper crop. I planted zucchini for the first time this past summer, but the neighbourhood animals ate them before I could. Thankfully, our lovely neighbour kept us fully stocked with seasonal goodies from her own well-loved (and enclosed) garden. But frankly, I got to the point where I didn’t know what to do with it all! So my freezer is now packed with summer’s bounty that I can enjoy as we head into the winter months.

Since one can only make so many zucchini lasagnas and baked zucchini side dishes, many people turn to making baked goods out of the ubiquitous squash. There are plenty of recipes out there for delicious zucchini breads and muffins, but this recipe adds a little sweetness and glamour to the mix.

Sweet Zucchini Cupcakes | A Dash of Compassion

This sweet zucchini cupcake recipe isn’t just ideal for those experiencing a surplus of zucchini, it’s also a great way to add an extra serving of veggies to your diet. The full cup of zucchini in this treat adds the perfect amount of moisture, as well as a good dose of folate, manganese and vitamin A. I love integrating nutritious vegetables into dessert-making, so I may just have to come up with new uses for carrots and sweet potatoes (and even beets!) to expand on this theme for future posts. Let me know if you have any suggestions!

For those who are new to vegan baking, the nondairy milk and apple cider vinegar are used as a buttermilk substitute here, which helps provide leavening properties and a tender crumb. Just whisk the vinegar in the nondairy milk and let it sit for about 5 minutes to allow it to curdle before adding it to the liquid ingredients.

For the cupcake icing, I wanted to come up with an alternative to traditional sugar-loaded buttercream, and this cashew cinnamon icing certainly hits the mark! Although it’s much thinner than buttercream, it’s creamy and nutty and is a perfect complement to these charming little cupcakes. Enjoy!

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Sweet zucchini cupcakes

Yield: one dozen



    • 1 cup light spelt flour
    • 3/4 unbleached flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/2 tsp sea salt
    • 1/2 cup nondairy milk
    • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
    • 1/2 cup agave nectar
    • 1/4 cup sunflower or canola oil
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 1 cup finely grated zucchini, packed (about 1 medium zucchini)

Cashew cinnamon icing:

  • 12 oz firm silken tofu (I use Mori-Nu)
  • 3/4 cup cashew butter
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon



    1. In a small bowl, whisk together the nondairy milk and vinegar. Set aside.
    2. In a large bowl, sift together the spelt flour, unbleached flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt.
    3. Add the agave nectar, oil and vanilla extract to the buttermilk mixture and whisk until combined.
    4. Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and mix until just combined, and then gently mix in the zucchini.
    5. Spoon cupcake batter into a cupcake pan lined with paper holders, filling each about 3/4 full.
    6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool before decorating with cashew cinnamon frosting (recipe below) and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.

Cashew cinnamon icing:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
  2. Spoon mixture into a container and refrigerate for at least an hour to firm up.
  3. Spread icing onto cupcakes as desired and store them in the fridge until ready to serve.


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