Like any gardener, I have Zucchini’s coming out my ears every summer. As anyone who has raised zucchini knows, if you forget to look at the plant for a day, that cute little four inch zucchini is now two feet long. I’m always looking for ways to use up the zucchini and years ago when I made my Chinese 5 Spice Zucchini Bread, it became my go to recipe.
This year, I thought, why not make zucchini cupcakes? After thinking through flavor combinations, I knew I wanted them to taste summer fresh and I wanted to serve them at my Chinese themed party. I quickly thought about combining essentially the zucchini bread recipe with pineapple and Chinese 5 Spice!
The combination of pineapple and zucchini is a marriage in heaven. The cupcakes stay moist and yet the sweetness from the pineapple kicks it over the top. I decided to frost them with a vanilla bean cream cheese frosting — I added some of the leftover pineapple juice. Make these today; they are so simple and tasty!
- 1 ¼ cups sugar
- 1 ½ cups flour
- ¾ cup coconut
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3 teaspoons Chinese 5 Spice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups grated zucchini
- 1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained and juice reserved
- 8 ounce block of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened at room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract paste *
- pineapple juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In one bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, coconut, soda and 5 spice.
- In a second bowl, mix the eggs, oil, vanilla, zucchini and pineapple.
- Mix the dry mixture into the wet mixture and keep stirring until it becomes moist and batter-like.
- Scoop batter into prepared cupcake liners in a cupcake pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
- In the bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter together. With the mixer on low speed gradually add in the powdered sugar and keep mixing until everything is combined. Add in the vanilla paste, and if too dry and thick, loosen it up with a bit of the reserved pineapple juice.
- Frost each cupcake and enjoy!
I like to use this vanilla paste because it has actual vanilla bean bits in it. So, when you use it in a white frosting, you will see the vanilla beans throughout! If you don’t have the paste, you can use normal vanilla extract.