These best chocolate zucchini cupcakes are healthy with hidden veggie zucchini and they have a deep chocolate flavor and devils food texture. And this vegan cupcake recipe is dairy-free and without gluten.
Best Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes (vegan, gluten-free)
These best chocolate zucchini cupcakes are healthy with hidden veggie zucchini and they have a deep chocolate flavor and devils food texture.
Okay so I improved the recipe for these chocolate zucchini cupcakes recently because I learned a bit of magical science.
I call it the magic trifecta. It improves gluten-free baking textures by a significant margin.
And I seriously wanted to apply my new-found knowledge to my chocolate zucchini gluten-free cupcake recipe because gluten-free baking is hard and when you get it right, you have to share! IMO..
So, do you want to know how the change impacted the recipe? Sit down, and I’ll tell you.
Do you remember a artificially-ingredient-ladened processed snack cake named “devil dogs“? They were super soft and deeply chocolate-y in a fake but delicious (haha!) sort of way.
Well, here is a cupcake with the SAME cake-y insides, only muccch healthier.
No artificial ingredients.
There is zucchini in the batter.
Has almond butter (or sub sunflower butter for nut-free).
And refined coconut oil so no taste of coconut is present.
And the texture, oh. my. gosh. Melt in your mouth.
Like the softest devils food cake.
Well, I think you should just make them, don’t you?
First let me explain the magic trifecta.
The Magic Trifecta
The improvements are based on science. Well, actually ALL baking is based on science but there is an extra bit of science (and perhaps magic?) going on here.
First of all, thanks to a neighbor’s tip, I learned the first “fecta” (is that a word?) to create the magic trifecta. That is..drumrolll…….to not just curdle my milk with apple cider vinegar, but to add baking soda in it as well.
This wild double-whammy science experiment that does something incredible with the cupcake texture. Hello velvety soft and moist!
Next, I was super diligent about following expert bakers’ advice to not mix the batter too long, especially gluten-free batter.
Finally, I turned the pan around half-way through baking because all ovens apparently are hotter in the back left. (Why left? I don’t know.) This ensured an even bake for all my cutie-pie cupcakes.
I actually had to make this recipe three times and tweak the ingredients a bit before I got it right.
But right it is now, so I do hope you try my magical remake. And I also reduced the recipe to 6 servings for ease – you can always double it if you want to make more.
How Healthy is Zucchini?
Yes, I know, it’s all the rage to put zucchini and cauliflower in everything.
Well, it’s a good rage! Let me tell you how healthy zucchini is.
This green summer vegetable is zero in fat and high in water and fiber.
It is full of essential nutrients such as vitamins B6, folate, C and K. My favorite though is how high it is in potassium, which is just such an essential mineral that people never get enough of..
Imagine eating a cupcake to get enough potassium to help your heart, sleep, joints and more. I’d say that’s a win-win for me, you and the cupcake!
How to Store Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
These freeze well (at least a month) but they are so easy to make and so delicious warm, it’s probably best to make them fresh.
And even though they are actually so delicious with nothing on top, you can also top it with my vegan dairy-free buttercream or your favorite icing, and a few vegan sprinkles and we have the perfect birthday cupcake. Hello, Georgetown Cupcake!
Happy veggie sneaking, haha! Feel free to pin the image below to save and share!
Don’t miss a thing, subscribe here to get recipes delivered to your inbox!
Best Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)
A delicious hidden-veggie dessert that is dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan and has the softest devil's food inner texture ever!
- 3/4 cup almond milk
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup fresh zucchini (pureed, see directions below)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (must be refined to avoid coconut flavor)
- 1 tbsp almond butter (or your choice nut/seed butter - it supplies extra healthy fat)
- 1 tbsp coffee (optional to enhance chocolate flavor)
Vanilla Icing (pictured)
- 3 1/2 cups vegan powdered sugar vegan means no bone-char
- 1 cup vegan butter chilled, chopped
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-3 tbsp plant milk or amount needed to achieve desired texture
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line cupcake pans with quality paper linings.
Next, prep the zucchini. For optimum moisture, cook the zucchini before making a puree. Wash, chop (don't peel), and boil it for about 3-5 minutes.
Drain the water, and puree the softened zucchini chunks in a food processor (I used my 4-cup mini processor) or blender into a smooth consistency. The puree is a bit speckly and that's just fine.
Make the magic trifecta: In to a one-cup measuring cup, add the milk and ACV and allow that to sit for 10 minutes. Then add the baking soda to that. The vinegar reacts with baking soda and triggers carbon dioxide to lift the cake! Magic.
Make the cupcakes
Now, we are ready to mix it up!! To the magic trifecta measuring cup, add the remaining wet ingredients, coconut oil, zucchini puree, nut butter and coffee. Stir with a spoon until just combined.
In a larger bowl, combine dry ingredients. Wisk hard to break up clumps.
Add the wet mix to the dry, and hand mix briefly, only until the batter is combined.
Spoon the mixed batter into cupcake cups, filling each cup about 3/4 of the way. My batter texture was somewhere between pourable and spoonable. If yours is too dry, add a touch of milk. The moisture variation is going to be with the zucchini puree.
Put the pan in the oven, set to bake 17-19 minutes.
However, after 8 minutes, quickly turn the pan around. This will ensure an even bake as the back of the oven is always hotter. Check the cake with a tester at around 17 minutes.
Cool cupcakes 2 minutes in the pan; then 15 minutes out of the pan. Make sure they are completely cool before frosting.
Pour the powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl. Chop chilled butter into rough chunks, add to sugar and add in vanilla and 2 tbsp of milk.
Blend until creamy.
Feel free to add more milk if you need to, to achieve the texture you want.
To keep this frosting from hardening as it cools, soak a paper towel in water and cover the bowl completely with it and leave it on the kitchen counter.
I still have to stir up the frosting for smoothness once it is cooled and ready to use.
Pipe using a frosting bag and a 1M tip. In fact, I used the frosting piping system by Wilton.
Dee Dine is the recipe developer and writer behind Green Smoothie Gourmet. She shares her super healthy wholesome recipes on her blog and her Instagram that she feeds her family and friends. She gravitates toward recipes that are fast to create, plant-based, nutritious, easy, and use familiar ingredients. And chocolate is always a good idea! More about Dee.