The Ultimate Healthy Chocolate Cupcake

Paleo Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Grassfed Buttercream Frosting

These may look like normal sugar and flour laden cupcakes, but they’re not, they’re healthy!  Besides being grain-free, gluten-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free and paleo, they are also a sneaky way of hiding zucchini in a dessert.

I have tried many other recipes for paleo cupcakes before, but most called for strange ingredients or complicated procedures.  Even worse, most of them just ended up heavy, bitter or greasy and would stick to their cupcake wrappers.  I began to feel discouraged that I would ever find a recipe that worked.

That was until I tried this recipe, which is actually for brownies, but the adjustments I made resulted in a texture that was definitely more like a cake than brownies.  I was amazed the first time I made these that with only 8 simple ingredients I could make a substantial cupcake with great texture that was not overly sweet.  They were light, raised well and the wrapper pulled away easily.  I found the perfect recipe!

When they are topped with my super simple Grassfed Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, they are even better.  With just 3 all natural ingredients frosting has never been so good or good for you!

 

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcake
1/3 c cacao powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 c almond butter
1/3 c raw honey
1 egg
2 c shredded zucchini

Grassfed Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1/2 c grassfed butter
1/4 c raw honey
1 tbsp cacao powder

Paleo Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Grassfed Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

If possible, take all your refrigerated ingredients (egg, almond butter, butter) out about an hour ahead of time to let them sit and come to room temperature.  This helps the cupcakes rise properly because they are not warming up when they first get in the oven.  It is also especially important for the butter in the frosting because you won’t be able to mix it if it is still cold.

When you are ready to get started preheat your oven to 350F.

Shred the zucchini either by hand or in the food processor and have ready.  I use a medium-sized zucchini with the skin and it yields about 2 cups when shredded.

In a large bowl whisk together the cacao powder, baking soda, sea salt and cinnamon until evenly incorporated and no lumps remain.  You can use cocoa powder if that’s all you have and the cinnamon is just for flavor, you can leave it out if you’d like.

Then add in your almond butter, honey and egg and mix until it forms a thick batter.  There’s no harm in overworking the dough because the batter doesn’t have any gluten in it.

Finally, mix in the zucchini shreds.  They will hydrate the batter and make it much more loose.

Paleo Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Grassfed Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcake wrappers and fill each up about 3/4ths full with the batter.  Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick poked through the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Let them cool thoroughly before attempting to frost.  If you put frosting on a warm cupcake it will melt right off.  If you are in a hurry then stick them in the freezer for about 15 minutes make sure they are completely cool to the touch.

While they are cooling you can prep the frosting.  Using a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer, work the soft butter and honey together until they are well blended, you might have to scrape down the sides a few times.  Then add in the cacao powder and incorporate well.

I liked that just a small amount of cacao still lets the honey stand out so I found the flavor more like caramel.  But if you want a really chocolatey frosting you can add 1-2 extra tablespoons of cacao powder.

Paleo Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Grassfed Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Paleo Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Grassfed Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

You can simply spread the frosting on when you’re done or use a piping bag and tip to make designs.  You can also top with fruit like I did here, or maybe shredded almond or coconut.  Have fun with the recipe, it’s easily adaptable!

Yields 1 dozen cupcakes

Paleo Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Grassfed Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

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