Several years ago, I was at a birthday party and the cupcakes were frosted chocolate zucchini muffins. I remember being impressed that you couldn’t taste the zucchini, but that it was a healthier alternative than regular ol’ chocolate cake. Beyond adding some vitamin content, the addition of zucchini changes the texture to something moist and fudgy. With the right amount of chocolate, you end up with something that feels very decadent. Since the beginning of this blog, tackling a paleofied version of those cupcakes has been a goal of mine.
I needed some kind of nut flour to hold these cupcakes together, and I decided that it would be nice to use something that could contribute flavor in addition to texture and bulk. Enter the hazelnut. It’s no secret that there was a time in my life where I would eat a jar of nutella in one sitting with a spoon. I remember being addicted to these amazing chocolates with a creamy hazelnut filling and buying them every time I went shopping. Yes, the chocolate hazelnut combination is a flavor I have always loved.
These cupcakes are moist and fudgy, but still light. And, they aren’t overly sweet, which means that there’s plenty of ways you could take them to that next level of decadence and still not be going completely nuts on sugar. You could fold in some dark chocolate chips or chunks before baking. I topped them with my whipped dark chocolate frosting using bittersweet chocolate (see this recipe). You could use a pastry syringe and fill with my chocolate hazelnut “nutella” spread (see this recipe) and use this paleo-friendly “nutella” as a frosting. You could drizzle with a chocolate drizzle like in this recipe. You could do all of the above for a special, special treat.
So, without further ado, I give you my Chocolate Hazelnut Zucchini Cupcakes. And you’re welcome.
Yield: 12 cupcakes
- 2 large (or 3 medium) zucchini, grated (about 3 cups grated)
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups Hazelnuts
- 1/3 cup Muscovado Sugar (or substitute Sucanat)
- 1/4 cup Palm Shortening (or substitute unsalted butter, ghee or lard)
- 1/3 cup Tapioca Flour (this is the same thing as Tapioca Starch)
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- ½ tsp Salt
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners, use Silicone Muffin Cups.or bake in a silicone muffin pan.
- Grind hazelnuts in a Food Processor or Magic Bullet until they are super fine and almost turning into hazelnut butter..
- Finely grate zucchini (you could even process in a food processor).
- Combine ground ground hazelnuts, grated zucchini and the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl. The batter is quite runny. That’s okay–that’s why these cupcakes are so fudgy.
- As an alternative you can combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process/blend until smooth.
- Pour mixture into prepared muffin pan and bake for 30 minutes.
- Let cool completely before icing or serving. Enjoy!