There’s something about the combination of berries and chocolate that just makes sense. Now chocolate and berries for valentine’s day? Come on, talk about a home run. These Chocolate Zucchini-Carrot Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting will definitely make a statement on Valentine’s Day (or really any occasion). To be honest, my interest in Valentine’s Day is purely for the food and the opportunity to create something new and exciting for a specific theme – any excuse to cook, right? Since I’m cooking up some pink treats, I figured Nicki Minaj‘s latest album The Pinkprint was appropriate for my cooking playlist.
I’m so intrigued by sneaking healthy ingredients into seemingly decadent desserts, these cupcakes were no exception. I was able to find two different recipes that achieved this goal. The cupcake recipe required a cup of pureed zucchini and of carrots, respectively and the frosting called for a cup of pureed fresh raspberries. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that these cupcakes are equivalent to eating a salad, but if you’re going to eat a dessert why not one with additional vitamins and fibre? Exactly :)
I found the cupcake portion of this recipe to be quite a seamless procedure. Everything in the recipe went according to plan. The one alteration that I made to this cake recipe was pureeing the zucchini and carrots. The original recipe called for grated veggies, which I was hesitant about using since I was hoping for a more homogenous cake mixture. A few minutes in the food processor and the grated veggies turned into a beautiful pureed mash (don’t worry, it will look like baby food).
The frosting was another story. This portion of the recipe was – in a few words – a pain in my ass. Luckily, my music was playing and quickly calmed me down. Typically, frosting is fluffy and creamy. To my disappointment, this frosting didn’t look that way; the liquid was not emulsifying with the butter and the mixing bowl looked like tiny butter pieces floating in a sea of pink liquid. Not ideal.
I wasn’t going to let this frosting recipe go to waste, if only to salvage the delicious raspberries. I did a quick Google search and found some frosting fixes on “How to Thicken Frosting“. After adding a bit of extra butter and icing sugar, I decided to slightly warm the butter on the stove in the hopes that a unified liquid mixture would be easier to whip into a frosting. It did, but I still found the frosting to be slightly runny. I made an executive decision that these cupcakes would have more of a frosted glaze than a mound of frosting – and I like them better this way!
If you run into a problem mid-way through your recipe, don’t give up. Odds are, someone else had experienced the same problem and have provided a work around. If not, come up with your own work around. It’s all part of the experimentation process. Get concocting!
- 1-1/4 cups butter, softened
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup baking cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1 cup grated zucchini (approx. 2 medium zucchini)
- 1 cup grated carrots (approx. 4 carrots)
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Additional fresh raspberries, for garnish-if desired
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
- Combine the flour, baking cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with yogurt, beating well after each addition.
- Puree zucchini and carrots in food processor. Fold into remaining mixture.
- Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Frost cupcakes.
- In a food processor or blender, puree the raspberries. Pour raspberries through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing on solids, to eliminate the seeds.
- Place butter, half of the powdered sugar, vanilla and raspberry puree into mixing bowl. Beat over low speed until well-blended. Add the other half of the sugar, increase speed to medium. Mix until light and fluffy.
- Frost cooled cupcakes with the raspberry buttercream and top each cupcake with a fresh raspberry, if desired.
- Frosting Recipe (Two Peas and Their Pod): http://goo.gl/a0nVNe