Vegan Blueberry Zucchini Cupcakes
These vegan blueberry zucchini cupcakes are my absolute favorite! The flavor profile is based on my vegan and gluten-free blueberry zucchini oatmeal cookies, with the addition of a vegan lemon buttercream frosting (because why not?!). YUM! These cupcakes are light in taste and texture, with hints of fall spices like cardamom and cinnamon. Cardamom pairs really well with blueberries and with citrus fruits, and I’ve taken advantage of that here. You can also just enjoy these as a muffin and leave off the frosting. I ate a few of them that way before I got around to making it. 🙂
The other big thing about this recipe? It comes along with my first food blog video ever! I have started a YouTube channel and will post my videos there. Like my blog posts, the videos are going to be quick and straight to the point. Let’s get baking!
Step-by-step instructions in a video format for this recipe are available on my YouTube Channel.
Step 1. About an hour before you start, set out 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter of your choice on the counter to soften.
When you are ready to start baking, make sure the oven rack is in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400F. Prepare your cupcake pan by either greasing each baking cup or by using liners.
The egg replacements in this recipe are unsweetened applesauce and a flax egg. To make the flax egg, measure out 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed and 3 tablespoons of boiling water into a small bowl. Gently mix together and let sit for at least 5 minutes to thicken.
Next, we need to prepare the zucchini and fresh blueberries. Wash your zucchini, dry it, then grate enough of it so that you have 3/4 of a cup. Any leftover shredded zucchini can be frozen. Measure how much you are going to freeze, and then put it into a labeled freezer bag with the amount and put it into the freezer. The reason why I say to measure it beforehand is that it shrinks a lot after it’s been frozen. Getting back to the freshly grated zucchini, use a kitchen towel to dry the shredded zucchini as best you can. It doesn’t need to be bone dry, but you also don’t want it soaking wet. Set aside. This recipe calls for 1 cup of frozen blueberries, but if you are using fresh, measure out 1 cup and then wash and dry them.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together 1/2 cup of butter of your choice with 3/4 cup granulated sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 flax egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon (6 tablespoons total) milk of your choice, 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, and 3/4 cup shredded zucchini. Mix on medium speed until combined.
Step 2. Add in 2 cups of gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free 1:1 baking flour; 4.8 oz/cup) in one cup increments. Mix thoroughly after each addition. Gently fold in 1 cup of frozen blueberries.
Step 3. Dispense batter into cupcake pan using a leveled 1/4 cup.
Step 4. Reduce heat to 375F. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in muffin tin for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling. After they are finished cooling, you can either eat them as-is, or you can top them with a vegan lemon buttercream frosting. If you’re interested in frosting, continue onto Step 5 below which will teach you how to pipe buttercream frosting. Alternatively, you can just use a knife and spread some on :).
Step 5. While the cupcakes are baking, we need to prepare the vegan lemon buttercream frosting and prepare our piping bag. Written instructions for the buttercream can be found here. Alternatively, I also have a video tutorial for the buttercream on my YouTube channel.
The instructions on how to prepare the piping bag and pipe a rose are somewhat long. For a quicker version, check out my YouTube tutorial on how to pipe buttercream frosting.
To prepare the piping bag, you are going to need a piping bag or a gallon-sized Ziploc bag, a piping tip (I used the Wilton 2D to make a rose shape), scissors, and scotch tape. Start by cutting off a small piece of a corner away from the piping bag. Then put the tip in and push through the hole. You want the perimeter of the hole to fall in the middle of the piping tip. If that’s not the case, remove the piping tip, cut off a little more, and see where things are at. Once the piping bag falls in the middle of the tip, use a piece of scotch tape to secure the bag to the tip. Put the piping bag into a tall mason jar or a tall drinking glass and fold the edge of the piping bag over the side. Open up the center with your hand and fill it with the frosting. Don’t fill the bag all the way up, otherwise, you won’t be able to close it. Once you are finished filling the bag, remove it from the jar and seal it by twisting the end of the piping bag. Work the frosting down into the tip with your other hand while keeping the end twisted shut. We are now ready to frost the cupcakes! Or, you can just pipe it straight into your mouth :D.
Before piping, make sure the cupcakes are completely cooled. To pipe a rose shape, you are going to start in the center of the cupcake and work your way out to the perimeter. Gently apply pressure to the side of the bag and at the top where you are twisting. If you get a little tail on the backside of the cupcake when you pull the tip away, you can just take your finger and blend it in.
And that’s all there is to it!
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Vegan Blueberry Zucchini Cupcakes
- 1/2 cup butter of your choice
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons boiling water) (OR 1 large egg)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons milk of your choice
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3/4 cup shredded unpeeled zucchini, patted dry
- 2 cups 1:1 gluten-free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill gluten-free 1:1 baking flour, 4.8 oz/cup) (OR 2 cups regular all-purpose flour)
- 1 cup fresh (washed and dried) or frozen blueberries
- Arrange oven rack to be in the middle. Preheat to 400F. Grease or line cupcake pan. Mix ingredients for flax egg and let it thicken for 5 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter of your choice with granulated sugar using an electric mixer on medium speed. To the large bowl, add ground cinnamon, ground cardamom, Kosher salt, baking powder, flax egg, vanilla extract, milk of your choice, unsweetened applesauce, and shredded zucchini. Mix on medium speed until combined.
- Add flour in two additions, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
- Gently fold in blueberries.
- Fill each cupcake liner with a 1/4 cup of cupcake batter.
- Reduce heat to 375F. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in muffin tin for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
- After the cupcakes are finished cooling, you can either eat them as-is, or you can frost them with a vegan lemon buttercream frosting or any other frosting of your choice. You can either spread the frosting on with a butter knife, or you can pipe the frosting. To learn how to set-up a piping bag and frost a cupcake, check out my tutorial on YouTube.
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