Carrot and Zucchini Spice Muffins Or Are they Cupcakes??

Carrot and Zucchini Spice Muffins Or Are they Cupcakes??

It rained. Then it rained. And, oh did I mention, it rained again. With so much wet weather on the Labor Day weekend, we had nothing else to do but bake. Plus we had a picnic to go to. I’d just been to the Farmer’s Market and picked up zucchini, carrots, corn and green beans, so I figured I could find something to make with my loot. I remembered reading about some cupcakes that had a healthy dose of both carrot and zucchini, so I hunted down the recipe from Whole Foods. I ended up moving around some of the ingredients and increasing the applesauce when I ran out of oil. They also called for walnuts in the mix as well as a garnish on top, but I nixed those.

We endured a few mishaps during this production, but the real conundrum was whether these were cupcakes or muffins. The recipe called these babies cupcakes, but they seemed more like muffins to me. Especially after I trashed the frosting. It wound up being a glaze which I happily preferred. Muffin or cupcake, they were good. I ate them three mornings straight with my coffee, and I packed them as snacks for Scarlett.

Carrot and Zucchini Spice Muffins

1/2 cup expeller pressed canola oil (I used grapeseed oil as I was out of canola oil)
1/2 cup unbleached, evaporated cane sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 large eggs
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 medium carrots, grated
1/2 medium zucchini, grated

1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
1 2/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (add an extra one or two for glaze)


Preheat oven to 400
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, oil and applesauce. Break eggs into mix. In a separate bowl, stir together the flours, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Pour in the wet ingredients. Fold in carrots and zucchini.
Scoop spoonfuls of mix into muffin tins that are greased or have been filled with paper cupcake sheets. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick placed in the center is removed clean. Cool.
Mix the softened cream cheese with the powdered sugar. Add the lemon juice. Increase the amount of lemon juice to create a glaze.

This baking episode ended up being a family affair. My father-in-law helped grate the carrot and zucchini. Scarlett did give him a hand, but requested “no photos!” I’m pretty sure she’s planning on hiring an assistant. I also think she’ll eventually inform me that I’m not to look at her directly when I address her. This blog is going to her head.

This recipe originally called for more white flour then whole wheat pastry, but I flip flopped the two.

Scarlett lost interest in this recipe fast. It didn’t bother me. I plugged along with my father-in-law as she fiddled around the house. I don’t like to push her to join me. She usually finds her way back to the project on her own any way. It did help that her Dad said they could combine the wet and dry ingredients together as a team.

Sometimes spills happen. Actually, they happen a lot. We just toss the stuff back in the bowl.



When the cupcakes came out of the oven and cooled, I was ready to frost them. Since I’d gotten heavy-handed when squeezing the fresh lemon juice into the cream cheese mix, the frosting was more a glaze. I actually liked it better. It felt less of a sweet (is it a muffin now?) without the thick frosting. However, these cupcakes could easily be served with nothing at all (sounds like a muffin for sure now).

In the end, we still weren’t sure what to call these. When we brought them to the picnic we called them cupcakes, but, at 7:00 am on a Tuesday, muffin sounded way better, especially to my thighs.

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  1. I Heart Beauty
    September 08, 14:13 Reply
    Umm...YUM?? I need to make these. Hard to say if they're muffins or cupcakes. Guess I'll have to try for myself. Maybe they're muffins until 2pm and then they turn into cupcakes? Because honestly, who eats a cupcake before mid-afternoon? Not me...<br /><br />Oh, and Hi Dan!
  2. I Heart Beauty
    September 13, 15:09 Reply
    Update! Made these last night and they are yum, yum, YUM! I might add a little more cinnamon and maybe a bit of nutmeg next time, because I like a bit more kick. I took them out at 20 minutes because I'm big on the underbaking and it was just right!
  3. Joyce
    January 06, 01:16 Reply
    WTF?????? What is in these things crack?????? (*I mean I know you posted the ingredients) but these are over the top fantastic, especially warm!!!

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