February 25, 2013

Zucchini Banana Cupcakes

There are so many food-themed days that go by with a flash and I usually miss them, such as International Pancake Day, Macaron Day and National Pizza Day. This list of food days every year is insane. I don't usually need an excuse to enjoy or cook something. In this case though I thought I would take one for the team and bake cupcakes because today, Monday February 25, is National Cupcake Day.

Although I didn't officially register for official Cupcake Day festivities I thought I would make some cupcakes to show my support for a good cause. For National Cupcake Day you can bake cupcakes for friends or host a cupcake party in exchange for donations to animals in need. The fundraising goes towards Humane Societies and SPCAs across the country.

According to the website, "Your cupcakes will help give a surrendered cat a new forever home, rescue a neglected or abused animal and give them a second chance at a new life and provide emergency surgery to thousands of animals."

This is Cally. We adopted her from the Humane Society a few years ago when she was about six-months-old. As much as I am extremely grateful for what Humane Societies do--and I used to volunteer there as well--I am glad she only lived at the shelter for a short time. Many of the animals live there a lot longer than she did and the volunteers and staff treat them wonderfully, but it's not a home or where they should live for long.

They should be in loving homes with lots of space, attention and a lot of this...see picture below, i.e, napping after a long day. Before we adopted her we used to go see the animals at the shelter all the time in the hopes of one day finding the perfect pet. One day we said, "We should really get a cat. Let's go and look at them and see if there's one we like," and came home with one the same day. Her original name was "Finesse" and she charmed us with her playfulness, beauty and slight quirkiness.

Now I can't imagine life without her. After a few years, she has grown up a little bit--but not too much--and will soon will be moving to our new place with us with stairs to conquer and bigger windows to see outside. I won't get into how much of a crazy cat lady I really am. I did bake some cupcakes though, or shall I say, "cup cats."

I found the perfect printables online. They are technically for a kid's Birthday party, but who cares? There are four different types of cats you can print and wrap around cupcakes.

She is not so keen on baking though and would much rather curl up and relax than help me.

Don't be put off by the fact that these cupcakes have vegetables in them. And I guess they are a little more muffin-like than cupcakes and also a bit like banana bread. I was going to use all whole wheat flour, but sometimes find the taste can be a little too grainy. They have a mix of white and whole wheat flour, banana, zucchini and are fairly low-fat. A cupcake is a cupcake though. You could also add chocolate chips.

Zucchini Banana Cupcakes

Zucchini Banana Cupcakes (adapted from this recipe)

1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup grated zucchini
1/3 cup mashed banana (approx. 1 banana)
1 tbsp canola oil


1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Whisk together flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
3. In a large bowl, whisk egg and brown sugar until smooth. Add vanilla, butter and milk, then stir in the zucchini and banana.
4. Add in the dry ingredients until combined. Add a tbsp of oil if mixture is a little too dry.
5. Fill muffin tin liners with batter and bake for 15-17 minutes.

I was going to make my usual icing recipe from Wilton; however, I discovered I had no shortening. My Wilton cake decorating instructor told us you can use half butter and half shortening, which is what I normally do. She recommended either using all shortening or half butter, but not all butter. The icing does taste somewhat different and is a different consistency than with shortening.

After much deliberation I googled some recipes for using butter and to be honest, it all depends on how you like your icing to taste. I still prefer the shortening version although I know many people have an aversion to shortening. This version is still pretty good if you're stuck for ingredients and need some icing made quickly.

Magnolia Bakery's Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (Recipe)

1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract


Combine butter, 3 cups icing sugar, milk and vanilla into a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until smooth and then add the remaining one cup of icing sugar.

Zucchini Banana Cupcakes

Homemade Banana Chips

Banana, sliced
1 tbsp lemon juice


Slice one banana (or however many slices you need) and put them on a greased baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle lemon juice over the slices and make sure to coat each piece. Bake for 2 hours at 200F. These are made similar to kale chips as an alternative to dehydrating the fruit.

Depending on how long you bake them, the banana chips won't be quite the same or as crispy as store bought. I think they make a neat decoration for cupcakes though. Next time I might try incorporating the banana into the icing.

Zucchini Banana Cupcakes

Find National Cupcake Day on Twitter and use the hashtag #NationalCupcakeDay to see how people everywhere are celebrating with cupcakes and supporting animals in need.

1 comment:

  1. Cute kitty, cute cupcakes, and I love the liners. Super adorable.


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