Vanilla Spice Cupcakes

These cupcakes are incredibly easy to whip up, and with the addition of grated zucchini, they’re a little less indulgent than your average cupcake but every bit as moist and delicious. The vanilla cupcakes have the added boost of pumpkin pie spice, and the cream cheese frosting has a nice citrus tang thanks to orange extract and lemon zest.

Vanilla Spice Cupcakes

Vanilla Spice Cupcakes

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The Vanilla Spice Cupcakes are topped with an orange and lemon cream cheese frosting and use grated zucchini to replace butter or oil.


  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup finely ground almonds
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1-1/4 cups finely grated zucchini

For the frosting:

  • 6 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1-1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon orange extract
  • Lemon zest to taste


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare 12 silicone cupcake baking cups by spraying lightly with nonstick spray and placing on a baking sheet.
  • In a stand mixer, mix the cupcake ingredients until thoroughly combined. Spoon an equal amount into each baking cup, allowing about 1/4″ at the top of the cup to accommodate rising.
  • Bake for 25 minutes and set the baking cups on a rack to cool.
  • In the meantime, whip the softened cream cheese, sugar, orange extract and lemon zest at high speed in the mixer until well combined.
  • Once the cupcakes have cooled, remove them from the silicone baking cups and frost them. Refrigerate cupcakes not to be eaten right away.

Tips for Making This Recipe

The cupcake recipe is an adaptation of one found in "Cook Yourself Thin," a book based on the Lifetime Network television series. The addition of zucchini reduces the need for fattening butter or oil, yet the cupcakes don't lose any moisture. The ground almonds contribute to the excellent texture and add a healthy dose of cholesterol-reducing monounsaturated fats.
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