Zucchini Pineapple Cupcake

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Who does not love The Pioneer Woman? As soon as I started reading Ree Drummond’s story of how her life evolved from “high heels to tractor wheels”, ditching her life in L.A.  to live in a ranch in Oklahoma, I was hooked. I admire her positive outlook and enthusiasm in life. The stories she shares about how she fell in love with her ruggedly handsome cowboy husband, whom she likes to call “Malboro Man”, her life on the ranch and her four spirited children are so captivating. However, it is her spunky sense of humor that I love the most. She has a self deprecating way of writing that does not seem arrogant. It makes her likable to her readers and people relate to her more easily. Her blog is full of easy, down-home recipes and user-friendly step-by-step cooking instructions with plenty of photos. No wonder she has received numerous blog awards since 2007 and garnered THE OSCARS of the blogosphere, the Weblog of the Year at the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Bloggies Awards. That’s hardly any surprise with more than 20 million page views per month.
I came across this recipe at The Pioneer Woman, that Ree found at the Tasty Kitchen courtesy of Lindainmo and although it was nothing fancy, it was Ree’s way of writing that made it sound so delicious that convinced me to give it a try. Since I only have a small electric oven, I can only bake in small square pans, round pans or muffin pans. Rectangular pans are out of the question so I made a cupcake version instead. The zucchini and pineapple also made the cake super moist and yummy! Because of the veggie and fruit in it, it’s easy to persuade yourself that it’s okay to eat a cupcake and then maybe another one and another because it’s a “healthy” dessert (sort of)  and before you know it, half of cupcakes you’ve baked are already gone! 

recipe courtesy of Lindainmo, adapted from Tasty Kitchen

11/2 cup all purpose flour
1¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 tbsp oil 
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini 
1 (20 Oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained (reserve for the batter)

Cream Cheese Frosting
2 tbsp butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
pineapple juice
pecans, whole and chopped

Preheat oven to 350°.

Grating the Zucchini
Cut the zucchini lengthwise and scrape the seeds out of the center. Grate it unpeeled and measure about 2 cups. Lightly press the grated zucchini with a kitchen towel to absorb a little of the moisture or squeeze the grated zucchini gently.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and spices in a bowl. Combine the oil, eggs, and vanilla. Stir well. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix well. Fold the grated zucchini and pineapple into the batter. If the batter seems too stiff and dry, add a splash of the pineapple juice. Keep folding until it all comes together.

Spoon batter into the prepared cupcake tin lined with cupcake liners. Bake at 350° for about 20-23 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting
To prepare frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl at medium speed until smooth. Add the powdered sugar gradually and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla and mix well. Frost the cupcakes. Garnish with whole or chopped pecans.
filled with cream cheese and pineapple


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