When I was in New York this past weekend, I was surprised to see that even the famed Junior’s Bakery has gotten in on the cupcake act. But surprisingly, I didn’t eat any cupcakes while I was in the city. Not from Crumbs. Not from Magnolia. None. I just didn’t feel like it.
But when I arrived home to the smiling faces of my kids, I wanted to make some cupcakes with them. Specifically, this recipe that I’ve been working on. A while back, I had this idea to put some grated summer squash into cupcake batter as a way to use up extra squash. After all, we put zucchini in bread, right?
I bounced the idea off Will and Paige … they were all for it.
So, we set about to make these. I finely grated the squash using a box grater (a food processor would work too). Then Will and Paige, added, mixed and prepared the other ingredients. Finally, the batter was divided into cupcake liners and baked. Frost with your favorite frosting and voila … delish cupcakes.
The chocolate creates this amazing bottom layer. Then there is the soft cake, sweet frosting and sprinkling of salty, wonderful crushed almonds. It’s an amazing and fabulous contrast. As for the summer squash, it melts into the background.
You may be surprised to see that I use a boxed mix for these cupcakes. Honestly, when it comes to cake, I prefer to start with a box. Why? In my experience, cakes tend to be finicky … it doesn’t take much to have a perfectly good cake turn into a scary dry mess. Boxed mixes practically guarantee batter success.
- 1 small, (7-8 inches long) summer squash, finely grated
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 tub or recipe Frosting
- 1 cup dry-roasted almonds, (salted), crushed
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the summer squash, cake mix, water and oil, until relatively smooth (about 2-3 minutes). Stir in chocolate chips.
- Line 24 muffin cups with cupcake liners.
- Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, making sure to include chocolate in each one.
- Cook the cupcakes in the preheated oven for 20-24 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool completely, then frost generously with your favorite frosting (shown: buttercream with crushed almonds).
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.