Mexican Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Cocoa Tajín Buttercream

Cinco de Mayo dessert anyone?  Or just an excuse to eat these slightly spiced, crazy moist, chocolate cupcakes with even more chocolate buttercream, laced with chile lime seasoning.

Mexican Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Cocoa Tajin ButtercreamThese are a lot easier than they sound!  The key is a jazzed up boxed cake mix.  Add in shredded zucchini to call it a vegetable and you’ll feel less guilty. (wink wink).

These are crazy moist cupcakes so when they come out of the oven you might see some crumbs on your toothpick.  What you’re actually going to look for is when the cupcakes start to pull away from the side of the cups in the pan.

moist chocolate cupcakesSee how they’re just pulling away right there?  And dry looking around the edge?  It’s OK that middles are bit glossy, as long as they are set.  This is how you want these.  It also makes them still fabulous if you make them a day ahead…which I almost always do.

For the buttercream, I’m pretty lazy.  I melt my chocolate in the microwave for goodness sake.  It really has very few ingredients so it comes together quickly, especially if you have a stand mixer.  If not, a hand held electric mixer will be fine.

Cinco de Mayo CupcakesSprinkle a little Tajín on top and you’re good to go!  By the way, I live in Southern California, where Taíjn is in every grocery store.  It’s a Mexican chile lime seasoning.  You might have to find it in the international section of your grocery store depending on where you live. 

TajinAnd no, this is not a sponsored post, just an ingredient my family enjoys.

Mexican Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Cocoa Tajín Buttercream
Yields 18
Slightly spiced chocolate cupcakes! Zucchini makes these ultra moist. These are topped with a cocoa buttercream and sprinkled with Tajín chile lime seasoning.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
For the cupcakes
  1. 1 boxed chocolate cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Devil's Food)
  2. The ingredients listed on the box (my mix, listed above, asked for 1 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cup oil and 3 eggs)
  3. 1 large zucchini, grated
  4. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Cocoa Buttercream
  1. 1 cup dark chocolate
  2. 1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temp)
  3. 2-5 Tablespoons heavy cream
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  5. 1 pound confectioners sugar
  6. 1/2 teaspoon ancho powder
  7. 1/2 teaspoon Tajín
  8. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  9. extra Tajín for sprinkling on top
  1. Start the cake mix by preheating your oven to the temperature given on the box. Then shred the zucchini. If you have a food processor you can make really fast work of this.
  2. Make mix according to package directions with the egg, oil and water, but add the spices to the mix before mixing. Gently fold in the zucchini until evenly mixed.
  3. Pour into a greased cupcake pan about 2/3 - 3/4 full. Bake according to package directions but start checking them early. Mine take 14-19 minutes. You're looking for the edges of the cupcakes to look slightly dry and just starting to separate from the sides of the cupcake pan. There might be glossy spots on top but there shouldn't be any puddles or jiggles.
  4. Meanwhile, start the buttercream. Combine the butter, 2 Tablespoons cream, sugar, vanilla, and spices with a mixer. Cut up the chocolate (if not using chip form) and microwave 30 seconds at a time until melted, stirring in between each interval.
  5. Once the chocolate is melted, add it to the buttercream mixture and beat until fluffy and smooth. You might need to add more cream in, a tablespoon at a time, until it smooths out. I've used up to 5 tablespoons total, but never needed more than that. Some days it just comes together with less liquid than other days.
  6. Once cupcakes are completely cooled, spread frosting over the top. Then lightly sprinkle Tajín over cupcakes. Use a light hand from a foot or two high for more even sprinkling. A little goes a long way here.
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It’s Almost Summertime! Paleo Chocolate Mocha Ice Cream Sandwiches are Back!

A Paleo version of an ice cream sandwich for one. Chocolate mocha ice cream sandwich.

I posted this last summer on my old personal blog before I started this blog that is pretty much dedicated to my food.  It’s going to be in the eighties this week and quickly climb into the nineties this weekend.  I think it’s totally OK to make ice cream sandwiches under those circumstances, even if it is only April.

I LOVE ice cream sandwiches, but I’m trying to control myself more lately.  Hence the invention of these lovelies.

Paleo Chocolate Mocha Ice Cream Sandwich

This is a recipe for 1!  I find that helps me not over eat them…because I could eat a whole box of ice cream sammies from the store and not bat an eye.

chocolate mocha ice cream sandwich

For the mocha cookies:  (these cookies were inspired by

1/2 C almond flour

2 Tablespoons tapioca starch

1 Tablespoon maple syrup

1 Tablespoon coconut oil

1 Tablespoons chocolate chips (minis work well) or chopped dark chocolate

1 teaspoon cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder


Preheat the oven to 350°.  Mix all the ingredients. I find it easier to just get in there with my hands.  😉  Then divide the mixture into two equal balls.  Pat balls down gently on a silicone baking mat on a cookie sheet.  These should be about 4 inches across.  They’re slightly thicker than I normally make cookies because they need to hold up in ice cream sandwich territory.

Bake for 13-15 minutes.  You’re looking for golden edges and solid but not hard cookies.


Meanwhile, make the filling:

1 frozen banana

1 Tablespoon cocoa powder

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1/2 Tablespoon raw honey


I like to sit the frozen bananas out for about 10-15 minutes to slightly thaw.  I find they blend easier that way.  Slice bananas and place in food processor.  Add in the other ingredients.  blitz until smooth and creamy like ice cream.  If it seems too soft at this point, put it in the freezer for a few minutes to firm it up.  Don’t leave it too long though.  This stuff gets really hard. 

Once your cookies are cooled and your ice cream is ready, slather a generous amount of the ice cream onto one cookie and top with the other cookie. 

You can either enjoy right away or wrap with plastic wrap and place in freezer until ready to consume. 

Paleo Chocolate Mocha Ice Cream SandwichDon’t rush through this one.  Sit and enjoy slowly.  Not so slowly the ice cream melts, just slowly enough to actually savor each bite.

Cinnamon Hot Cocoa With Bourbon Vanilla Whipped Cream

Hot cocoa is comfort food ya know.  And there are soooooo many ways to jazz it up, not that it needs jazzing up.  But sometimes you’re just walking through Trader Joes and see Bourbon Vanilla Extract and you think, that’d make a great whipped cream for hot cocoa!

cinnamon hot cocoa with bourbon vanilla whipped creamAnd then you just have to go home and make it. 

It’s as simple as whipping cream and adding some flavor to it.  You can use your favorite hot cocoa and just add cinnamon, but I put a recipe in below just in case you want to make it from scratch.  Hot cocoa is one of those things that’s really easy from scratch and tastes so much better than a packet.

bourbon vanilla whipped cream

So if you’ve forgiven me for starting too many sentences with conjunctions in this post, and you have a hankerin’ for a warm liquid treat, see the recipe card below.

Cinnamon Hot Chocolate with Bourbon Vanilla Whipped Cream
Serves 3
Cinnamon hot chocolate with bourbon vanilla whipped cream is a decadent cup of warm comfort.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
For the hot cocoa
  1. 3 cups milk (I use whole)
  2. 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  3. 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  4. 1/4 dark chocolate chips
For the bourbon vanilla whipped cream
  1. 1 cup heavy cream
  2. 1 Tablespoon bourbon vanilla extract
  3. 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  4. 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  1. Begin by heating the milk in a saucepan until just barely starting to see bubbles around the edges. Remove from heat, add in the cocoa powder, brown sugar and chocolate chips. Whisk until it all dissolves.
  2. Meanwhile, in a cold mixing bowl, whip the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add in the powdered sugar, extract, and salt and continue whipping until you have the consistency you like in whipped cream. Do not over whip or you'll have bourbon vanilla butter. 😉
  3. Pour hot cocoa into a mug, top with a large dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle extra cinnamon over the top. Enjoy warm.
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