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
Instructions
  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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