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A Healthy Spin on Dessert – Chocolate-Zucchini Cupcakes

Published by Cheryl Mussatto, MS, RD, LD on Jun 14, 2019

If there ever was a food match made in heaven, its chocolate paired with zucchini.  I’m not sure why this particular blend of flavors goes so well together, but I’m just glad it does. Think of this “marriage” of two foods sort of like macaroni and cheese – comforting, wholesome, and delicious.  It never gets old or goes out of style.

Here’s a recipe I absolutely love and best of all, it’s found in my new book, The Prediabetes Action Plan and Cookbook which you can order here:

These cupcakes are a beautiful blend of decadent and rich chocolate, fresh zucchini and just enough sweetness without being overbearing.  Now, some of you may think, “But I thought I couldn’t eat anything sweet if I have prediabetes?” Remember, it’s all about balance.

Should you focus on lots of veggies and fresh fruit? Yes. Should you choose more whole grains, nuts, beans and lentils high in fiber, and lean protein such as fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids?  Absolutely.  And every so often, it’s ok to have a cupcake.  By making modifications such as tweaking a favorite recipe by using less sugar, you can still enjoy desserts on occasion.

Chocolate-zucchini cupcakes is a good mix of low carbohydrate zucchini, fiber-rich whole wheat flour, and unsweetened cocoa powder high in polyphenols such as flavonoids, a potent antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. Flavonoids not only aid in reducing cholesterol but flavonol-rich cocoa also improves nitric oxide in your blood, which relax and dilates your arteries and blood vessels, improving blood flow. And since those with diabetes have at least twice the risk of heart disease, this sweet treat on occasion, can fit into an overall healthy eating pattern. Enjoy!

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

Chocolate-Zucchini Cupcakes – makes 12 cupcakes

(Nut Free, Vegetarian)

PER SERVING: Calories: 319; Total fat: 15g; Saturated fat: 7g; Protein: 7g; Carbs: 44g; Sugar: 24g; Fiber: 4g; Cholesterol: 57mg; Sodium: 182mg

Makes 12 Cupcakes | Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 25 Minutes



Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt


8 ounces low-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract



  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, whole-wheat and all-purpose flours, eggs, granulated sugar, applesauce, cocoa powder, oil, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Fill the muffin cups with the batter, and bake for 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean.
  3. Remove from the oven, and let cool before frosting.


In a bowl or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until well combined. Stir in the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Frost the cooled cupcakes and serve, or refrigerate the finished cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

INGREDIENT TIP! If you have a high-speed blender, you can make powdered sugar at home. For 1 cup powdered sugar, start with about 1/2 cup granulated sugar and process until it resembles a fine, fluffy powder.

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Cheryl Mussatto, MS, RD, LD

Cheryl Mussatto MS, RD, LD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics and Institutional Management from Kansas State University. She is a clinical dietitian for Cotton O’Neil Clinics in Topeka and Osage City; an adjunct professor for Allen Community College, Burlingame, KS where she teaches Basic Nutrition; and is a freelance writer and blog contributor for Dr. David Samadi, Urologic Oncologist Expert and World Renowned Robotic Surgeon in New York City. Cheryl is also the author of The Nourished Brain, The Latest Science on Food’s Power for Protecting the Brain from Alzheimers and Dementia and The Prediabetes Action Plan and Cookbook, both available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback editions.

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