Zucchini-Pineapple Cupcakes with Orange Sour Cream Frosting

A couple of months ago I posted something on Facebook about zucchini – probably a new recipe that I had posted – and follower Bobbie mentioned that she had a recipe for Zucchini-Pineapple Cupcakes with Orange Sour Cream Frosting and asked if I’d like her to send it to me. Oh yes! The recipe sounded awesome and I couldn’t wait to make it! I love so much when readers send me their recipes – it means a lot to me to have you share a little bit of your kitchen with me. Remember when Lissa shared her filling for those Homemade Peanut Butter Cups? Sublime. And these cupcakes? Sublime.

The batter for these cupcakes smells amazing, and the aroma that comes pillowing out of the oven? I could almost taste them. The variety of flavors that complement each other so well in these still blows my mind – the sweet pineapple, spicy cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, and then contrasted beautifully by the sweet, tangy and orange-flavored frosting.

Now you all know that about 95% of my food is 100% from scratch, but from time to time I grant myself the use of some pre-made mixes. This is one of those recipes. As I’ve said before, if it’s not a habit but a once-in-a-while thing, I’m okay with it. Plus, I think it’s good to have a few recipes on hand that you can whip up pretty quickly and easily if the need arises!

I hope you all enjoyed the little guessing game yesterday! I thought it would be something fun to do. Plus, I got tons of awesome recipe ideas, love your creativity! Many of you had really great guesses that were reallllly close to the recipe, but the first person to guess the exact recipe was Jessica, who said:

“A Zucchini CupCake with Crushed Pineapple for moisture and flavor, with Orange Sour Cream frosting!”

Congratulations Jessica, you win the $50 Williams-Sonoma gift card!

If you still have a bounty of zucchini to use up, stay tuned because I’ll have another zucchini recipe (one of my grandma’s!) featured next week!

One year ago: Salted Caramel Brownies
Two years ago: Chocolate Chip & Pretzel Cookie Bars
Three years ago: Zebra Cake
Four years ago: Samoas Brownies

Zucchini-Pineapple Cupcakes with Orange Sour Cream Frosting

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes


For the Cupcakes:
1 package (about 18 ounces) yellow cake mix without pudding in the mix
3 eggs
1 cup low- fat buttermilk
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Β½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
ΒΌ teaspoon ground allspice
2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini (1 medium zuccini. unpeeled)
1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, well drained

For the Frosting:
4 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup sour cream (not non fat or fat-free)
ΒΌ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons grated orange peel


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 standard muffin pan cups with paper baking cups; coat paper cups with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Combine cake mix, eggs, buttermilk, oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice in large bowl; beat according to package directions. Fold in the zucchini and pineapple; mix well to distribute evenly. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups.

3. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pan on wire rack. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

4. Combine powdered sugar, sour cream, and butter in large bowl with electric mixer at low speed. Beat at medium speed until smooth. Stir in 2 teaspoons orange peel. Frost cooled cupcakes with an offset spatula. Garnish with additional orange peel, if desired. Serve at room temperature. Store leftover cupcakes in refrigerator.


50 Responses to “Zucchini-Pineapple Cupcakes with Orange Sour Cream Frosting”

  1. Katie on August 19, 2011 at 2:05 am

    Wow they look fabulous and so fresh and zingy.


  2. raquel @ Erecipe on August 19, 2011 at 2:44 am

    Oh I love the outside and inside of this cupcake lovely


  3. Sasha (The Procrastobaker) on August 19, 2011 at 6:28 am

    This looks like a fantastic recipe! I was wondering what would be the first sweet recipe i ever made using zucchini and i think ive found it πŸ™‚


  4. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance on August 19, 2011 at 6:42 am

    I would’ve NEVER guessed this.. haha


  5. Kerry on August 19, 2011 at 6:52 am

    So creative! I love cupcakes that are zesty – its such a nice contrast to the sugary cake!


  6. Penny Wolf on August 19, 2011 at 7:13 am

    They sound like a cupcake from Florida! My own guesses have me thinking about
    new ways to use zucchini. Whoopie pies and then a cheesecake…hum….
    That was fun Michelle!


  7. Heather (Heather's Dish) on August 19, 2011 at 8:06 am

    these look like heaven!


  8. christyd on August 19, 2011 at 8:28 am

    This sounds amazing!! Thanks for sharing; will definitely have to give this recipe a try!!


  9. Kerri on August 19, 2011 at 8:32 am

    I can’t wait to make these! Do you think to could follow the same recipe and make it into a cake in a 13×9 inch pan?


    • Michelle on August 19th, 2011 at 9:31 am

      Yes, absolutely!


  10. Happy When Not Hungry on August 19, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Would’ve never guessed this! They look fabulous πŸ™‚


  11. Erin on August 19, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Yummy! It’s great that all these flavors work well together, and love that it’s made easier with a boxed mix. I admit I too tend to stay away from them but I do have one weakness – boxed funfetti.


  12. Barbara | Creative Culinary on August 19, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I used boxed cake mixes for many years…thinking it’s a lot more trouble to bake from scratch. It might be but it’s pretty much how I bake today. However…I have a recipe I make for Christmas that is a boxed cake with a rum/butter glaze that is SO good that I’ve just never thought to mess with success, so to decry them completely is wrong too. I just love the sound of this combination of flavors; we’re always ready for something new with zucchini!


  13. CouponClippingCook on August 19, 2011 at 11:00 am

    These look delicious. The combination of flavors sounds so good together.


  14. Fran @ www.fransfavs.com on August 19, 2011 at 11:46 am

    The cupcakes sound yummy AND it sounds like Bobbie and Lissa need to start their own blogs! πŸ™‚


  15. Curt on August 19, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Wow. That’s about all I can say. I love zucchini bread. I’ll bet it’s great with pineapple. And then orange cream cheese. Mmmmmm!


  16. Sandi on August 19, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Anything w/pineapple is wonderful & that includes your recipe!

    First time here,your site is very crisp & clean. Love your blog title-wish I’d thought of that, I’m one too πŸ™‚


  17. Viviane Bauquet Farre on August 19, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    I quite like the diverse seasonings in these cakes (allspice – how clever!). They look delicious in your photography and I can almost smell them through my computer screen. Wonderful recipe!


  18. Notyet100 on August 19, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Ummm looks so flavorful πŸ™‚


  19. Meaghan on August 19, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Just made them with my son and WOW!!! You are right they are sublime πŸ™‚ I’m not a great baker, but I’ve been following your blog and you sure do inspire me. I am glad I tried this one right away!! Thanks for the great recipe πŸ™‚


  20. Ashley with Dress My Cupcake on August 19, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    These cupcakes look DELICIOUS! Zucchini bread is amazing, and creating it into a cupcake paired with those flavors is genius! Thanks for sharing this! As a baking and pastry student, I am inspired.
    Manager, Dress My Cupcake


  21. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. on August 19, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I LOVE these! What a great combo with the zucchini and orange frosting! Btw, I’ve just been looking through your other cupcake recipes and they all look so pretty! Love the way you pipe your frosting!


  22. Stuart Rubenstein on August 19, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    these cup cakes look so good!!! Can’t wait to try this recipe.



  23. These look fantastic! I hope it’s alright that I just shared the link to these on my blog. We have a ton of zucchini right now so I’m always looking for something else to do with it. I plan on trying these for sure! Thanks!


  24. marisonyi on August 19, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    You lost me at hello… nice idea..


  25. Karen Thompson on August 19, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    These sound wonderful! There is a major shortage of zuchini here in Central Virginia…seems that stink bugs love the “squash family”! Maybe there will be some fall gardens coming in soon with some to share.


  26. Ally on August 19, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Such an unexpected pairing of flavors, but sounds deliciously delightful! x



  27. Amy @ Gastronome Tart on August 19, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    It truly is an unexpected pairing, but sounds amazing and looks fantastic!


  28. Paula @ Dishing the Divine on August 19, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Here I am with loads of zucchini and here you are with creative ways to use it. Hooray! πŸ™‚


  29. Curry and Comfort on August 19, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    I love this recipe! First because I love the flavors of pineapple in cake and I think zucchini is a great ingredient to make anything moist. Second, because you used a box cake mix and that’s the way I roll most of the time. : ) I am so trying this out. Thanks for sharing this recipe. : )


  30. evie on August 19, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Oh my!
    These look sooo good!

    The way you decorated the cupcakes and the pics—– gets me everytime!

    The pics on a blog really inspire me to cook what I see…
    and your blog has that!

    Thanks for the great pics and the awesome recipes!


  31. Ann on August 20, 2011 at 1:07 am

    Okay – I didn’t even try to guess what you were making. All I could think of was something weird like pizza. These FAR exceeded my expectations!


  32. Tres Delicious on August 20, 2011 at 8:45 am

    I bet the soft and outside crust are softy and I love the frostings here.


  33. Jennifer @ eatyourvegetable on August 20, 2011 at 9:21 am

    sounds unusual…and delicious. i agree cake mixes are ok as long as you throw something cool in there…zucchini and pineapple definitely fit the bill πŸ™‚


  34. Bev Weidner on August 20, 2011 at 9:41 am

    So close! These look so good I might need to sit down.


  35. Tiffany on August 20, 2011 at 9:45 am

    So creative! And what bright flavors!


  36. Paula on August 21, 2011 at 1:05 am

    Every once in awhile, baking from a box ROCKS! This is obviously one of those times πŸ™‚


  37. Katrina on August 21, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    These look fabulous!


  38. Stephen @ Sweet Robichaux on August 22, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    These look so unique….intresting….and yummy. Completely different and just up my alley.

    I bet that is a great feeling to have readers sending you a piece of their kitchen. In part, a piece of their lives and traditions. Makes you all warm inside. When I make this batch, I dedicate it to Bobbie. I don’t need to know a person to appreciate them. πŸ˜‰



  39. Megan on August 23, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    I just finished making my first batch and they are delicious! Light, flavorful and an excellent alternative to zucchini bread when you’ve got too much of the veg. My skeptical Better Half, who hates baked goods involving zucchini, gave them the thumbs up.


  40. Aries on August 24, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    How do I substitute to make it gluten-free? Thanks.


    • Michelle on August 25th, 2011 at 11:36 am

      Hi Aries, I honestly know close to nothing about gluten-free baking. I would recommend doing some reading on substitutes. I’m sorry I couldn’t be more help!


  41. Aries on August 25, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    That’s ok, thanks. It might take some experimenting with brown rice flour, white rice flour, almond floor, etc.


  42. Becki's Whole Life on August 25, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    I love the combo of zucchini cake/bread with a citrus frosting or glaze. These look delicious! I agree, you need a few quick recipes in your aresenal that use a mix….when you add a bunch of other ingredients to it, most people would never know it’s a mix. My favorite bundt cake is the rum cake that uses the yellow cake mix…


  43. Doll Wood on September 9, 2011 at 6:39 am

    Great recipe! Can’t wait to bake healthy veggie cupcakes!


  44. Allyssa on November 11, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Hey there.. I saw this recipe an have to make it! Sounds delish! I am wondering what will happen If you use the yellow cake mix w/ pudding? Can’t wait to make this!


    • Michelle on November 12th, 2011 at 10:54 pm

      Hi Allyssa, I’m not sure actually! That’s how the recipe was given to me so that’s how I passed it along. I imagine it has to do with all of the additional add-ins that are used, and might affect the moistness of the cupcakes.


  45. Carrie of Bella Cupcake Couture on June 6, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Oh my these look delicious! I LOVE zuchini. We love following all your ideas. We hope you can participate in our cupcake couture blog party soon so we can provide you cupcake wrappers to dress up your tasty treats. Cheers!
    Carrie, http://www.bellacupcakecouture.com/category_1/Cupcake-Wrappers.htm


  46. Lynne on August 26, 2013 at 11:34 am

    These looked so good, but turned out so BAD! My 7 year old took one bite and wouldn’t finish it! I followed directions exactly, but my cupcakes all fell in, so tops were concave. I found the cupcake so moist that it felt uncooked in the mouth. The flavors were ok, but not great. I was bringing them to a party, and part of me felt like I should make a batch of different ones, and the other part of me was happy that I was off loading them to another household πŸ™‚ Not one person tried them at the party! Epic fail. Needless to say, I won’t be making them again. The silver lining is that I used the left over buttermilk for making “the best buttermilk pancakes”.


  47. Hazel on December 6, 2013 at 3:45 am

    I made these yesterday, and boy were they amazing! I used the homemade yellow cake mix recipe that you posted elsewhere, and it worked a treat!
    They were super moist (a nice change from the overly dry cupcakes one sometimes buys), and the pockets of pineapple worked so well. Definitely a recipe to repeat!


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