Making sweet cupcakes using a vegetable may sound strange, but the result is really a kindred spirit to carrot cake. The batter for these zucchini cupcakes is mixed by hand with cinnamon and nutmeg, and then grated zucchini is folded in; cake flour gives the cupcakes a light texture and fine crumb. The frosting is a riff on cream cheese frosting but uses a buttercream base with some yogurt mixed in for tang. And toasted pecans sprinkled on top offer crunch and unexpected flavor.
What to buy: For this recipe, use bleached cake flour such as Softasilk, for a tender cupcake that will rise high and evenly. Do not use unbleached cake flour, which yields denser results.
For the buttercream frosting and nut topping: