Everyday Eats & Sweets / Recipes

Sweet Summer Squash Cupcakes

Sweet summer squash cupcake with cream cheese frosting

I have a confession. I eat cupcakes for breakfast.

But not just any cupcake. A rich, moist, sweet summer squash cupcake with cream cheese frosting on top. I eat the whole thing (okay, maybe two) till the very end when I’m licking crumbs off the liner and frosting off my fingers. Somehow, I convince myself that it’s all good, since I’m getting my daily intake of veggies. Does the frosting cancel out any “goodness” in the squash?

While summer squash is very subtle in flavor, it adds incredible moisture to the batter. Zucchini is also a type of summer squash, so you can use them interchangeably in this recipe. There’s enough sweetness that you can even omit the frosting for a “healthier” treat.

Technically these are muffins, which qualify them as a breakfast pastry in my world, but the frosting adds a decadent cupcakey twist. So enjoy them, guilt-free!

This recipe makes great use of those overgrown summer squashes the size of your arm (or in my case, head). You do not need to peel the skin before grating; simply cut the squash into manageable hand-held chunks, and grate with a medium or coarse grater.

You might have to bake a few batches to properly use up all that squash. Your neighbors will love you.

Sweet Summer Squash Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes


Dry Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Wet Ingredients
2 eggs
1/3 cup olive oil
1 3/4 cups grated summer squash

For the Frosting
4 tablespoons butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and set aside.

Combine all the dry ingredients

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and olive oil together. Add the grated summer squash and mix well.

Whisk eggs and olive oil together

Mix in grated summer squash

Add the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until the batter is evenly mixed.

Add dry ingredients to batter and mix well

Using a spoon, divide the batter evenly among a lined muffin pan. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Divide batter evenly among a lined muffin pan

Meanwhile, make the cream cheese frosting. In a small bowl, combine the butter and cream cheese using a pastry blender, electric mixer, or good ol’ fashioned fork.

Combine softened butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar

Add the powdered sugar and mix it all together until the consistency is smooth and even.

Mix well until the frosting is smooth and even

Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool slightly. Take the cupcakes out of the pan and arrange on a wire rack to let them cool down.

Remove pan from oven and let the muffins cool

Spread the frosting over the cooled cupcakes using a small spatula.

Spread cream cheese frosting on muffins

I’ll admit that I did not let the cupcakes cool completely, because I love to smear frosting over them when they’re still warm to get that gooey, messy, melt-in-your-mouth flavor (emphasis on gooey and messy — have lots of napkins handy).

These cupcakes are best eaten by the next day… if they end up lasting that long in your kitchen!

Sweet summer squash cupcake with cream cheese frosting

About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring—all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »


  • Dcsweettreats
    November 9, 2011 at 4:28 am

    these look delicious!!!  and i want to stick my finger in that cream cheese icing! 

  • Adrienneaudrey
    September 17, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    mmm…these look good!

    • Linda Ly
      September 22, 2011 at 6:57 pm

      SUPER good… I ate almost the whole batch myself!


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