When Stacy was growing up, her grandmother used to be famed for her zucchini spice cake. Apparently, this was the moistest densest most delicious cake anyone has ever conceived of and everyone raved about it. Her Grandmother would always bake multiple loafs for guests who visited, encouraging them to “just freeze it” if they refused. For years I’ve tried to recreate it, only for Stacy to inform me that it just wasn’t quite right. We even published a version of the spice cake in Eat Like a Dinosaur.
Eventually, I just decided to cheat. This recipe is about taking a shortcut when you can and customizing it to be homemade to your preference. Kind of like the Cake Doctor would do. We suggest using a Krusteaz Gluten-free Cinnamon Crumb Cake mix and added all of Nona’s signature flavors to it. While the gluten-free mix on it’s own is quite sweet, by adding different fruits and vegetables to the batter, we feel good about the additional nutrients with our treats.
The Secret Ingredient
Stacy says this is the closest we’ve gotten to her grandma’s muffins. The trick is: crushed pineapple! The pineapple adds sweetness, tartness, and moisture, but blends into the other flavors without overwhelming them. It’s amazing and truly perfects this recipe. We tried using fresh and crushing it ourselves, and it was too moist and caused the muffins to cave. If you do that, let it sit for a while and drain the fluids, like you can with canned. Frozen is also a great option to do that with, since fruits are picked at their peak for freezing!
- Follow needed ingredients in your muffin mix (we recommend Krusteaz Cinnamon Swirl, we get subscribe & save delivery but have also found it at Kroger, Publix, and Wegman's)
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 C grated carrots
- 1/2 C grated zucchini (let sir over a mesh strainer and let liquid drain for 20-30 min)
- 1/2 C crushed canned pineapple or thawed from frozen (drained)
- 1 C chopped walnuts, 1/2 C added to mix and the other added to crumb topping
- 1/2 C butter, ghee, or palm shortening (softened to room temperature)
- 1 C blanched almond flour
- 1 C sliced almonds
- 1/2 C palm, date, maple or other unrefined granulated sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Prepare as instructed, adding spices and veggies to the dough mixture before pouring into lines muffin tin. It's important to NOT overfill the muffins. Because of the heaviness in this mixture, it will fall over unless you limit to filling the liner 2/3 of the way full.
- If not using the suggested mix, make a crumble toping by making your own, we have one in this recipe
- Do not layer in the mixture, reserve about 1 T crumb topping for each muffin top.
- Bake as instructed (you may need a few more minutes depending on moisture in veggies, use a clean knife for a crumb test)
If you don't want to use the mix, that's fine! You can add these additions to any muffin mixture, we also love King Arthur GF Muffin Mix and all the Simple Mills mixes - this would be incredible with their Pumpkin! You'll just need to add more cinnamon since that's already in our base.
So grab yourself some extra veggies in this tasty treat and you won’t be sorry!
photos by the amazing Trisha Hughes
Want more info on our Real Life? Healthy recipes, parenting tips, and general lifestyle stuff goes out in our Real Everything newsletter, join here.
Never want to miss a post, sale, or deal? Join my Healthy Inside & Out e-mail list for more info on non-toxic living and safer skincare!