Spinach Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting | Renee's Kitchen Adventures

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spinach Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting

Yes,  I'm a day late.  I really wanted to get this post up yesterday, in honor of St. Patrick's Day and healthy green food to celebrate, but well...life happened.  What can you do?  But...this Spinach Cupcake recipe is just TOO GOOD NOT TO SHARE. Only three ingredients too! So here it is!

Spinach Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting.

Seriously, who knew adding spinach and  unsweetened applesauce to a boxed cake mix could result in such deliciousness?

Spinach Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting on plate

Question...can you taste the spinach?

Absolutely not.

The only flavor that comes through is that of the cake mix.  I used a vanilla flavored cake mix, so these cupcakes are vanilla flavored. These cupcakes turn out very moist (despite the fact that there is no added oil or butter) and just slightly more dense than your usual cupcake (but not as dense as when you add pumpkin puree to boxed cake mix.)  In honor of St. Pat's Day yesterday, I cancelled out the extra punch of nutrition from the applesauce and spinach with some Irish Cream Frosting, but you could top these however you like or even leave them plain.

Spinach Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting with bite

I've seen adaptations of this recipe all over the blog-sphere over the past few years.  Some use boxed cake mixes others use cake ingredients from scratch.  They all have overwhelmingly positive reviews.

The spinach really does give the cake a lovely vibrant green color without the use of food dyes.  I used my magic bullet to process the baby spinach with the applesauce...but next time I would probably go with a food processor instead because 3 cups of baby spinach is a lot of spinach for the magic bullet cup.  I added the spinach a little at a time and processed it very well with the applesauce after each addition until I got a nice smooth puree.

Spinach Cupcakes green batter

After mixing the puree with the cake mix, I portioned it out into paper lined muffin tins.

Spinach Cupcakes in pan baking

As you can see, the green doesn't fade during the baking process. The end result is a moist, non-spinach tasting cake with a rich green color.

Spinach Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting

Renee's Kitchen Adventures
Published 03/18/2014
Spinach Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting


  • 1-15.25oz. boxed vanilla or white cake mix
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 cups organic baby spinach
  • For Frosting (not included in nutritional info):
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (or more as needed) powdered sugar
  • enough Irish Cream liquor to make the frosting spreadable


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a regular sized muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In food processor (recommended) or blender, process the spinach and the applesauce into a smooth puree.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the dry cake mix with the applesauce/spinach puree with an electric mixer until combined and then mix on med for about 2 minutes.
  4. Portion out the batter into the prepared muffin tin. (I got 13 cupcakes and used a scoop to fill the wells)
  5. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  6. To make frosting: In large bowl, beat with an electric mixer the butter, cream cheese and salt until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract. Slowly add the powdered sugar can beat with electric mixer until combined. Add enough Irish cream to make the frosting spreadable. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
Yield: approx. 12 cupcakes
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 10 mins.
Cook time: 00 hrs. 20 mins.
Total time: 30 mins.
Tags: spinach, cupcakes, holidays, easy

Adapted from Itzy's Kitchen and A Little Nosh

Servings - approx. 12 cupcakes  Serving size - 1 cupcake NO FROSTING   PP per serving - 5P+
Cupcakes ONLY:  Calories - 171,  Total Fat - 1.5g,   Carb.- 37.7g,   Protein - 2.3g,   Fiber - 0.5g

Printable Recipe

I have to tell you all, the time change is STILL kicking my butt.  I don't know where the hours go during the day!   Still no sign of any real spring here yet. Cold temps in the forecast, again, for next week...20's.  Really Mother Nature?  

Today is my husband's birthday and he's requested chicken soup, which means a trip to the store for me...and I'd better get going before the day slips away!  :)

Pin Spinach Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting to your holiday treats board! 

Spinach Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting on plate in long pin format

More St. Patrick's Day "Healthy" Green Food you may like:

Greek Style Zucchini Ribbon Salad in bowl
Greek Style Zucchini Ribbon Salad

Tropical Green Smoothie in glass
Tropical Green Smoothie


  1. I was SHOCKED how well these came out! I see you used the three cups vs. four cups of spinach as well- I think this was the perfect amount of green IMO! I bet the icing really kicked these up a notch! Happy birthday to the man

    1. Me too. I used the 3 cups in them after I read your post. Yours looked pretty perfect and tbh, I don't think I could have shoved another cut of spinach into the bullet cup! haha

  2. GENIUS Renee!!! Love it! Happy Belated Birthday to your husband!!!!

    1. ah thanks Roz. I can't take credit for the idea, but it really works!

  3. I would so make these! Love the simplicity! Thanks...

    1. Super easy! Just be sure to process the spinach and applesauce really well!

  4. OMG #Healthful #Spinach #Cupcakes. Whatever will we think of next! <3 the idea!

  5. OMG these look divine! I wish I had seen them the other day!!! Wow so healthy and yummy looking!!!

  6. G'day and wow! never had spinach cupcakes before, but they look great Renee!
    Cheers! Joanne

  7. This is great! I tried a spinach cupcake a while back and it didn't turn out...but using a cake mix is great. I'm definitely saving this to make one day when I can convince my kids the green is 'festive' and not a veggie :-)

  8. Guess I'll have to make these again the right way (according to the directions) and not think I'm smarter than the recipe and use like 5 billion times more spinach than it calls for, and not top it with marshmallow cream b/c that stuff does not stay put - it oozes everywhere and makes for a really ugly cupcake! Yours are LOVELY.

  9. These tasted delicious but unfortunately were way too soft. I really struggled to get them out of the muffin cups without them falling apart. I followed the recipe exactly.

    1. Sorry to hear they didn't work out for you. I've never run into them being too soft. It sounds like maybe your spinach might have had more moisture than mine has had. Try reducing the applesauce a bit next time you make them and see if that helps.

  10. If you use sweetened apple sauce will it work the same?

    1. Hello! It should work but will be sweeter. Hope this helps!


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