Sunday, November 25, 2012

Festive Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Cupcakes

For Thanksgiving, I decided instead of the traditional pumpkin pie cupcakes, which I've made many times before, I'd try something a little different.  Someone at work brought in sweet potato pie and it reminded me I've been meaning to try this sweet potato cupcake recipe.  So, I used this Cupcake Wars recipe.  However, I prepared the pecans differently using a much easier and quicker method.  See below for the full recipe.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes

Yields: 24 cupcakes
Preheat oven to: 350F

Cake Ingredients
  • Dry Ingredients
    • 2 c. flour
    • 1 c. sugar
    • 1 c. packed light brown sugar
    • 2 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. ginger
    • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
    • 1 tsp. baking soda 
      • *Only have baking powder? See Baking Tip #1 below for substitution directions*
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. salt
  • Wet Ingredients
    • One 16 oz. can sweet potatoes
      • *Or see Baking Tip #2 below for baking instructions with fresh sweet potatoes*
    • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temp.
    • 4 large eggs
In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (except sugars). Set the bowl aside. In a large bowl, whisk the butter until smooth.  Then whisk in sugars and add eggs one at a time until well blended.  To the butter mixture, alternately add the dry ingredients and sweet potato puree until all combined.  Fill 24 cupcake liners 3/4 full of batter.

Bake for 18-22 minutes. 

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • One 8 oz pkg. cream cheese, room temp.
  • 1 c. unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temp.
  • 1/2 c. light brown sugar
  • 6 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
In a large bowl, whip the cream cheese and butter until soft and pliable.  Add brown sugar.  Then add powdered sugar and vanilla extract.  *See Baking Tip #3 below for details regarding storage of cream cheese frosting*

Candied Pecans

  • 1 c. crushed pecans
    • *See Baking Tip #4 below for the best way to crush whole pecans*
  • 1 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
In a large bowl, toss pecans with melted better until coated.  In a small bowl, mix the remainder of ingredients.  Toss dry ingredients with pecans and butter until pecans are evenly coated.  Line a baking sheet with Parchment Paper or foil and spread pecans in an even layer.  Bake for 6-8 min. at 350F.  Let cool completely.

To assemble, pipe cream cheese frosting on cupcakes and top with candied pecans.  

Baking Tips

  1. Baking powder vs. baking soda-Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate while baking powder is made up of sodium bicarb (baking soda), cream of tartar, and starch.  
    • If you're out of baking soda, you can sub baking powder at a 2:1 ratio (use 2 tsp. powder if recipe calls for 1 tsp. soda) and cut the salt in half.  
    • If you're out of baking powder, you can make your own by mixing 2 parts cream of tartar to 1 part baking soda.  Use the amount the recipe specifies.
  2. I used fresh sweet potatoes for this recipe.  I cooked 2 large potatoes in the microwave for 10 minutes then pureed them in my Pampered Chef Manual Food Processor before adding them.  A KitchenAid 5-Speed Immersion Blender would work well too.  I found that 2 potatoes only yielded 12 oz. though so I would recommend using 3 potatoes to be safe.
  3. Cream cheese frosting storage-Many buttercream frostings can be left out at room temp. for up to 5-7 days since the high sugar content acts as a preservative.  However, since cream cheese frosting contains cream cheese it cannot be stored at room temp. for much more than 3 hours without becoming unsafe.  Therefore store your cupcakes in the refrigerator.  Or better yet try to frost your cupcakes as close to serving time as possible keeping the frosting refrigerated and the cupcakes at room temp. (refrigeration tends to dry them out).
  4. I love using my Pampered Chef Mix 'N Chop to crush nuts and other toppings.  Just put your nuts (or other topping) in a plastic bag, place on a cutting board (to protect your surface) and pound until crushed to your liking (That's what she said!).  Another good option would be this meat tenderizer:

As usual, feel free to ask me any questions you might have or offer any feedback you have on the recipe or how to improve it.  Thanks and enjoy!

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