Jun 22, 2010

Self-Frosting Sweet Potato Cupcakes

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Continuing my spree of Happy Accident recipes, I bring you a cupcake that came out perfectly delicious but yet so unexpectedly bizarre that I hemmed and hawed about whether or not to even tell you about it. Like my habit of drinking wine while watching The Best Thing I Ever Ate episodes on Saturday nights, it was all just so Wild! And! Crazy! But in the end, because we’re friends and regardless of how wacky the whole thing seems, they’re really flippin’ good. And truly, I really can’t think of a more efficient cupcake making experience. I’m talking about a Self-Frosting Sweet Potato Cupcake, people. True story.


It all started out as an idea to riff on one of my favorite recipes, the Sweet Potato Pound Cake recipe from a darling cookbook that just feels like a big hug, Southern Cakes. Packed with earthy roasted sweet potato and gentle spice, it’s completely addictive.



I thought I’d mix it up a little and bake the batter into cupcakes, and then do it up black bottom cupcake-style with a toasted pecan and cream cheese filling. But instead of the filling sinking into the centers of the cupcakes as they rose and baked, it sort of just swirled about and settled on the surface, making for a sweet, tangy, almost cheesecake-like layer on top of the tender, moist, spicy cake. Not too many more crave-worthy combinations than that, now, hmmm?


The awesome flavor and texture match here is what makes these cupcakes so great that they overcame their crazy factor. I should know, I mowed about half a dozen trying to decide. And miraculously, they’re not bad to look at, either, with their pretty, swirly patterns. Self-frosting, self-decorating, basically automatic cupcakes. It’s like the internet meeting baked goods or something. Or another metaphor that I’m just too crazed with vacation preparations to think of at the moment. But since I shared this magical cupcake recipe with you, can one of you invent a way to make laundry clean, fold and pack itself? Or at least figure out a way to beam us to the Midwest and avoid a 4 1/2 hour flight with a 22-month-old? Please and thank you.



Self-Frosting Sweet Potato Cupcakes
Cake recipe adapted from Nancie McDermott’s Southern Cakes

I like to roast the sweet potato for this recipe–you just can’t beat the flavor. Roast them in the skins at 350 for about an hour. During the last 10 minutes or so, throw in the pecans to toast them, then leave the oven on at 350 to bake the cupcakes, too.

Makes about 2 dozen

For the cakes:

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk (low-fat is fine)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup roasted, peeled and mashed sweet potato (about 1 large)

For the topping:

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans

Position a rack to the center of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the milk and vanilla.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and light brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the sweet potatoes, and mix until the batter is combined–it will look curdled and funky, but press on, it will smooth out when the other ingredients are added. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add half of the flour mixture, beating just to incorporate. Add half of the milk mixture, beat to blend. Add the remaining flour, followed by the remaining milk, and beat on low until the batter is smooth. Fill the cupcake liners equally with batter, no more than halfway full.

To make the topping, beat together the cream cheese, egg, sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth. Fold in the pecans. Dollop the topping equally among the cupcakes, a very generous tablespoon on each.

Bake one muffin tin at a time until a toothpick comes out mostly clean, with just a few moist crumbs here and there, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for a day, then refrigerate after that.

  • Oh. My. GAH! I am seriously kicking myself for not checking my Blogger feed before I went to the store. I'm out of sweet potatoes! And cream cheese!! This is wrong on so many levels, but tomorrow I will make it soooooo right with these cupcakes. Can't wait to see how my kitchen smells with these babies in the oven!

  • wow, I have never seen frosting kind of baked on like that & it looks YUMMY! I can't wait to try it.

  • I've been baking my way through Southern Cakes and have this recipe flagged to try. Thanks for sharing your happy accident – I wonder if trying the same topping on the traditional loaf cake would have the same effect. I guess I'll just have to try it to find out!

  • Oh my, yum. My mouth is watering!

  • If there was a magic trick for laundry I can guarantee you that I would know it and have it perfected!
    What a fun "mistake"!

  • this recipe looks AMAZING!!
    we just re=acquainted ourselves with sweet potatoes…& i cannot bake enough of them…thanks shauna!!

    btw: your blog is just great!!

  • So glad you made this "mistake"!! It looks absolutely scrumptious!! I've got to get that cookbook, too!

  • You know how much people would pay to be able to make cupcakes that frost themselves? You need to patent these babies!!

  • Did you know Nancie McDermott has a new book coming out this fall? It's called Southern Pies! Yummmm!!

  • Shauna, you are the sweetest and the best. Your "mistake" with Sweet Potato Pound Cake gone Cupcake is brilliant, and I can't wait to do it myself. I am thrilled and honored by your kind words for my beloved cookbook, Southern Cakes, and delighted I have found your luscious and delightful blog. Happy baking!

  • Yeah, I'm totally asking Jen to bake up a batch of these…

    They look scrum-diddly-umptious!

  • Wow!…have to go to supermarket and buy these ingredients to try some…can't wait to taste it!

  • wow, you should copyright this! but seriously it sounds awesome, the soft sweet potato with the slightly crispy cream cheese on top. ooh.

  • This is a culinary feat..a culinary spectacle, dare I say a culinary miracle! You should patent this baby. Yum!!!

  • I really love your posts. I think that you secretly read my mind b/c whenever I check a post it's related to something I've been wanting to eat or try!

    Thanks!

  • Only happy accidents in your kitchen! Planning to make and take these to a 4th of July BBQ! Perfect little treat to add to table. Thank you.

    Oh, and I'm taking your Aunt Phyllis's Buttery Pound Cake…we'll be having the BEST strawberry shortcake in town! :-)

  • I just discovered your blog and I love it.

    I am a teacher and I tell my kids that making mistakes is good because we learn from mistakes and that sometimes mistakes turn out to be better than what was planned.

    That is what you did. It is fantastic.

  • oooh wow sweet potato in a cake, this sounds different hehe, but i bet its delicious yum

  • I LOVE barbecued sweet potatoes. Putting them in a cupcake is genius!

  • […] Shauna Sever.Com […]

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