Spiced Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

October 22, 2010

Sadly, all the late heat and dry conditions we had this year left no winter squash to be found in our garden. While my dreams of homegrown pumpkins, butternut squash and spaghetti squash were left shattered, not all was lost in the area of orange autumn veggies.

When my parents came to visit to celebrate my birthday and attend the World Equestrian Games, they brought with them a huge bucket of sweet potatoes! My Dad’s green thumb prevailed despite the conditions and some beautiful taters resulted.

I’m noticing a lot of bloggers keeping with a theme this time of year – pumpkin, apples, acorn squash – so I thought I’d go a different route and create my own little ode to the sweet potato. My next few posts will highlight these root veggies with their versatile ability to be eaten savory or sweet.

First up, cupcakes!

I have a favorite banana cake recipe that I’ve tweaked throughout the years. It is quick, easy to substitute whole grain flours and minimally refined sugars, and has been a no-fail go-to when we need dessert or to use up bananas.

I decided to change the recipe even further this time by adding sweet potato, ground ginger and cinnamon. I was worried I might end up with more of a muffin than a cupcake, but these goodies are cake all the way.

They seemed to be calling for cream cheese frosting, so I answered with a nice dollop on top. I didn’t list the recipe for the frosting because it is nothing too extraordinary. I used my recipe from the Joy of Cooking, but any cream cheese frosting will do.

Spiced Sweet Potato Cupcakes

1 cup demerara sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup pureed sweet potato
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and prep a cupcake/muffin tin with 12 paper liners.

In a mixing bowl, using the paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar until mixed and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the sweet potato and continue to mix until combined. Add the eggs and the vanilla. Mix until all ingredients are combined.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl. Mix just until combined.

Divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until the cupcakes are browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake.

Remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on a cooling rack. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before topping with your favorite frosting.

P.S. Thanks so much for all the well wishes. I’m starting to feel much better. I was away for a training this week for work and came back craving time in my kitchen. Being ready to bake again is a sure sign that I’m on the road to recovery!

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  • Chow and Chatter October 22, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    oh love these cupcakes so sorry about your pumpkins

  • My McDonald Meal October 22, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Your pictures look great! I think I’ll be making these as gifts this year!

  • Sandra Sims October 22, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Nice. not too complicated a recipe. Is that freshly ground ginger? I’ve never used it before.

  • Lori October 22, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    Rebecca and Melissa – Thanks! It was a bit of an experiment, but ended up great! 🙂

    Sandra – Yeah, the original (have no idea where I got it several years ago) is super easy. Makes for a quick cake. No, this time around I just used dried/powdered ginger. It’s a bit of a barely-there flavor in these.

  • Joanne October 23, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Sweet potatoes definitely deserve their five minutes of fame and this is a glorious way to pay tribute to them! I’m so glad to hear you are feeling better chica!

  • lesley lifting life October 23, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    These cupcakes look amazing, Lori!!

  • Bakeolicious October 23, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    What gorgeous cupcakes.

    I’d love for you to submit one of your beautiful photos, and a link to your post, to my new food photo gallery showcasing beautiful baking.

  • Marianne (frenchfriestoflaxseeds) October 23, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    I like how you’ve used sweet potato instead of the pumpkin that’s been all over the food blogs lately. If only I had an excuse to make cupcakes now.

  • MelindaRD October 24, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Glad you are feeling better. Those cupcakes looks like the perfect thing for a fall treat.

  • Fresh Local and Best October 24, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    I’m glad to hear that you are feeling better. It’s so nice to receive home grown veggies as gifts! This looks like a wonderful delicious cupcake!

  • Elizabeth October 25, 2010 at 7:47 am

    I can’t wait to make these! I found you last year when I was looking for sweet potato recipes and came across your sweet potato muffins which everyone at work raved about. I’ve been following you ever since. Thanks!

  • Michelle @ Find Your Balance October 26, 2010 at 7:10 am

    Nice! I think sweet potatoes and squash are so awesome because you can do stuff like this and make sweets deliver a nutritional punch 🙂

  • Lori October 27, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Joanne – Yes, I think they are often in the shadow of the pumpking this time of year. 🙂

    Lesley – Thanks!

    Bakeolicious – Thanks for the tip!

    Marianne – No excuses need. They freeze well. 😉

    Melinda – Thanks!

    FLB – Thank you! I love veggie gifts! 🙂

    Elizabeth – It’s so nice of you to swing by and comment about that. I’m glad they were a success!

    Michelle – I know, it is amazing the good stuff you can make that is good for you too!

  • Faith October 28, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Your cupcakes look fantastic! I love how cute they look. Sorry about your pumpkins.

  • Eliana October 28, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Ah yes – thanks for giving sweet potato some much deserved love in the form of these cupcakes. They look super delish.

  • kat October 29, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    I love baking with sweet potatoes! & these cupcakes sound great

  • Tangled Noodle October 29, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    That is a total bummer about your winter squash yield, but personally, I’d take a bushel of sweet potatoes any day of the year! They are unbeatable in cupcake form, especially with that gorgeous dollop of frosting on top. Very happily, I can report that sweet potato is quite the common ingredient in the Philippines (known as kamote). My mom has apparently fallen to the cupcake craze – I’d bet anything that she would adore these! Sorry to hear that you were feeling less than optimal but happy that you’ve bounced back!

  • Vivienne November 14, 2010 at 4:07 am

    i adore sweet potatoes so its great to see them in cupcake form! 🙂

  • Sandra Sims November 17, 2010 at 11:27 am

    I made these with smart sugar (low calorie sugar) and prepackaged cream cheese frosting. They were delicious! I think I’ll bring these to family thanksgiving lunch. Thanks for the recipe!