Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes

Hey Guys!

Thanksgiving

It is the week before Thanksgiving and we are all getting ready for our family and friends and good eating. Besides all the pumpkin we’ve been making with Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pecan Praline and Pumpkin Pie Inside Snickerdoodle Cupcakes, the next family favorite is always the Sweet Potato Casserole. Who doesn’t love the sweet crunchy goodness of brown sugar and nuts over sweet potatoes and my personal favorite the gooey toasted marshmallows? Yum!

Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes

 

Well, I say family. Little Cupcakeasaurus Rex swears up and down that he hates sweet potatoes. After these cupcakes, he is going to have a hard time getting away with that again. He ate it so fast he barely chewed and then wanted to argue with me when I told him the ingredients. Little Stinker! Suffice it to say, I think the boy likes sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato or Pumpkin?

In many ways I treat sweet potatoes like pumpkin. I mean think about it, they are similar in color and once cooked pretty similar in texture. Their flavors are similar in many ways especially when you spice them up with things like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves,  and allspice. In fact, unless they are side by side, bite for bite, I think sweet potato pie can easily pass as pumpkin pie.

Sweet_Potato_Casserole_CupcakesI like to do this recipe in one consecutive baking session. Sometimes I will bake the cakes, then do a topping and then come back to frost them. This recipe is just much easier all at once.  First preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Even though they won’t be needed until later, I went ahead and placed my pecans on a little baking sheet to toast.

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While those are becoming nice and toasty, I then start on the sweet potato purée.  Cut the sweet potatoes into about one inch cubes. I think the smaller pieces make them easier to mash but don’t stress on exactness here. Then just barely cover the potatoes in cold water and place on high heat. Similar to making regular mashed potatoes, just let them boil and get real tender. I used my wooden spoon to mash them into a purée but a fork or potato masher would work fine too. I felt like I was making homemade baby food or something while mashing these sweet potatoes.

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The next step is to mix up the Pecan Topping. Mmmmm. There is quite the debate on whether this is the best part or the marshmallow is the best. I’ll let you decide. Mix together the Pecan Topping ingredients and just set to the side. It will be crumbly but that is the way we want it.

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All In the Mix

Like many of my recipes, I whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl which is later added to the wet ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, the sugar, butter and lemon zest will be creamed together. Add in the applesauce a little at a time. For conversion sake, if you are planning on making a cake and want to take the eggs out of it (or you ran out of eggs like a silly baking goose), then 1/4 cup applesauce is equal to one egg. However, you’ll want to add a bit more baking powder to balance it out. I would estimate about an 1/8 of a teaspoon of baking powder per egg being replaced. It is a fairly handy trick when you don’t have eggs or have a vegan in the house.

Add in the sweet potato purée and mix well. It is almost time for those dry ingredients to start making this batter look more like batter and less like sweet potato pudding.

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Alternate adding the dry ingredients in with adding in the milk. I usually add in a third of the flour mixture and then half of the milk. Then, I will repeat that cycle by adding in another third of the flour mixture and the rest of the milk. The last third of the flour mixture you will want to fold in manually with a rubber spatula so as not to over mix the batter.

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Fill the liners 3/4 of the way full of batter and then spoon the Pecan topping on top. Do not worry if the topping domes over the top of the cupcakes, just lightly press it down so that it really seeps in to the cupcake. Bake those for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean with just a few clinging crumbs.

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Now, the original idea behind these cupcakes was to take the traditional Sweet Potato Casserole and turn it into an easy to eat delectable treat. However, at some point during the planning process, I overlooked the fact I was missing a baking essential! I didn’t have eggs! This did not pose a problem for the Sweet Potato Casserole cupcakes. In fact, by using applesauce instead of eggs, I feel like it really enhanced the flavor of the spices in the cake.

Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes

The problem really arose when I went to make the Whipped Marshmallow Frosting. Here is my disclaimer: The toasted marshmallow fluff in the picture is not the recipe posted below. Why? Well, here comes the embarrassing part. So, I get the bright idea to make Whipped Marshmallow Frosting. I have never made it before. Without reading a recipe (NOTE TO SELF: READ THE RECIPE), I began whipping up what I believed to be marshmallow fluff.  Did I start with sugar or gelatin or marshmallow spread? Of course not. I started with a bag full of marshmallows. I have my off days guys. I’m allowed. 🙂

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Anyway, as I’m mixing away at my bag of marshmallows, I finally decide to pull up a few recipes on how to make Marshmallow Frosting. Low and behold, that is when I see that I may need eggs for this project and now what is a girl to do? As a baker, I have powdered meringue on hand for just such occasions when I need egg whites and I don’t have them. So then I kind of try to follow the recipe but still including my original bag of marshmallows.  None of it was really working. So I decided to save you the trouble of making my mistake so you can have beautiful tasty cupcakes instead of the mess I created.

Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes

Oh, you think that doesn’t sound all that bad? You haven’t heard the half of it. Since I did not follow directions, or started following them too late, or whatever, my marshmallow fluff was way wetter than it should’ve been. Even though I piped it onto the tops of the cupcakes, they quickly dispersed and spread across the tops of the cakes and down the sides of my tins.

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I also learned a handy lesson about broiling during this endeavor. Marshmallows only take a few seconds to toast. If you walk away for even just a minute, they could catch on fire like campfire marshmallows and you’ll have an oven full of fire and a smoke detector going off and trying to explain to your Fire Captain fiancé how you almost burnt the house down. That’s all speculation of course. But, please learn from my mistakes and lightly toast your marshmallows instead of torching them.

Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes

Thankfully, my friends are those funny people who like the more blackened pieces of the campfire marshmallows and they actually loved the taste of the Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes with the added charred marshmallow topping. But, if you’d rather not explain that your cupcakes are just charred and not chocolate, then I suggest a light toasting doing the trick.

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Maybe this year, instead of pulling out the casserole dish, pull out the cupcake tins instead and enjoy the traditional family favorite of Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes with all the sweet delicious flavor and the added benefit of easy individual servings.

Enjoy the time with your family folks. I know I will be. Make life taste sweeter by sharing this recipe with the ones you love.

Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Spiced Sweet Potato Cupcake with toasted pecan topping and whipped marshmallow frosting.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Spiced Sweet Potato Cupcake with toasted pecan topping and whipped marshmallow frosting.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes
Pecan Topping
Whipped Marshmallow Frosting
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pecans on cookie sheet and put in oven to toast while preparing batter.
  2. Peel and cut sweet potatoes into one inch cubes. Cover in pot with cold water, just enough to top sweet potatoes, and boil on high until sweet potatoes are soft. You can blend them or mash them with a fork once tender. They are so soft it really doesn't take much to mash into a puree.
  3. If pecans are toasted, pull out of oven. Leave at 350 degrees. Line cupcake tin with 24 liners. Mix Pecan Topping ingredients in a medium bowl. They will be crumbly. Set to the side.
  4. In a separate medium mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients of flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and the rest of the spices. Whisk together and set aside.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, beat light brown sugar and granulated sugar with the melted butter and lemon zest. Mix well. The mixture will become thick after 3-4 minutes. Add in a applesauce a 1/4 at a time. Mixing well between each addition.
  6. Add in sweet potato puree and vanilla extract until batter is creamy.
  7. Take dry ingredients and alternately add them to the mixing bowl with the milk. Add a third of the flour mix, then 1/2 of the milk, etc. The last 1/3 of the flour mix you'll want to hand fold in with a spatula so as not to over mix the batter.
  8. Fill liners 3/4 full with batter. Spoon Pecan topping on top of each cupcake and press down slightly to really get the topping down into the cupcake. Bake 15-20 at 350 degrees. A toothpick should come out clean with maybe just a few crumbs.
Whipped Marshmallow Frosting
  1. Place egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a heatproof mixing bowl. Set over a saucepan with boiling water and whisk ingredients until sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Move mixing bowl to electric mixer. Add in vanilla extract and cinnamon. Mix starting at low and gradually moving to high speed until stiff peaks form.
  3. The frosting is very sticky. Using a piping bag, pipe a dollop of Whipped Marshmallow Frosting on the top of each cupcake. Put in oven on high broiler for just a few seconds to toast marshmallow. You can also do this manually with a kitchen torch if one is available.
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Pumpkin, Praline and Palm Trees

Will someone please phone Florida Weather Control and let them know that it is Autumn? That means temperatures should not be above 75 degrees and even that is high. How the heck am I supposed to get into the holiday spirit when I’m roasting in 90 degree temperatures? At least I have my pumpkin to help me feel better.

Little Cupcakeasaurus Rex carved his up and we got to watch it whither and melt over Halloween. I decided not to carve mine. So he’s just been chilling out in a corner of my kitchen. This pumpkin does not look like a carving pumpkin anyway. He is large and really really lumpy all over. He is my Lumpy Pumpky!

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It’s Friday y’all and as always I’m baking some tasty treats to share. In true Fall fashion, we are baking up some pumpkin favorites that can be a great addition to your Thanksgiving tables. Next week, I’ll be attending a turkey shoot and these treats can be appreciated there as well.

I started with the praline. This is so super easy it isn’t even funny. This recipe is more than enough to top your cupcakes so feel free to snack on a little too. I did!

Go ahead and lay out a cookie sheet and cover in parchment paper. Wax paper could work but parchment is so much more baking friendly. It makes the praline super easy to remove.

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You’ll put two cups of granulated sugar in a saucepan on medium high heat and let it melt. I used my metal spoon to stir it up as it was heating and it was neat watching it turn from the white granules to the amber syrup. Then just add in two cups of whole pecans. I didn’t have to stir them in long, just a quick few flips with the spoon to make sure they were covered.

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Spoon out the amber sugar syrup and pecans on to the parchment paper. The nuts will want to stick together and may make this a little difficult. Just smooth it out and try to get just one single layer of nuts on the cookie sheet. Then just set that to the side to cool. It actually doesn’t take too long at all. I sat it to the side while whipping up the batter and by the time I put the cupcakes in the oven the Pecan Praline was ready.

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Making the praline brings back memories of baking and candy making with my stepmother years and years ago. During the holidays she would make a peanut brittle and a holiday peppermint bark. Maybe I can get into the holiday spirit after all.

Now for our delicious pumpkiny batter, we’ll start by sifting together our dry ingredients and then the wet ones. In a medium bowl, add in your flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. Wait, do those last ingredients sound familiar? They should. That’s your Pumpkin spice flavoring. Almost the exact same ingredients are used for Apple Pie spice. I like to pretend I’m funny and make a joke about the difference between Apple Pie spice and Pumpkin spice. The ginger makes all the difference. Okay, so maybe that goes over better with my redheaded pals.

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In your mixing bowl cream the butter, one cup of granulated sugar and half a cup of brown sugar. Similar to our butter cream in Caramel Cinnamon Apple Pie Cupcakes, it will become light and fluffy looking. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing between them. Then you will mix in your dry ingredients in three parts alternating with the milk and lemon zest. This you’ll want to do on low speed because we don’t want flour flying everywhere. Last, add in the pumpkin puree and mix until well blended.

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Fill the liners 3/4 full and then pop them in the oven for 15-20 minutes. A toothpick will come out clean when they are done. They look like little pumpkin bread muffins and the whole house will smell heavenly.

I’ll be honest this icing is not what I expected it to be. At first it was supposed to be a light whipped cream type topping but my whipping cream was not cooperating. I will blame that on the 90 degree November I’ve got going on here. So a few additions turned this into a creamy, cheesy, brown sugary goodness.

I named it Pumpkin Brown Sugar frosting because I liked that the anagram would be PBS. I know that is silly but Whipped Cream Pumpkin Brown Sugar Cream Cheese frosting just seemed exorbitantly  lengthy.

Pumpkin_Cupcakes_with_Pumpkin_Brown_Sugar_Frosting_and_Pecan_Praline

 

Pour your whipping cream into your mixing bowl. Set your mixer to medium and basically just walk off for awhile. I’m serious, I got the mail, had some lunch, watched some Arrow on Netflix and then came back to my cream. Then you will add in the brown sugar, cream cheese, vanilla extract and Pumpkin spice. Again you can pretty much walk away while it beats itself to death. You’ll want to beat it until it is smooth, no lumps. Don’t be Lumpy Pumpky!

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If the frosting is a bit wet, like mine was, just add in the powdered sugar. It thickens it right up and makes it much more manageable for piping.

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Using Wilton’s 2A decorating tip, I piped the frosting on top. Then, it was time to add the crunch. Break off a few pieces of the Pecan Praline, try a bite, and then put the rest in a Ziploc bag. Since the praline tends to be glass sharp, I also laid out a kitchen towel and sandwiched the baggy between it. Then, SMASH IT WITH A HAMMER! I’m kidding. You don’t really need a hammer. I just used my body weight to crush the praline into little crumbly bits. Sprinkle as little or as much as you’d like on top of your beautiful cupcakes.

 

I also experimented at adding the Pecan Praline in a different way. I broke off a few larger pieces and stuck them up like Frozen’s ice walls. It looked okay, but it requires their removal before eating the cupcake. To get the full on flavor and texture effect, I find it best to crumble the Pecan Praline over the top, heavily.

Hopefully, you are able to enjoy these treats with a nice chill in the air overlooking beautiful Fall foliage. If not, you can still enjoy them almost as much with a nice AC breeze in the air overlooking palm trees. Either way,  they are a pretty sweet way to make life taste sweeter.

Pumpkin cupcakes with Pumpkin Brown Sugar Frosting and Pecan Praline
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 1 hour
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 1 hour
Cook Time
30 minutes
Pumpkin cupcakes with Pumpkin Brown Sugar Frosting and Pecan Praline
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 1 hour
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 1 hour
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Pumpkin Cupcakes
Pumpkin Spice
Pecan Praline
Pumpkin Brown Sugar Frosting
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Pumpkin cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line 24 cupcakes with cute liners of your choice. Spray with cooking spray for easy removal.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients of Flour, baking powder, baking soda and Pumpkin spice.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Add in four eggs one at a time mixing between them.
  6. Add flour mixture into mixing bowl into three parts. Alternate adding the milk and lemon zest. Mix until well blended.
  7. Add in pumpkin puree and blend completely.
  8. Fill 3/4 in cupcake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Toothpick should come out clean.
Pecan Praline
  1. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Pour sugar into saucepan and melt on medium high heat.
  3. When sugar is amber colored and smooth, add in pecans.
  4. Stir pecans until completely coated. Pour sugar and pecan mixture onto parchment paper.
  5. Once cool, remove praline from parchment and break into sizable pieces.
Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Whip whipping cream on medium high until the cream stiffens.
  2. Add in brown sugar, cream cheese, vanilla extract and Pumpkin spice. Beat on medium until smooth.
  3. If frosting appears wet, add in powdered sugar to stiffen.
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