Candied Sweet Potato Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A classic Thanksgiving side dish is transformed into a whimsical cupcake version, complete with a marshmallow and pecan topping. Sweet potatoes are used much like pumpkin to provide a moist and flavorful cake. The touch of cinnamon and nutmeg give just the right balance of warm spices.
Recipe type: Dessert | Cupcakes | Butter Cakes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (about 1½ pounds) cooked, peeled, and pureed sweet potatoes
Tip: if using left over sweet potatoes that have been refrigerated, warm them slightly in the microwave to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two standard 12-cup muffin pans; line about 14 to 15 of the cups with paper cupcake liners. Tip: Since not all cups in both pans will be filled, line every other cup in each pan so the cakes will bake evenly.
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; sift or whisk together to mix. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Tip: To cream, start by placing the butter in the bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed begin by beating the butter about 1 minute until it is smooth and light in color. With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the granulated sugar to the butter, either one tablespoon at a time, or in a very slow steady stream, taking from 4 to 5 minutes to add all of the sugar, then add the brown sugar, taking an additional 3 to 4 minutes, beating until the butter and sugar are fully incorporated and the mixture is a light, or pale yellow color, with a fluffy texture. While adding the sugars, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly mixed. Add the vanilla along with the last egg. Tip: For each egg, crack the egg into a small bowl and whisk with a fork to thoroughly break up the egg before adding to the creamed mixture. Start with the mixer on low speed so the liquid from the egg doesn’t splatter, once the egg is partially mixed increase the speed to medium. Each egg should be fully incorporated into the mixture before adding the next egg, taking about one minute to blend in each egg.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, add about one third of the flour mixture, mix just until the flour is almost completely blended. Scrape the bowl down, and add about one half of the pureed sweet potatoes, blending just until mixed. Scrape the bowl down again and continue alternating with the flour mixture and sweet potatoes, ending with the last portion of the flour, and stirring just until blended.
  5. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners. Fill about ⅔ full, using about ¼ cup of batter per cup. Tip: Avoid over-filling the liners which may cause the batter to run-over the sides when baking. It is better to bake any remaining batter separately after the first pan of cupcakes has finished baking.
  6. Bake: Bake, rotating pan halfway through, about 20 minutes, or until the cakes are just firm and spring back when gently pressed, and a toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly in cupcake pan on a wire cooling rack, and turn out of pan when cool enough to handle. Cool cupcakes completely on the wire cooling rack before adding topping.
  1. Pre-heat oven broiler.
  2. For each cupcake top, create a small mound of mini marshmallows (about 14 marshmallows for each cupcake) on a baking sheet lined with a nonstick baking mat. Add a few candied pecans among the marshmallows.
  3. Brown the marshmallows under the broiler for 20 to 30 seconds or until the tops of the marshmallows are golden brown, watching carefully to prevent the marshmallows from burning. Remove from oven and place baking sheet on a wire cooling rack to cool slightly.
  4. When slightly cooled, use a thin metal spatula to transfer the mounds to the top of the cupcakes. Add a few extra candied pecans if desired. Cupcakes are best served the day they are topped with the marshmallows. Keep at room temperature.
Source: Martha Stewart's Cupcakes, Clarkson Potter Publishers, New York, 2009
Recipe Notes
Pan: Two Standard 12-Cup Muffin Pans Pan Prep: Paper Liners Oven Temp: 350° Yield: 14 to 15 Cupcakes Storage: Covered, Room Temperature

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