Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Candied Sweet Potato Cupcakes

Sweet potatoes have never been a Thanksgiving tradition in our house, but now that we are "Southerners", I thought it would be fun to incorporate this root vegetable into our family feast.  These Candied Sweet Potato Cupcakes, from Martha Stewart's Cupcake book are a take on the famous southern side dish, complete with a marshmallow and candied pecan topping!

My first step in tackling these cupcakes was to simplify the recipe!  Rather than roasting sweet potatoes specifically for these cupcakes,  I opted for canned sweet potato puree.  While I'm sure that homemade roasted sweet potatoes would be even more delicious than the canned version - my family will never know!

Thanksgiving break is a great time to incorporate the little bakers.  Cracking the eggs (into a separate cup, please!) seems to be the favorite task!

I made a few more substitutions in the recipe including the use of white whole wheat flour and substituting one stick of butter for 1/2 cup of canola oil.  I think oil makes a cake moister (not to mention cutting down on the saturated fat!)

I also reduced the baking time to 20 minutes instead of 28 minutes.  From experience I have learned that Martha's oven runs a lot cooler than mine!

Now comes the fun part - the topping!
Carefully arrange cupcake-sized piles of marshmallows on a baking sheet covered with a Silpat mat or parchment paper.  Top with candied pecans (store bought or make your own).  I left some plain for those that have yet to discover the pleasure of a candied pecan!

Since I don't own a kitchen torch, I broiled my toppings for a mere two minutes!
Let them cool slightly and slide them onto the cupcakes.

I was expecting these to taste just like pumpkin, but was pleasantly surprised to find that they had their own subtle flavor.  The topping adhered nicely to the cupcake and the combination made a truly delightful, not-too-sweet bite.  I hope they keep until tomorrow!

Candied Sweet Potato Cupcakes
adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Wet Ingredients:
1 15-ounce can sweet potato puree
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line 24 muffin tins with paper liners.  Whisk dry ingredients.  With an electric mixer, beat butter, oil and sugar.  Add eggs.  Add sweet potato puree and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Add the flour mixture in batches and beat until completely incorporated.  Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

TOPPING:  Making 12 at a time, make 12 marshmallow mounds on a cookie sheet lined with a silpat mat or parchment paper.  Add pecans.  Broil for about 2 minutes or until brown, watching carefully!  With a spatula, transfer marshmallow mounds the cupcakes.  

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