Tag Archives: cream cheese

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting & Candied Pecans

sweet potato cupcakes

Hey friends.

I know it’s been awhile.

Hopefully some sweet potato cupcakes will appease you. (For now.)

plain cupcakes

They are quite delightful, these moist little muffins topped with creamy frosting and crunchy pecans.

single cupcake

I’m currently testing recipes for a friend’s wedding. This friend, to be exact. These passed the test. Remember last time I made cupcakes for a wedding? I vowed only to do one wedding every two years.

I’m a woman of my word, it turns out. Except when that word involves promising to write more. That kind of thing is best left to chance.

Anyway, I know I should be posting recipes that help people keep their New Year’s resolutions, not actively attempt to break them. Alas, one of those recipes is best left to another day.

The original recipe for these cupcakes comes from some sort of Food Network cupcake challenge, but I’ve modified it to suit my tastes. (And the happy couple, of course.)

If you make them yourself, let me know how they turn out!

Sweet Potato Cupcakes:
Makes 18 – 24 cupcakes
2 cups mashed and cooled sweet potatoes, or one 16-ounce can
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
Cinnamon sugar, if desired

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a few cupcake tins with paper liners.
2) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and nutmeg. In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and eggs. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients and then the sweet potato puree.
3) Fill cupcake tin cup three-quarters full of batter. Bake until the tops spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean — 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool.
4) Once cooled, frost the cupcakes with the frosting, top with candied pecans, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Brown Sugar Frosting:
Frosts 18 – 24 cupcakes
One 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
2 sticks butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1) Beat the cream cheese until creamy. Add the butter and beat until well incorporated.
2) Add the light brown sugar and beat until fluffy, then stir in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until combined. Add the vanilla extract until fully incorporated.

Candied Pecans:
Makes four cups
Canola/vegetable oil, for greasing
1 egg white
4 teaspoons water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound chopped pecans

1) Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with oil.
2) Beat the egg white in a bowl until frothy, then whisk water and the vanilla extract into the egg.
3) Stir the sugar, cinnamon and salt into the egg mixture, then stir in the chopped pecans until they’re fully coated.
4) Spread the pecans onto the baking sheet and bake in 20 minute intervals, stirring the pecans before placing them back in the oven. Continue baking for about an hour.
5) Allow the pecans to cool on the baking sheet.

Advertisements

Key Lime Cupcakes

Friends, it’s been a while.

I know, I know. My absence is absolutely inexcusable, especially when you consider most of the activities in which I’ve been partaking: watching three seasons of the U.K. version of Skins (such scandal!), shopping, running errands in preparation for Munich, running, baking for Share Our Strength and baking for my friends’ wedding. So much fodder for blog posts that I failed to write.

Actually, that last activity renders my absence entirely excusable. Baking cupcakes for a wedding is surprisingly time- and energy-consuming and, in the end, leaves one with a strong aversion to consuming cupcakes. So strong, in fact, that when I attended another wedding last night (two weddings in one weekend, which meant two evenings of doggedly dodging the bridal bouquet), I couldn’t fathom taking more than one bite of the luscious-looking red velvet cake. After baking 200+ cupcakes on Monday and frosting them Friday morning, my pores practically ooze butter. My cat has been especially devoted to me these past few days; I’m good for both a relaxing pet and a pleasant dairy aroma.

I would bake wedding cupcakes again, despite the overexposure to butter. What better way to show your engaged friends you care than to mass-produce baked delights for their friends and family? I baked love into every bite. For Dan and Casey, I made mint chocolate cupcakes, vanilla & chocolate cupcakes with Nutella filling and key lime cupcakes. As a key lime pie purist, I was initially skeptical about the latter. If I’m going to eat something with “key lime” in the title, I want that food to result in a graham cracker crust and cream cheese filling. Still, key lime pie is Dan’s favorite dessert, and I was not about to volunteer to make 75 key lime tarts in addition to 100 chocolate cupcakes. Everyone has a limit to his or her baking masochism, so key lime cupcakes it was.

Lesson learned. Key lime is acceptable in other forms on occasion. I got this key lime cupcake recipe from Bon Appetit and eliminated the green food dye since it was a little too St. Patrick’s Day for a wedding. I also intended to sprinkle more lime zest on top in lieu of sprinkles, but sometimes I’m a little too ambitious for my own good.

Case in point: I leave for Munich Wednesday evening. When I booked the flight, 20 days of prep time seemed ample. 17 days later, my to-do list should sufficiently fill every spare moment. The next meal I make will be in southern Germany rather than the southern U.S. Oy vey, eeek and yay!

Key Lime Cupcakes:
Makes 1 dozen
Cupcakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel
3/4 cup buttermilk

Frosting
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with paper liners. Combine flours in medium bowl.
2) Beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar and beat to blend. Beat in eggs one at a time, then add lime juice and lime peel.
3) Add 1/3 of the flour, then add 1/2 the buttermilk. Add another 1/3 of the flour, then the rest of the buttermilk. Add the remaining flour.
4) Fill each cupcake liner about 1/3 full and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in pan briefly, then remove.
5) For the frosting, combine all ingredients until smooth and spread or pipe over the cupcakes.

Bananas Foster Cheesecake

Forget banana bread. From now on when I have bananas lying on my counter on the verge of disgusting, they’re going into cheesecake.

I’ve never been impassioned by plain cheesecake, preferring to drown mine in cherry topping or fresh strawberries. The fruit makes the dessert healthy, right? I also enjoy throwing fruit into the cheesecake itself and opting to drown the cheesecake in caramel sauce, apparently.

This recipe is especially wonderful because the cheesecakes are in individual containers–no fighting over who gets the bigger slice.

This recipe comes from Tasting Table. When it arrived in my inbox, I swooned. Audibly.

Bananas Foster Cheesecake:
Cheesecake
8 ounces cream cheese
1 and 1/4 cups banana purée (made from 3 very ripe bananas)
1 teaspoon gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or, in a pinch, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Graham cracker, for garnish

Sauce
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons dark rum

1. In a large, heatproof bowl, combine the cream cheese with the banana purée and place the bowl above a saucepan of simmering water. Stir the mixture until the cheese melts. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it bloom for 1 minute.
2. While the cream cheese and banana mixture melts, use another bowl to combine the cream with the sour cream, sugar and vanilla seeds. Whip until medium peaks form, about 3 minutes. (You could do this by hand, but using a mixer helps a LOT.)
3. Whisk the gelatin into the banana mixture until well-combined. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the salt. Whisk in half of the cream mixture, then, using a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining cream mixture.
4. Divide the batter among six glass cups. Gently tap the glasses to settle the filling and whip any excess from the sides. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
5. To make the sauce, in a medium saucepan, combine the sugar with the water and cook over medium-high heat, without stirring, until dark amber, about 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and carefully whisk in the cream. Whisk in the butter, then the rum. Transfer the caramel to a heatproof container, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
6. To serve, drizzle the cheesecakes with the caramel sauce and garnish with graham cracker.

By the way, there will be leftover caramel sauce. It tastes good on a spoon or on ice cream. How versatile.