Sweet Tenderness

February 1, 2009 at 7:29 pm 16 comments

Sweet Potato Cupcake all dressed up

Hello, February, month for loved ones huddled close in your bitter cold nights.  While I’m not much of a “girlie-girl” the rest of the year, I am pretty keen on Valentine’s Day, profusion of pink and all (pink being my least favorite color so it’s worth noting that it doesn’t bother me nearly as much when coupled with sweets and handmade cards with hearts drawn in crayon).  Granted, I spent many a February single and wasn’t always so chipper about it, but even when I didn’t have a date, I was lucky enough to have a friends and family who were just as special.   And of course the past several years with D has made winter days brighter and Valentine’s Day itself all the more fun. 

Sweet Potatoes

This February I’m on a quest to come up with some truly outstanding and downright indulgent seasonal treats that would make any loved one glow when they find out you took the time to make it for them.  The challenge, as you likely know, is finding anything locally grown this time of the year, let alone the typical fruits that go into sweet treats.  If only chocolate were a local commodity and strawberries grew in snow!

Chopping sweet potatoes

Needless to say, we’ve got to get creative in order to celebrate a holiday like Valentine’s Day with desserts made from locally grown products.  I actually have several smashing successes for you that I’ll be sharing over the next two weeks.  To kick off this little “local sweet treats” event, here’s a recipe for Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Honey Ginger Buttercream Frosting.

Tin and unfrosted muffins 

I had a fairly pathetic harvest of sweet potatoes from my garden this past season thanks to a family of hungry moles that built their home under my raised bed and chewed out all the big flavorful roots on my vines.  What they left untouched were only the slender crocked young roots that they no doubt thought weren’t worth their time to hunt out.  Fortunately for me (haha), these spindly “leftovers” proved to be extremely sweet and tender, though I still would have enjoyed having those more mature roots resting in my cellar instead of some mole’s belly.  As it was, the few that I still had on hand were the perfect base for these darling cupcakes!

foursome of cakes

In thinking up this recipe, I was most definitely inspired by the batch of parsnip cupcakes I made last winter.  I wanted these cakes to be similarly warm in their spices and lusciously moist, but coy about their secret ingredient.  And so they were.  But what made them truly outstanding was how very tender and melt-in-your-mouth their crumb turned out to be.   Notice I’m speaking in past tense here…these cupcakes, all two dozen of them, disappeared at an alarmingly quick clip.  I had several, of course, but D was head over heels for them, which was exactly my goal, seeing as how he’s my sweetheart and all. 


The buttercream recipe, which took advantage of the mild floral notes of my own bees’ honey and the zing of fresh ginger, was a real show stopper on its own.  I don’t typically like buttercream frostings myself because they seem heavy and fatty in my mouth.  I like a frosting with an abundance of air and sugar in it.  But with the honey and ginger in this particular batch, I lost track of the buttery heaviness and instead focused on the sweet freshness of its flavors.  It’s one frosting recipe I’ll be keeping in my back pocket for many a decorative occasion in the future. 

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Honey Ginger Buttercream Frosting


Sweet Potato Cupcakes
Adapted loosely from Better Homes and Gardens

2  C. all-purpose flour
2  t. baking powder
1/2  t. baking soda 
2  t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t.  freshly grated nutmeg
1/4  t. salt
1  C. butter, softened
1 1/2  C. sugar
3  eggs
2+ C. mashed sweet potatoes at room temperature*
1/2 t. ginger (freshly grated or dry ground)
1/2  t. vanilla
1 batch of honey ginger buttercream (recipe below)

*To make two generous cups worth of mashed sweet potatoes, use 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks.  Place in a saucepan with enough water to cover and set over medium heat. cover and simmer until very tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain any remaining water off and mash with a fork until relatively smooth.  Allow to cool. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 standard muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; set aside.

In a roomy mixing bowl, beat butter until creamy.  Add sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sweet potatoes, ginger and vanilla and allow the mixer to run for a few minutes to get the potato silken. Place the mixer on low speed and add half of the flour mixture to the bowl, mixing just until moistened.  Take the bowl off the mixer and mix in the remaining flour by hand (batter is very thick), only mixing until everything is moistened (do not over mix).

Divide batter evenly among prepared tins. Bake about 20 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool in tin on wire rack for a few minutes and then remove to cool completely. Frost or leave plain.  Store in an air-tight container.  Once frosted, store in the fridge. 

(makes 2 dozen)


Mashed sweet potatoes 

Honey Ginger Buttercream Frosting
A Straight from the Farm Original

3/4 C. butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
1 C. confectioner’s sugar
1/2 C. wildflower honey
2-3 t. freshly grated ginger
1/2 t. vanilla extract

Beat the butter in an electric mixer until creamy.  Add the sugar and beat on high until smooth.  Add the honey and ginger.  Beat for another minute before adding the vanilla.  Leave mixer run for 3-4 minutes on high. 

(makes about 2 cups)


Entry filed under: Recipes, Sweet Treats. Tags: , , , , .

Orchid Oogling Heart Tarts

16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ovenhaven  |  February 2, 2009 at 3:10 am

    I absolutely adore the warmth of your photos 🙂 I’ve never tried sweet potato cupcakes before. I’ve always had (and loved) sweet potato fritters, so I’m sure I’m gonna love these! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • 2. Jennie  |  February 2, 2009 at 2:32 pm

      Thanks, Ovenhaven and L&L!

  • 3. limeandlemon  |  February 2, 2009 at 9:12 am

    sounds and looks delicious … Laila .. http://limeandlemon.wordpress.com

  • 4. maria  |  February 2, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    i saw this post this morning from tastespotting and when i looked at the ingredients i thought “i have all these” so i made them for my husband (even though i ate some too!!) and i really like them!! i cut the recipe in half though since theres only 2 of us. they are yummy!!!! Im trying to control myself by not eating them all in a day!!!!

  • 5. Jennie  |  February 2, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Wow, Maria! I don’t think I’ve ever had a reader make a recipe so quickly. 🙂 Aren’t they addictive?? Cutting the recipe in half was probably a very wise idea as there were just 2 of us and we ate them all in just as many days. 🙂

  • 6. bonnevivante  |  February 3, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    I absolutely love sweet potatoes!
    Can’t wait to try this recipe… love the deep orange color too 🙂
    I kind of want to make a sweet potato cake

  • 7. Mags  |  February 3, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    Such a warm and fuzzy post… awesome recipe… and great photos. I always look forward to reading your blog.

  • 8. Tammy  |  February 4, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    What I am loving, in addition to these cupcakes, is that your baking muffin/cupcake tin could be an identical twin to mine. 🙂

  • 9. Kevin  |  February 9, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Sweet potato cupcakes sound really good.

  • 10. Stef  |  February 15, 2009 at 10:18 am

    These look incredible. I’ve been planning to make some sweet potato cupcakes and this may just be the place to start.

  • 11. Margaretg  |  March 4, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    This recipe sounds great cant wait to try. Well done for growing the sweet potato. Dont do here !!

  • 12. Top 10 for 2009 « Straight from the Farm  |  December 31, 2009 at 12:00 am

    […] #6.  Sweet Potato Cupcakes […]

  • 13. stephanja  |  February 24, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    These have become an absolute favorite of mine. I never liked pumpkin bread, but was always craving something similar in the holiday season..this is exactly what I was looking for! I will say that they aren’t much of cupcakes for me, more like muffins with the same density as pumpkin bread or something like it. I like them best a few days old. The icing was way too sweet for me and once again, I didn’t think it needed it.If I were going to put icing though I think I would put a cream cheese one that maybe wasn’t so sweet (just personal preference). But the icing did have a nice taste and it was different..I think I will try it with another recipe or something. I have also made these muffins with cranberries and next I think I’ll try walnuts, even though I’m not a big nut fan. They are great any way you make em! Thanks so much for the recipe!

  • 14. Dawn  |  June 3, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Fabulous!!! Modified the icing with spectacular results–
    cut the honey in half (so only 1/4 c.), add 1/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp cinnamon and viola! it will knock your socks off!!

  • 15. Michelle  |  December 22, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Wow just baked mini cupcakes and I am ready to eat them all! I also cut the recipe in half to try it first. Thanks for sharing!

  • 16. freedomunlocks.Blog.fc2.com  |  May 7, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about
    this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to
    drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is
    excellent blog. A great read. I’ll certainly be back.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Add to Google Add to My Yahoo!

All text and photos © 2007-2012 Straight From the Farm. Contact straightfromthefarm (at)gmail(dot)com to ask for permission before reprinting in any format.


Fill in your email address below to get new posts sent to your inbox so you'll never miss a great recipe!

Join 467 other followers

Favorite Photos

My site was nominated for Best Food Blog!

CookEatShare Featured Author
view my recipes
CookEatShare Featured Author

The Foodie Blog Roll

%d bloggers like this: