These moist and fluffy cupcakes are inspired by everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving side dish- the sweet potato souffle! With a touch of pineapple and cinnamon, and a toasted marshmallow and pecan topping, it’s just like grandma’s casserole in dessert form! If you need a fun & unique treat to serve this holiday, look no further than this easy, one-bowl recipe.
Up until a few years ago, I refused to touch a sweet potato. Crazy, right? I know. But back in the day, sweet potatoes were dumped from a can and buried in brown sugar and butter. Normally I am ALL for brown sugar and butter, but somehow it just never worked for me when it was coating a slippery soft sweet potato.
Then I discovered sweet potatoes paired with savory and spice, and it was like a whole new world opened up. I love them now, with sharp cheese and chorizo, or when combined with peanut and chilis, or smoky chipotles… I just can’t get enough.
So much so, that when I first met my husband’s grandmother, and she was toting a big earthenware dish of her famous sweet potato souffle, of course I was game to try! Even though her sweet potato casserole is sweet, I still loved it!
She folds a little crushed pineapple into the mashed sweet potatoes, and it provides such a nice balance. And the toasty marshmallow topping is pure heaven. I always help myself to a big dollop, and I save it for the last bite of my Thanksgiving meal. It’s almost like dessert on your dinner plate! But then, of course, there’s dessert-dessert, and no shortage of it, at that.
So this year I thought, why not take my favorite sweet dinner side dish and give it its proper due as an actual dessert. These fun cupcakes are perfect to bring to your family feast or friends-giving. The moist, fluffy cake is full of gently spiced sweet potatoes, and the marshmallow frosting is SO much fun. I used a brulee torch to toast it up, but you could also stick them under the broiler for a few minutes (that’s what Grandmom does), for the same effect. Just be careful not to set the cupcake papers on fire!
Sweet Potato Souffle Cupcakes
These moist and fluffy cupcakes are inspired by everyone's favorite Thanksgiving side dish- the sweet potato souffle! With a touch of pineapple and cinnamon, and a toasted marshmallow and pecan topping, it's just like grandma's casserole in dessert form! If you need a fun & unique treat to serve this holiday, look no further than this easy, one-bowl recipe.
Yield: 26 cupcakes
For the Cupcakes:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (softened)
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups mashed roasted sweet potato (about 2 medium sweet potatoes)
- 1/2 cup chopped pineapple
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Topping:
- 1 cup water, divided
- 3 teaspoons plain powdered gelatin
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (extract may be substituted)
- 26 roasted salted pecan halves
To Make the Cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line cupcake pans with papers.
- Place the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add the butter, and mix on medium speed until the mixture resembles damp sand. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the mashed sweet potato, pineapple, and vanilla, and beat on medium high speed for about a minute to a minute and a half, to aerate the batter and build the cake's structure.
- Fill the cupcake papers about 2/3 full, and bake for 22-24 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the thickest part of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely.
To Make the Topping:
- Place half the water in a large mixing bowl, and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Set aside.
- Place the remaining water in a medium pot, along with the sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cook on medium heat, swirling the pot occasionally, until the mixture registers 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Carefully pour the hot syrup over the reserved water/gelatin mixture. Using a whisk attachment, whip the mixture on low speed until slightly thickened. Increase the speed to high and whip until thick, glossy, and white. Stir in the vanilla. Top the cooled cupcakes with the marshmallow topping (I used a piping bag with no tip), press a pecan half in the center, and brulee with a torch or under the broiler.
Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork, wrap them in foil, and roast for 60-90 minutes in a 425 degree oven. Cool slightly, cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the soft flesh. This can be done up to a few days ahead.
And don’t forget to top it with a pecan half! It looks so pretty, and that little bit of salt and crunch really works with all the soft and sweet. I hope you’ll give this recipe a try!