Posts Tagged ‘thanksgiving’

Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes

I saw canned organic sweet potato puree in Wegmans a few weeks ago. And then I judged a cupcake contest in which one of the cupcakes was inspired by Thanksgiving flavors (and bacon), and contained sweet potato, among things. I decided to go old school and conjure up some nostalgia, with a twist—in the form of cupcakes.

Full and complete disclaimers needed here! I’m posting this because people have been asking for a recipe. The cupcake part is easy, but the frosting, I just eyeballed. So I am going to try to recreate from memory what I did, which shouldn’t be too hard. As they say with diet programs: results may vary. In the meantime….

This recipe was adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, but they are decidedly NOT vegan. Again, NOT vegan, on account of the gelatin in the marshmallows. And the butter. But you can find vegan butter and vegan marshmallows if that’s how you roll.

Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcakes


  • 1 cup sweet potato puree
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (or soy)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Marshmallow frosting

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • About 1 cup of marshmallow fluff
  • About 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2-4 Tbsp. milk, as needed
  • 6 large marshmallows, pulled apart in half (no need to get knives involved here)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake/muffin pan with liners or grease well with butter and flour.
  2. Stir together the sweet potato puree, oil, sugar, almond milk and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Sift the flour and rest of the dry ingredients right over the bowl. Mix together with a spatula; do not use a stand mixer for this or you will render these cupcakes tough.
  3. Fill the liners about 2/3 full and bake for about 18-20 minutes. I always check mine a few minutes before I think they will be done because I don’t want to serve dry, overbaked cupcakes. The tops should spring back lightly when touched and a cake tester should come out fairly clean. Transfer to a wire rack and remove from pan after 10 minutes, allowing them to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to the broiler setting.
  2. Cream the butter for a minute or so until it gets a bit fluffy. Add the marshmallow fluff and mix at low speed until combined with the butter. Add the vanilla extract and then slowly add the confectioner’s sugar, mixing on medium-low speed until it’s all combined. Drop in a couple of Tbs. of milk if necessary to thin it out. Keep in mind, though, that this frosting is going to be thick, almost paste-like, but still spreadable. That’s the consistency you’re looking for.
  3. With a small offset spatula or a non-serrated knife generously spread the frosting over the cupcakes. You’ll notice that it won’t get completely smooth but instead will form little tufts and peaks like tiny mohawks all over your cupcake. Repeat.
  4. Put your cupcakes on a wire rack over a baking sheet in your oven to catch possible marshmallow-y drips and globs. Break off a large marshmallow and put each half, ripped side down, on top of the cupcake, and repeat until all cupcakes are covered. (You could also easily do this with mini marshmallows; whatever you’ve got). Put in the preheated oven/broiler and set your timer for a minute. You will know though if that’s too long because it will start to smell like burned s’mores in your kitchen.
  5. Remove from the oven when the marshmallows turn golden brown. If you like a more charred effect, keep it going until it’s darker than that.

The serendipity of this recipe? There was just enough fluff in the frosting to allow it to melt and congeal with the butter and confectioner’s sugar but without getting too gloppy. The cupcakes wound up being gently, smoothly enrobed in the frosting.

If you make these, please please let me know in the comments field. I’m curious about the frosting!


11 2013

As American as Apple Pie

It’s high season for pies, people.

My sister asked me for an apple pie recipe. For the first time in a long time, I won’t be seeing her on Thanksgiving. So here’s the recipe I’ve been using for the past few years. With my own adaptations, it garnered me the best apple pie (traditional) at the Easton Farmers’ Market this year. And here I am, just giving it away. There’s the love.

A few works about apples and pie crusts. You don’t have to be afraid of pie crust. Honestly. Making it is not that hard and it’s way better than the prefab stuff you buy from major corporations. I know these are convenience products but they just don’t taste as good, and Thanksgiving is all about the food.  Use your favorite single-crust pie dough recipe. I use one from the Williams-Sonoma cook book The Essentials of Baking, which my mom bought for me years ago because she fell in love with it at the store and decided that I needed to have it. Or you can follow the instructions on how to make a double-crusted pie from the awesome Joy the Baker and do this up the old-school way, without the crumb topping.

People always ask what the best apples for baking are. Some will argue for one versus another. I generally will use whatever is crisp and sweet-tart.  You want to steer away from apples that are too soft when you bite into them. McIntosh, for example, is good for applesauce because it breaks down quickly, but that’s precisely why you wouldn’t opt to put them in a pie. I’ve made this recipe with Honeycrisps (which are out of season now) along with Fuji, Gala, Pink Ladies, Cameo, Mutsu and all kinds of other awesome apples from Beechwood Orchards. For Thanksgiving, I’m using a combination of Fuji and Cameo. You can also swap out about a cup’s worth of apples, like I did (as shown in photo), with a cup of cranberries. If you do that, you might want to add another Tbsp. of flour to compensate for the juicy explosion of cranberries.

First, preheat your oven to 425 Fahrenheit.


  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 7 cups thinly sliced (peeled and cored, naturally) tart apple (about 7 medium)


  • 6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar (either light or dark)
  • 3 Tbsp. butter

After your pie crust has chilled, roll it out to about 12 inches on a pastry board. I like to liberally flour the top of the dough before I roll it, and then put floured parchment on top and place the roller over the parchment so I can easily invert the crust to a pie plate and then peel the parchment off. Carefully press the pie dough into the 9-inch pie plate you’ve chosen. Don’t worry if it tears; you can push it back together. Pie crust is pretty forgiving. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on the bottom and prick the bottom several times with a fork so that it does not puff up in the oven.

1. Combine sugar, spices, flour and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle over apples in a medium sized bowl and toss well to coat.

2. Spoon filling to pie pan. You want to make sure there’s more in the middle than the sides.


Combine flour and brown sugar in a medium sized bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or a fork until it resembles a crumbly mix. Sprinkle evenly over apple mixture.

Bake at 425 for 10 minutes. Drop temperature own to 350 and bake for 40 minute more or until bubbly and the crumb topping is lightly browned. Remove to cool completely before serving.


11 2011