Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting (Just Desserts Challenge)

Oh goodness, this is our second Top Chef Just Desserts Elimination Challenge … Challenge!

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

On the last episode of Top Chef Just Desserts the cheftestants were challenged to create bake sale goodies.  I love bake sale goodies, as my thighs will attest, so I was all in on this one.  Bake sale treats are meant to be homey, but that does not mean they are simple. Since the air has suddenly become crisp (I know it can’t last, it is Texas) I felt an autumnal baking urge!  I wanted something hearty, earthy, complex, and decidedly for the fall.  That left me with only one available option here in Texas.  Sweet potatoes!

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

These cupcakes remind me of sweet potato pie but better because they have frosting.  I did not add a lot of spices to these cupcakes, opting for cinnamon and a little allspice.  Sweet potato has a delicate flavor that is easily overpowered by too much spice, but if you want to add other flavors you can.  By far, the frosting is my favorite part of these cupcakes.  It tastes like tangy toffee, which sounds strange until you actually taste it.  Combine the frosting with the sweet potato cupcake and you have a treat worthy of any fall party or get together!

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting    Yield 12

For the cupcakes:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
6 ounces (or one small) sweet potato, peeled and diced
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla

For the frosting:

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, browned and cooled
1 block (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 – 4 cups powdered sugar

Heat the oven to 350 F and line a 12 cup cupcake pan with paper liners

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Steam the sweet potatoes until fork tender, about ten minutes.  Set aside to cool slightly then mash with a fork until smooth.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

In a medium bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light in color, about three minutes.  Add the egg, sweet potato, buttermilk, and vanilla.  Mix until well combined.

In a large bowl sift the flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.  Pour the wet mixture into the dry and whisk until no large lumps remain.  Do not over-mix.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese FrostingSweet Potato Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Divide the batter evenly between the baking cups.  Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the cakes are golden brown and spring back when lightly pressed in the enter.  Cool for three minutes in the pan then remove the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

While the cupcakes cool prepare the frosting.  In a medium bowl cream together the cream cheese and browned butter until well combined.  The mixture may look slightly curdled.  Add the vanilla, cinnamon and powdered sugar and mix until smooth.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Decorate the cupcakes as desired.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting


Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Time for the Round-Up!!  So, what other bake sale goodies would our Just Desserts Elimination Challenge … Challenge participants be selling??

  • My friends over at the pêche would be selling some yummy looking Peanut Butter Crispy Bars!  Pretty sure those would sell out!
  • Fun As We Go has some spectacular Raspberry Bars on offer … made with fresh raspberry filling!  Oh my, yes please!
  • Annie’s Dish may have my kryptonite on sale. Seriously!  I dare you to pass up these Fluffernutter Brownies
  • The Twisted Chef may be breaking the law with Salted Caramel.  Seriously, it should be illegal it sounds SO good!

The folks at Bravo were kind enough to recommend a sneak preview of the next episode!  Check it out below!

I can’t wait for the next challenge!  See you next week, and if you want to participate just email me the link to your Elimination Challenge inspired post no later than 9am CST Wednesday morning.

© 2010, Evil Shenanigans. All rights reserved.

Author: Kelly

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  • ok… so those are just too beautiful. you would have beat me in my elimination challenge… although i’m re-attempting my recipe today. hopefully it’ll be just as pretty as yours!

  • i’m really not sure if these could be more beautiful! i love the cupcake cups too…the vibrant colors are perfect with that icing!

  • oh yeah… and i forgot to email you my link as well – i only tweeted it! i’ll be better next week… but here it is if anyone is interested:
    salted caramel http://tinyurl.com/2uu8f7l

  • Oh my!!! Browned butter is heavenly!! Sweet potato cupcakes are awesome and I bet this browned butter cream cheese frosting really puts them over the top!!!

  • TheTwistedChef – I got ya! Added you to the round-up! 😀

  • Ooh la la! I want to go to THIS bake sale.

  • Just love sweet potatoes and these cupcakes are the ultimate! And paired with that frosting must be the best thing on the bake sale table! I’ll take two! Fantastic recipe and pretty cupcakes!

  • Those look delicious, and your pictures are gorgeous! I am such a slacker… I so should have gotten in on this challenge. I had all these great ideas like knockoff Hostess cupcakes and oatmeal cream pies… and I’ve even made those PB Krispy treats from Baked before, but I just didn’t execute in time. There’s always next week!

  • Really…Could these be any more perfect? Answer, NO. I love EVERYTHING about them.

  • These look delicious! Loving this series 🙂

  • That sounds DELICIOUS! I think sweet potatoes have a lovely brown sugar taste that lends itself to dessert well

  • Sweet Potato, Brown Butter, Cream Cheese – what’s not to love about this beauty!

  • Used sweet potatoes in baked goods for the first time, and was pleasantly surprised. I guess “north of the border” we tend to use it more in soups and as a side dish. Your recipe sounds amazing and the frosting “to die for”. Thanks for sharing.

  • These cupcakes look amazing. It just threw my “no more additions to my already ridiculous recipe collection” policy right out the window. Thanks! =o)

  • Love those cupcakes and love that frosting too…so weird we both posted a baked good with a similar frosting on the SAME day. Mine is heavier on the cinnamon but either way…I know for a fact just how good it is. Hard to type even with sticky fingers from licking some!

    Your cupcakes are BEAUTIFUL; perfect!

  • OH These look so yummy! And brown butter cream cheese frosting, I need to try these (=

  • Your cupcakes take the prize! I want one right now 🙂 And your pictures have me drooling, oh, yes!

  • Yeah, I think you got one of my favorite Fall flavors there. That was such a creative idea!

  • These look absolutely fantastic! I can almost taste the flavors! And your frosting is beautiful!

  • Must…back…away…slowly…
    These look SO good. Hard to resist!

  • That looks so good!! Now I’m seriously craving cupcakes.

  • oh wow that looks incredible! the flavours must be awesome together!

  • I would totally buy these cupcakes at a bake sale! Your pictures are perfect and they make me really really want to make these. I have got to get me some of those bright cupcake papers – love them!

  • Mmm, these sound delicious!

  • Jill

    What cupcake liners do you use? Mine never look that good!

  • Cate

    I made these and they were delicious! I ate two the night I made them! One thing though – My frosting came out more brown than yours. I wonder if I browned the butter too much. Also, I had only 1/2 a cup of white sugar on hand, so I used 1/4 of light brown sugar as well and they were fantastic. Did your frosting have the cinnamon? It’s listed in the ingredients but your directions don’t say to add the cinnamon. This could have attributed to a darker frosting. At any rate, these are fantastic and I’ll be making them again!

  • Bewick

    I truly adore these cupcakes..with & without the icing. Thanks for sharing

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  • Tami

    These cupcakes are absolutely incredible! The first time this week I made them I had to give some away so that I wouldn’t eat them all myself. Funny thing, I just made more. They are heavenly. Everyone I share them with loves them. The brown butter cream cheese icing is over the top wonderful and truly make these cupcakes superior to any cupcake I’ve had before. I had a friend tell me these were better than the sweet potato cupcakes that the fancy cupcake store we frequent has made in the past. I also used fresh sweet potatoes from my garden, so that helps with a fresher taste as well.

  • Ann

    This is the absolute best frosting in the world, thank you sooo much!!!!

  • Sweetie P

    I love the flavor of these cupcakes and the icing is to die for!!! My only problem with these is my cupcakes keep sinking in the middle 🙁 . I’m just wondering what am I doing wrong because I use the same ingredients, correct measurments, and everything. Plz help!

  • Natalie

    I am a baker, not a cook. So I was struggling to find a recipe that felt like ‘me’ for a cook-off tonight. While purusing all kinds of sweet potato recipes my husband said what about cupcakes? I wasn’t sure…
    I had tried so many sweet potato recipes- smoky chipotle mashed, pie, even donuts! Each time my family said, sure- this is good it will work.

    Until this recipe. My husband took one bite, and said (crumbs falling out of his mouth), you HAVE to make these! So thank you- I will have to let you know if I win the cook-off. The only change I made to the recipe was to bake the potatoes, rather than steam them. I feel like it maintains more of the flavor.

  • This frosting was sinful! I made it recently to top my sweet potato cupcakes, and they were gone very quickly! Thanks so much for the amazing recipe! I’ve linked back to you here: http://evabakes.blogspot.com/2012/10/sweet-potato-cupcakes-with-brown-butter.html

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  • Jackie

    Hi Kelly

    Do I have to double the frosting recipe if I’m going to pipe the frosting on the cupcakes.

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