On Monday, I happened to see a post on Baltimore Diner about Baltimore’s first-ever Cupcake Camp. I had never heard of cupcake camp, but it sounded right up my alley. The idea is just a place to go and share/eat cupcakes. And there was a contest.
One of the contest categories was “best use of seasonal ingredients,” so I thought I’d try making a sweet potato-pecan cupcake. And I wanted some kind of marshmallows on top, because sweet potatoes+marshmallows=awesome.
Toby thought sweet potato cupcakes sounded sketchy. But I figured if sweet potato pie works (I’ve never had it, but it’s obviously a thing) and sweet potato muffins and biscuits work, then why not cupcakes?
I peeled, chopped and boiled three pounds of sweet potatoes because I wanted a lot left over. You can bake your potatoes if you’d prefer, and you don’t need to cook that many.
When these came out of the oven, I was worried they were going to be too dense/muffin-y. But they actually were pretty light and airy (though they are good with or without frosting).
So, while Toby wasn’t really sure about the idea of the cupcakes, he ended up really liking them. Sadly, though, I didn’t win the contest. Boo.
This marshmallow-meringue topping is pretty amazeballs. You need to whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form (it was pretty rainy here, and I think that may be why mine never got super firm) and then fold it into some marshmallow creme. Definitely a good choice for these cupcakes or anything else that needs a dollop of marshmallow goodness.
More about cupcake camp to come, but wanted to share this recipe first — try it when you’re ready for a taste of fall!
Sweet potato-pecan cupcakes with marshmallow meringue (Cupcakes adapted from Southern Living, meringue adapted from Bon Appetit – makes 15-16 cupcakes)
2 medium sweet potatoes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon bourbon (optional)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
Peel potatoes and cut into large pieces (pieces should be roughly the same size). Place in a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Boil for 20 minutes, or until you can easily insert a fork into the middle of a large piece of potato. Drain and allow to cool slightly, then mash with a fork.
Preheat oven to 350. Place pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet with raised edges. Bake pecans for 4 minutes, then stir and continue baking until nuts are toasted.
Cream together sugar and butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Whisk 8 ounces (1 cup) mashed sweet potatoes, orange juice, vanilla and bourbon together. In a small bowl, stir flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices together.
Alternate adding the flour mixture and sweet potato mixture to the sugar mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture (beat at low speed until just blended after each addition). Fold in toasted pecans.
Place foil baking cups in muffin pans and coat with cooking spray. Spoon batter into the cups, filling about two-thirds full.
Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes, until top of cupcakes bounce back when touched or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting with marshmallow meringue.
Marshmallow meringue (Makes enough for about 16 cupcakes – if you need/want to double the recipe, only use 3 egg whites but double all the other measurements)
3.5 ounces (half a jar) Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons sugar
Position a rack in the upper third of oven and preheat to 400 F. Using a rubber spatula, scrape marshmallow crème into a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt in another medium bowl until foamy (like bubble bath). Gradually add sugar and continue beating until egg whites form stiff and glossy peaks.
Add about a third of the beaten egg whites to the marshmallow crème and fold together with a rubber spatula until well incorporated (marshmallow is super sticky and will be hard to blend at first). Fold in remaining egg whites until just incorporated.
Place cupcakes on a baking sheet, then spoon or spread meringue on top of cupcakes. Swirl with a spoon or knife to create peaks.
Bake meringue-topped cupcakes in 400-degree oven about 4 minutes, until peaks of meringue are browned. Remove cupcakes from oven and let stand until cool.