The BEST soft and pillowy sweet potato cupcakes topped with a cloud of fluffy brown butter maple buttercream!
Move over pumpkin! Today we’re all about that other autumn orange veggie–sweet potatoes! Or are they yams? I don’t know, but what I DO know is that these sweet potato cupcakes are probably the best cupcakes I’ve ever had.
They’re perfectly moist, unbelievably fluffy, soft, and packed with pure sweet potato sweetness.
So what makes THESE cupcakes so amazing?
Well, there’s just something so magical about sweet potatoes in how they make pretty much any baked good so light and pillowy, yet moist without being overly dense or heavy. In addition, they’ve got a natural sweetness that pumpkin doesn’t have. I prefer to roast my sweet potatoes whole in a 400ºF oven for about 45 minutes until they’re soft enough to mash. For those who might be a little less patient, there’s also the microwave method.
Just to clarify, this is NOT a spice cake. The one spice I added to these cupcakes is cinnamon. No nutmeg, no allspice, just good ol’ cinnamon. In fact, I only added a 1/2 teaspoon. I didn’t want to overpower the natural flavor of the sweet potato by stuffing the batter with a million baJillian spices. Also, because sweet potatoes already have a little bit of sweetness to them, I didn’t have to load these cupcakes up with as much sugar. Besides, that’s what the buttercream is for!
While sweet potatoes are traditionally topped with marshmallows, I decided to go a different route with these cupcakes. At first I thought maple buttercream. But then the little devil on my shoulder shouted, “NO!!! BROWN BUTTER maple buttercream.” Then my mom came into the kitchen and asked why I was shouting at myself in such a low Batman-like tone.
Anyway, this buttercream is BEYOND phenomenal. The tastebud goddesses could not be any prouder. Brown butter buttercream is where it’s at, folks. The nutty richness that brown butter infuses into the sweet buttercream is indescribable. Not to mention, the added beauty of the little flecks of browned butter seen throughout. The maple syrup just adds that extra layer of warm sweetness to round out the most ambrosial buttercream your mouth will ever lay tongue on.
As always, sprinkles are a must when it comes to cupcakes. Especially when you have enough to fill an 8-foot underground pool. (Yes, I have a problem.)
A word to the wise, you’ll probably want to double the recipe seeing as it only makes one dozen. I’m just warning you ahead of time so that when you bite into the first one, you won’t regret only having 11 left to binge on for the rest of the night.
Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Brown Butter Maple Buttercream
Yields: 1 dozen
2/3 cup mashed sweet potatoes*
3 and 3/4 teaspoons lemon juice, divided
3/4 cup milk
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Brown Butter Maple Buttercream:
1/2 cup SALTED butter, for browning
1/2 cup UNSALTED butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 -3 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
Place 2 and 1/4 teaspoons lemon juice in a measuring cup. Add enough milk to the measuring cup to equal 3/4 cup; let sit for a few minutes.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars together until combined. Add in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Mix on high until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in the mashed sweet potato and remaining 1 and 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice. Batter may be lumpy.
With mixer on low, alternate adding the dry ingredients with the milk mixture until just combined. Do not overmix. Evenly distribute batter among cupcake liners, then bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with few crumbs attached. Allow cupcakes to cool for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the Buttercream: In a medium saucepan, melt the salted butter over medium-low heat. As the butter melts, it’ll start to foam, then turn a clear golden color. Continue to stir the butter, scraping up any browned specks from the bottom of the pan as it starts to brown. It should have a nutty aroma. Once browned and nutty, pour into a shallow bowl, then place into the freezer until solid, about 30 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the solidified browned butter with the unsalted butter until creamy. Add the powdered sugar, a cup at a time, until combined. Add the maple syrup, milk, and vanilla and continue mixing until fluffy. Pipe or spread Buttercream onto cooled cupcakes. Top with sprinkles and enjoy!
*I roasted one medium-sized sweet potato in a 400ºF oven for about 45 minutes.