Sweet potato, cranberry and walnut cupcakes

Sweet potato, cranberry and walnut cupcakes recipe – for Halloween and la Castanyada! :)

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Celebration cakes, Special everyday cakes and treats

La Casta… what?  Well here in Barcelona Halloween is becoming more popular but to celebrate October 31st in true Catalan tradition you have la Castanyada, ‘Chestnut time’.  I’ll tell you more about this celebration next week but it involves eating chestnuts, panellets (almond paste treats) and sweet potatoes.  So here are some Castanyada-Halloween sweet potato cupcakes for youThey’re topped with a white, orange or green-coloured frosting of mascarpone, orange zest, orange liqueur and maple syrup.  Surprisingly light and spongy, as you bite into one you’ll be surprised when the contrasting flavours and textures hit you with a sudden sharp juicy dried cranberry or crunchy walnut piece.  All topped with the light creamy frosting of course.  It’s a very satisfying cupcake for your stomach and senses.  One is enough as the sweet potato fills you but you’ll be intrigued and reach for more to recapture the experience!  🙂

Sweet potato, cranberry and walnut cupcakes

Sweet potato, cranberry and walnut cupcakes

You can go classy good witch with white frosting.

Sweet potato, cranberry and walnut cupcakes

Sweet potato, cranberry and walnut cupcakes

Or slightly slimy snot green.  lol.

Sweet potato, cranberry and walnut cupcakes

Sweet potato, cranberry and walnut cupcakes

And how about downright pumpkin-coloured?

Sweet potato, cranberry and walnut cupcakes

Sweet potato, cranberry and walnut cupcakes

Then if you get the right texture and piping nozzle you could have some scary worms!  Very Roald Dahl with his revolting recipes… 🙂  Maybe a bit too gross?

Sweet potato, cranberry and walnut cupcake

Sweet potato, cranberry and walnut cupcake

Of course you could always have them au naturel.

Sweet potato, cranberry and walnut cupcakes

Sweet potato, cranberry and walnut cupcakes

But first we need to make them…!

The recipe 

I was inspired by the sweet potato cake in Dessert by David Everitt-Matthias (of le Champignon Sauvage 2- Michelin-star restaurant).  But I simplified the method and made my cupcake version sharper with cranberries instead of sultanas and the addition of a little greek yoghurt and lemon juice (instead of banana) to cut through the starch of the sweet potato.  I also added the spices and salt.  Then made the frosting healthier with maple syrup, keeping the amazing orange liqueur hit.  If you’d like to avoid the alcohol you can add just a little mixed spice.  But do keep the original recipe’s method for browning the butter – it adds to the wonderful flavours.  Yum yum.

For 10-12 standard-size cupcakes or 16 smaller ones

Preparation:  preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F (static oven) or 160°C/320°F (fan oven) and set out doubled-up cupcake cases on a baking tray.

  • 25g/1 and three-quarters tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium-large free-range egg, beaten (60g)
  • 100g/half a cup plus 2 tablespoons light muscovado sugar (or soft brown sugar)
  • 50g/quarter cup cold-pressed mild olive oil or sunflower oil
  • 20g/1 and a half tablespoons natural greek-style yoghurt mixed with half a teaspoon to a teaspoon of lemon juice

Dry ingredients

  • 100g/half a cup plus 3 tbsp self-raising flour (in Spain you can find this in Lidl supermarkets)
  • half a teaspoon/2.5g baking powder
  • a quarter teaspoon ground cinammon
  • small pinch of salt, to taste
  • small pinch of nutmeg

Fruit, nuts and veg

  • 150g/half a cup plus 2 tbsp sweet potato, peeled and grated (orange-fleshed is best)
  • Grated zest of half an orange
  • 33g/a third of a cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 33g/a scant third of a cup dried cranberries

Making sweet potato cupcakes

  1. Heat the butter in a heavy-based saucepan or frying pan till it starts to turn brown (it will smell nutty and look a bit speckly).  This can take around 5 minutes on medium heat but you need to watch carefully as it turns brown suddenly and you have to stir it and take it off the heat quickly.  Then leave to cool.
  2. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large bowl till thicker and fluffier.
  3. Slowly drizzle in the oil then the cooled butter, while whisking till it’s combined.
  4. Whisk the flour, baking powder and spices together then sift into the large bowl.  Fold in gently.
  5. Now fold in the fruits, nut and veg until just combined.  Don’t overwork (and get the cake batter into the oven as soon as possible).
  6. Pour into the cupcake cases, filling almost three-quarters of the way up.
  7. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes till an inserted skewer comes out clean and the sponge springs back when you touch it lightly with a finger.

Sweet potato, cranberry and walnut cupcakeNow you might want to make your naked cupcakes a little more Halloweeny.

Frosting

  • 200g/7 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 4 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons orange liqueur, to taste or a quarter teaspoon ground mixed spice (or less)
  • grated zest of half an orange
  • optional:  a spoon or two of Philadelphia cheese or a small pinch of salt; orange or green food colouring (Wilton’s gel)

Whisk all the ingredients together and add any extra quantities, adjusting to taste.  Finally add very little food colouring if you like.  Use a disposable piping bag and medium sized plain nozzle to pipe small swirls on your cupcakes.

Sweet potato, cranberry and walnut cupcakes

Sweet potato, cranberry and walnut cupcakes

Storing and eating

You can refrigerate these cakes in airtight tupperware up to 4 days or so.  They keep really well and stay moist.  I’m surprised how good they are every time I take a bite!

5 linky partiesI’m going to share them with the Alphabakes challenge hosted by Ros@The More than Occasional Baker and Caroline Makes, Recipe of the Week@aMummyToo, Tasty Tuesdays@HonestMum, Simply Eggcellent@BelleauKitchen and Treat petite@Cakeyboi and Baking Explorer.  Please help yourselves to a sweet potato, cranberry and walnut cupcake! 🙂

Sweet potato, cranberry and walnut cupcakes

Sweet potato, cranberry and walnut cupcakes

More about la Castanyada next time, and I quite fancy making something with chestnuts soon.  But it’s farewell for now and thank you for dropping by again sweet reader, so soon after the Christmas cake post!  Wishing you a fun week ahead, anticipating or planning celebratory treats.  Happy baking and eating! 🙂 x

 

 

 

 

 

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Making cakes with my French mother on Sundays was an important part of my childhood. As an adult I then experimented with baking books and internet recipes and did a great patisserie course in Le Cordon Bleu Paris. I'm still trying out new recipes and creating some of my own cakes with influences from all around the world, adding some healthy ones to the repertoire. Yes, I love cakes!!! :)

24 thoughts on “Sweet potato, cranberry and walnut cupcakes recipe – for Halloween and la Castanyada! :)”

    • Thank you! Glad you like them. Was so happy with my first lot (and first sweet potato cakes) that I made a second batch, which my French cousin and kids loved. So now recommend sweet potato in cakes! 🙂 Thanks for hosting Treat Petite! :).

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