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Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Maple Spice Buttercream

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Maple Spice Buttercream

Pumpkin. Butternut squash. Sweet potato. Sometimes they can really be used interchangeably. While I feel I could taste the difference between these sweet potato cupcakes and my last batch of pumpkin cupcakes, I’m sure if you went out and told someone they were eating pumpkin they’d be none the wiser.

The sweet potato in these cupcakes makes them extra moist and delicious, and while I used canned puree, you could just as easily boil and freshly puree your own. When I decided on a maple buttercream for frosting, I was thinking maple, as in, you know, maple-glazed donut maple. Not quite what I got (even with 1/4 cup of maple syrup the flavor was barely distinguishable), but they were still tasty nonetheless. Must do more research into whatever ‘flavoring’ is used in the donut glaze (because it sure as heck isn’t real maple), and get my hands on some for the next batch.

I don’t know what it is about all things orange (well, except for carrots), that make me think of fall, but these cupcakes are no exception. They are fall all the way. Which explains my choice of backdrop (I actually sent Taylor on a stroll around the neighborhood and bring me back some pretty leaves, what a nice guy). Not that these cupcakes couldn’t be enjoyed just as much in June, of course, but sweet potato, along with pumpkin, will always bring to mind fall and only fall.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Maple Spice Buttercream

Turns out I’m not the only one who enjoys the pretty fall foliage. Kitty got very excited by the pile of leaves Taylor brought home, and I had a hard time getting a photo that didn’t have a tail disrupting the scene. She likes to pretend she’s an outdoor kitty sometimes, and a pile of leaves is about as close as she’s going to get.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Maple Spice Buttercream

Makes 12 cupcakes.


1 cup sweet potato puree (fresh or canned)
1/4 cup soymilk
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
3-3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground allspice
1-2 tablespoons soy creamer or heavy cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together sweet potato puree, soymilk, oil, sugars, and vanilla. Sift in the flour, almond meal, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Add wet ingredients and mix until just combined.

Fill liners with 3 tablespoons batter (cups should be approximately 2/3 full). Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.

To make frosting, cream butter. Add 1/2 cup confectioners sugar and mix until smooth. Add maple syrup, creamer, and spices, and mix to incorporate. Continue adding sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well between additions. Beat until light and fluffy. Add more creamer or sugar as needed to achieve the right consistency. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Dust with cinnamon and enjoy!

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23 CommentsLeave a Comment →

  1. 1
    Posted On November 13, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    Your cupcakes look delicious! Your kitty is so cute :) Love it when they get involved!


  2. 2
    Posted On November 14, 2009 at 12:02 am

    Aw what a cute kitty. My two kitty cats also like to get in on the photography :D


  3. 3
    Posted On November 14, 2009 at 1:40 am

    Kitty would look good with any cupcake. What a beautiful coat she has!

    As always, you have wonderful and unique flavor combinations. I love your creativity. I also love sweet potato pie, so I’m definitely going to have to try this recipe.


  4. 4
    Posted On November 14, 2009 at 1:59 am

    Maple extract is the way to go, less liquid, more flavor in your frosting!
    Love the photography, and I am sure I would love the cupcakes too!


  5. 5
    Posted On November 14, 2009 at 7:28 am

    I was thinking maple extract too. And that Kitty is TOO cute! Haha… Great cupcake recipe! Perfect for Thanksgiving!


  6. 6
    Posted On November 14, 2009 at 10:15 am

    This was such a cute post (adorable kitty!) I need to get my hands on some sweet potatoes this weekend so that I can whip up a batch of these for my friend’s birthday. Thanks for the recipe!


  7. 7
    Posted On November 14, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Oooo I don’t usually eat sweet potatoes, but I got some in my weekly produce delivery so I’ve been trying to decide what to do with them. It hadn’t even occurred to me that I could make cupcakes!


  8. 8
    Posted On November 14, 2009 at 11:49 am

    This sounds delicious, I would’ve never thought to use sweet potato as a cake flavor, but it sounds like maple frosting would be an excellent pairing.


  9. 9
    Posted On November 14, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Beautiful photos, those cupcakes look great!


  10. 10
    Posted On November 16, 2009 at 10:32 am

    What kind of a mechanism do you use to make the icing so beautiful?


  11. 11
    Posted On November 17, 2009 at 3:51 am

    hi there! first of all, i love your blog’s name, (i mean, me being a spanish, olive oil is never far from me) and the contents of it, its a lovely site with excellent recipes and photos, i wil definetely be back for more, cheers from london,


  12. 12
    Posted On November 18, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    I can never get enough sweet potato. I was just talking a couple of days ago about how I wanted to try a sweet potato cupcake, and voila! Here’s a recipe! I might end up doing a maple cream cheese frosting, though.


  13. 13
    Posted On November 19, 2009 at 2:25 am

    Lovely cupcakes! I’ve used both pumpkin and sweet potato and you are so right, it”s hard to tell the difference really.


  14. 14
    Posted On November 19, 2009 at 9:15 am

    looks like confection perfection


  15. 15
    Posted On November 22, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    What a great looking cupcake and awesome picture (including the kitty ones!). Our Kitty also pretends he’s an outdoor kitty. I think he would try and eat the leaves though…


  16. 16
    Posted On December 11, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    I can’t stand sweet potatoes, but I want these. Can you have a craving for something you’ve never tasted before? I think I’m craving these. Mighta been the maple that snagged me.


  17. 17
    Posted On January 9, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    I’m definitely gonna try these !!!


  18. 18
    Posted On December 27, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Wow! These sound heavenly!


  19. 19
    Posted On May 28, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    I think these will be perfect for baby’s first birthday! No eggs… not a ton of sugar… no milk. sounds great!


  20. 20
    Posted On November 7, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    I wasn’t a fan of sweet potatoes until recently. Sweet potato cupcakes are what did me in! Your recipe was phenomenal – my husband and coworkers devoured them very quickly. I’ve linked back to you here:


  21. 21
    Chef Tabby
    Posted On October 11, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Hello! Came across these beautiful cupcakes while searching for fall/winter inspired desserts. I’ve looked at several of your recipes and I have noticed that you tend to use Soy as opposed to Milk. Any particular reason? And do you think I can easily swap it out for milk? I’ve never baked with Soy before and I would rather ask then end up with a disaster on my hands. 

    Thank you!


    • Posted On October 11, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      Yep, you should be fine with milk. I’ve never done it personally but any milk product should work.

  22. 22
    Posted On October 26, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    These are the best cupcakes I’ve ever made! Thank you so much for this recipe. I used almond milk instead of soy milk, and coconut oil. Would definitely recommend this recipe to anyone looking for an autumn dessert, though I’ll be making them year-round for sure. Seriously. Ridiculously delicious.


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