MSC: Candied Sweet Potato Cupcakes

November 15, 2009


Our November’s recipe for the Martha Stewart Cupcake Club (a.k.a MSC) is Sweet Potato Cupcakes,  selected by Karen from Karen’s Cookies, Cakes, & More. You can find the recipe on her Cupcake book, page 243.

While some people may not really be too excited with this recipe,  I was absolutely on board with the idea of using sweet potato in cupcakes. Sweet potato is soo… delicious, roasted on its own. I think it shouldn’t even be considered vegetable. And I was right… I  loved them! They were absolutely fabulous: fluffy, crumbly, and has that nice hint of that sweet potato flavor that I love. The candied pecan and marshmallow topping was even better, it’s a really nice change from the regular frosting… but still look so elegant, and delicious. I love the crunchy pecan on top of the marshmallow, although I have to admit that I had a little issue with making the caramel syrup for the pecans.  Thanks Karen for a great selection, I’d be making these again in the future!  Don’t forget to check out how everyone else in our group is doing; there are some absolutely creative creations out there!

MSC: Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

October 15, 2009

As of this week, I’m officially a member of the Martha Stewart Cupcake Club (a.k.a MSC).  For my non-blogger friends, this  is an online cupcake blogging community where the members bake a recipe from Martha Stewart Cupcakes Book on a monthly rotating basis as we’re trying to bake all of the 175 recipes on her book. We will post one recipe on the 15th of every month selected by a member.


The October recipe was pumpkin patch cupcakes, selected by Kim from What the Whisk. You can find the recipe on page 236.  I love the idea of baking something with pumpkin this month, because after stocking up on canned pumpkin in the fear of not having any for Thanksgiving, I have about six cans sitting in my pantry. I also did not tweak the recipe, and I’m glad that I left it alone. I really enjoyed the flavor & the moistness of the cupcakes–and I actually think that they will taste great without the frosting. Gasp! Did I just say that? Yes, I did. I don’t particularly have sweet tooth, so I appreciate that the batter wasn’t extremely sweet.


I still made the frosting, because Red loves frosting–and we both enjoyed this cream cheese frosting. Although… I had a hard time trying to pipe it into rose and I was really bummed out! But they still made pretty nice looking cupcakes!

I also did not attempt making the gum paste pumpkins because I was running out of time. Maybe I will try it next time though. Great pick!

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

October 3, 2009

I know, I know. I just posted this carrot cupcakes recipe literally two weeks ago, and here I am with another variation of carrot cake recipe. But, I do have a very special reason for it. One of the part-time students who works in my office was turning 21! Not only that she’s just a very sweet girl, she is also one of Charlotte’s fave people because she comes over and stays with Charlotte when Red and I are out of town. When I told her that I wanted to bake her a cake, she said that she really didn’t want to trouble me –but I insisted that I wanted to make her a cake. When I asked her what type of cake, she wanted a carrot cake! Sure enough, that’s what I did.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try this cake or take a picture of this cake after it was sliced because I was on my way out of the door. But Red did receive a generous slice from the birthday girl, and he liked the cake. He thought that the cake texture was more crumbly than the cupcakes, but he enjoyed his slice. The only issue that I had with this frosting was that I was hoping that this version of the frosting would be firm enough to be piped, but it wasn’t. Therefore I left the top of the cake plain and coated the side with toasted chopped pecans.


Adapted from Martha Stewart

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
1 pound carrots (8 to 10 medium carrots), peeled and shredded on a box grater or in a food processor (about 2 3/4 cups)
2 cups pecans (1 cup finely chopped for batter, 1 cup coarsely chopped for decorating sides of cake)

Bake the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter (2) 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper, and butter parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg.

Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat 3 minutes. Add vanilla, water, and carrots. Beat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture, then finely chopped pecans.

Scrape batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around edges of cakes to loosen, and turn out cakes onto rack. Turn right side up, and let cool completely.

Using a serrated knife, trim rounded top of 2 cakes. Place one trimmed cake, cut side up, on a serving platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over cake. Top with second trimmed cake, cut side down. Spread 1 cup frosting over cake. Top with remaining cake. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides. Gently press coarsely chopped pecans onto sides of cake. Refrigerate 1 hour (or up to 1 day, covered) before serving.

Cream Cheese Frosting (from Wilton)
24 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until creamy. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, and beat until fluffy and smooth.

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream-Cheese Frosting

September 19, 2009


I came home from a work trip a couple of weeks ago to find a 5-lb bag of baby carrots in my refrigerator.  It looked like Red had gone out to Sam’s Club and decided that he wanted to have some baby carrots for snack and pick up this large bag of carrots. I don’t normally like munching on carrots (I know, I know… I should find a way to at least enjoy them since they’re healthy), so I knew that I had to find a way to use up.

Since Red’s birthday is this month, it was his turn to bring in treats during his office’s birthday treat day.  I thought it would be appropriate for me to make these carrot cupcakes to take advantage of the ingredient that I already had in hand. I have only made carrot cake once before, back in college. And I can’t even remember which recipe I use, so I decided to use this Martha Stewart’s recipe which I found on her Martha Stewart Cupcakes book.

I didn’t make any modifications to this recipe, the only thing that I didn’t have was cloves, but I left everything else alone. I thought this recipe was a good classic carrot cake recipe. Since it’s not very sweet, the un-frosted version of this cupcakes would be good as breakfast, and the sweet cream cheese frosting would make a sophisticated dessert. In the future, I may add walnut or pecan as variation.

I have been having fun with my new cake decorating kit which I purchased recently for my Wilton class, so I decided to use one of the larger tips to pipe the frosting on the cupcakes. The frosting was a little bit too soft for more elaborate decoration, so I just piped it with the star tip. Not only that they brought this ordinary dessert to another level, it was a lot less messy too in my opinion! I also tried to tint the frosting with “orange” color, but it came out yellow… uh-oh! They were still delicious and happily consumed by the co-workers at work!

Adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes


1 pound carrots, finely grated
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
1/2 cup golden raisins
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Make cupcakes: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line mini muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together carrots, eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla-bean seeds, and raisins. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Stir flour mixture into carrot mixture until well combined.

Divide batter among liners, filling 3/4 full. Bake until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 23 to 28 minutes, rotating tins halfway through. Transfer tins to racks to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from tins; let cool completely.

Make frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter with 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar. Continue to beat while adding remaining sugar 1/4 cup at a time. Add vanilla, and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Yield~ 2 dozen standard size cupcakes.