Candied Yams Cupcakes (incl. recipe)

22 Oct

Canned pumpkin is nigh-impossible to get in Scotland, and I really don’t want to attempt to roast and puree a whole pumpkin. As an alternative, I thought the very plentiful, easy to prepare, and autumnally-yummy sweet potato would be just as good. After all, when mashed, it’s about the same consistency and color as pumpkin, with a similar quality of taste.


  • 1 cup of mashed sweet potato (from 2-3 medium-sized)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup regular sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves


Peel the sweet potatoes, cut them into smallish pieces, and toss them in a pot of boiling, slightly salted water until they’re soft and easy to mash (about 20 minutes).

Drain the water out and mash. If you have a potato masher, that’s ideal, but a big fork will work just as well. (no food processors here, folks.)

Let it cool and measure out 1 cup of mash. Store the rest or mix it with a little butter and milk for a snack.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Hand-mix (don’t use an electric handheld or stand mixer for this one) the mash, oil, sugars, milk, and vanilla until well-combined.

Gently mix in the dry ingredients (use a fork or wooden spoon. I almost broke my whisk trying to use that). The batter will be pretty thick.

Spoon the batter into 12 muffin cups with paper liners (silicon cups would probably work just as well).

Bake for 22-24 minutes.

Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

I made the frosting by stirring together 2 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp Lyle’s Golden Syrup, 1 1/2 to 2 cups of powdered sugar, and a splash of milk. I was going to use maple syrup, because when my mom makes sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving, she uses maple. However, I didn’t have any on hand, and the Golden Syrup has this amazing, toffee kind of flavor. You can find it in the states at better-stocked grocery stores or places that carry imported groceries.

The frosting is pretty sweet, but is a nice balance to the not-too-sweet cake, and the toffee flavor goes really well with the sweet potato. I think a coffee icing would be really good on these too, but Fraser doesn’t like coffee, so I’ll save that idea for another time. I’m pretty happy with the way they turned out. They’re definitely a little more dense than the average cupcake, but still definitely cupcakes and not muffins.


Just to be fair, I used a recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World as the basis for this, but I think enough is different that I’m not plagiarizing their good work here. Their recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cupcakes gave me an idea of what proportions of what types of ingredients I would need. I won’t write out their original recipe (get the cookbook if you want that. It’s well worth it), but felt I needed to give credit where it was due.


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