Sweet Potato Cupcakes spiced with tangerine, vanilla bean, cinnamon and fresh ginger. Filled with cinnamon cranberry jelly, topped with a light, airy brown sugar Italian Meringue, and sweet sparkling cranberries.
This year I have some extra time on my hands, so I volunteered to be a "Room Mom" in my oldest son's 3rd grade class. As a room mom I am responsible for helping organize the kid's parties and such at school. It has been a great opportunity for me to get to know Owen's friends and classmates, other parents, and the teachers he works with daily.
Last week, there was the annual "cranberry day", where the teachers, kids and their parents bring in cranberry treats, learn about harvesting and have fun. I was on the fence for the entire weekend weather or not I should go all out and bake something awesome or just resort to a kid friendly treat that has craisins hidden inside.
I opted to go all out.
Though something I learned while observing 25 kids.... they don't REALLY like the taste of cranberries. I saw so many cakes and cookies get tossed. However..... my extra sparkling berries seemed to be a hit.
These cupcakes are great for that transition from fall into the holiday season.
Sweet Potato Cranberry Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Italian Meringue
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbs cinnamon
- 1 Vanilla bean
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated ginger
- The zest of 2 tangerines
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup sweet potato puree
- 2 eggs, whisked
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup apple cider
For the Filling:
- 1 cup store bought cranberry sauce (the jelly kind)
- 1 vanilla bean, sliced length wise
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
For the frosting:
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 4 large egg whites, room temperature
For the sparkling cranberries:
- 1/2 cup cooled simple syrup *read foot note*
- 1 cup cranberries
- 1 cup granulated sugar
Start by preparing you sparkling cranberries a day in advance. Toss berries in simple syrup, and then roll in granulated sugar, place on a baking wrack to dry over night.
The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To prepare you cupcakes, in the bowl of your electric mixer combine butter, eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the sweet potato, apple cider, tangerine zest, ginger and vanilla bean. Mix just until it is incorporated.
In a separate bowl, sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt together.
Slowly mix in the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, just until everything is incorporated.
Pour cupcake batter into cupcake liners and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean. Allow to cool to room temperature.
To prepare your filling, mix cranberry jelly with vanilla bean and cinnamon. Set aside.
To prepare frosting, in a heat proof mixing bowl whisk the egg whites and brown sugar (copper is preferred, but not necessary) place over a double boiler, and whisk continuously until the brown sugar has dissolved into the egg whites, and the eggs are just tad warm. Careful, you do not want to COOK the eggs.
Using an electric mixer whip the egg whites until they have formed stiff peaks. This can take anywhere from 5-15 minutes depending on the mixer speed.
Cut a small hole in the center of each cupcake, removing a portion of it. (Discard the cake, or put aside for another treat... like a trifle of cake pops)
Place 1-1.5 tsps of the cranberry jelly in the center.
Pipe frosting on the tops of filled cupcakes and top with sparkling cranberries.
Then wow your friends and family with this festive holiday cake!
(To make simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water, bring to a boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, I pour it into a jar, and refrigerate for when I need it)