Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Salted Maple Caramel are made easy with boxed spice cake mix. They're light and fluffy and topped with a dreamy salted maple caramel cream cheese frosting for a fun and delicious fall treat.
It seems as though pumpkin gets much of the attention during the fall season. But what about sweet potatoes? They're just as good and pair well with so many desserts, especially since they are interchangeable with pumpkin in almost any recipe.
So today, I'm sharing with you my sweet potato cupcakes paired with a salted maple caramel cream cheese frosting that's topped with an extra drizzle of caramel. Sounds divine, right? These cupcakes are light and fluffy, and the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
Why this recipe works
- Transforms boxed cake mix into delicious homemade cupcakes.
- Made with 100% maple syrup.
- Sweet potato can be interchanged with pumpkin.
- Cupcakes and frosting can be made in advance.
Before you begin
Take out the following baking equipment.
Digital kitchen scale
Small heavy-bottomed saucepan
2 small bowls
2 standard muffin pans
Stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment
Wire cooling rack
Allow all your ingredients to come to room temperature.
Read the recipe through from start to finish.
When reading the directions on a cake mix box, it calls for water as one ingredient. However, replacing the water with whole milk will make your cupcakes taste homemade with a richer and creamier flavor. For an even richer flavor, you could use buttermilk instead of whole milk.
Maple syrup adds a distinct and delicious flavor while contributing to the sweetness of this recipe. For the best flavor, always use 100% maple syrup. There are many grades of maple syrup on the market, characterized by their color and taste. Syrup made from sap collected early in the season has a lighter color, while syrup made later in the season is darker. I recommend using a darker syrup, which has a stronger flavor.
For the frosting, use half of a full-fat block of cream cheese. Do not use the tubs of cream cheese as these are processed to be spreadable (they are whipped and have more air in them) and will produce a runny frosting. Blocks of cream cheese will give you the most stable results. Bring your cream cheese to room temperature to achieve a creamy frosting that has a smooth consistency.
How to make sweet potato cupcakes with a box mix
Using a box cake mix is a simple base for cupcakes. With a few extra ingredients, it transforms into delicious homemade tasting cupcakes.
Add spices. In a mixer, beat together the spice cake mix, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
Add wet ingredients. Pour in the milk and add the eggs. Beat for 1 minute on medium speed and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Add sweet potatoes. Add the sweet potato puree to the batter and mix for an additional 1 minute on medium speed until combined.
Bake. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter and bake for 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool. Remove cupcakes from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
How to make salted maple caramel
Making maple caramel sauce is easy. First, bring the maple syrup to a boil over medium-high heat and boil until it reaches 225°F/107°C. Add in the heavy cream, butter, and salt, and whisk to combine. It's that simple.
As the caramel cools, it will thicken, and once you put it into the refrigerator, it will continue to thicken.
What does salted maple caramel pair well with?
Drizzle caramel over homemade vanilla ice cream or your favorite brownies. You can even pour it into a jar, add a festive bow, and give it as a hostess or holiday gift! So many options for this simple yet flavorful sauce!
How to make sweet potato puree
You can cook sweet potatoes by roasting, boiling, or steaming them. I usually roast my potatoes as it doesn’t require much prep, and it adds a deeper flavor.
To roast sweet potatoes: use a fork to prick the sweet potatoes all over and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Roast in a preheated 425°F/218°C oven until the skins become wrinkly, and the potatoes are fork-tender, about 1 hour. Allow the potatoes to cool, peel the skins, and puree in a food processor until smooth.
To boil the sweet potatoes: peel and dice sweet potatoes into 1/2-1-inch chunks. Add to a pot of water and bring to a boil. Simmer until fork-tender, about 15-20 minutes. Allow the potatoes to cool and puree in a food processor until smooth.
To steam the sweet potatoes: peel and cut sweet potatoes into 1/2-1-inch chunks. Place in a steamer basket and steam until tender, about 20–30 minutes. Allow the potatoes to cool and puree in a food processor until smooth.
How to decorate sweet potato cupcakes
Using a pastry bag with a pastry piping tip will give a beautiful finish to your cupcakes. Typically, I use an Ateco 827 open star piping tip. For finer piping lines, you can use an Ateco 867 French star tip.
Place your preferred piping tip into a pastry piping bag and cut off the bag's tip, just enough for the head of the piping tip to fit through. Fill your piping bag with the cream cheese frosting and twist and tie the top so that the frosting doesn't come out as your pipe your cupcakes.
Beginning on the edge of the cupcake, in one motion pipe two circles of frosting on top of each cupcake. As you get close to completing the second circle, ease up on squeezing the pastry bag and finally release it completely once you achieve the second circle while continuing rotating the bag to achieve a smooth finish without a pointy tip.
How to store sweet potato cupcakes
Cupcakes can be baked 1 day in advance, covered tightly, and stored at room temperature. The frosting can be made up to 1 week in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator. Bring the frosting to room temperature and re-whip with a mixer before piping on your cupcakes.
Once assembled, the cupcakes should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Tips and takeaways
- Sift the dry ingredients. If your cake mix has some large clumps, then sift the mixture before adding it to your mixing bowl so that your batter mixes smoothly and evenly.
- Use a cookie dough scoop. To minimize the mess of distributing the batter between each cupcake liner and to evenly divide the batter, use a cookie dough scoop or ice cream scoop.
- Use high-quality cupcake liners. I didn't realize there was a difference in cupcake liners until I started using better quality and grease-proof liners, . These liners prevent the cupcakes from sticking to the wrapper's sides and do not leave a film of grease.
- Substitute with pumpkin. If you want to skip making sweet potato puree, you can swap it out with an equal amount of canned pure pumpkin puree.
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Make sure to tag me @thesweetoccasion on Instagram and leave me a review below if you make these Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Salted Maple Caramel. I’d love to see your creations and read your feedback. And if you would like to make this recipe later, be sure to pin this recipe using the button on any of these images. Let’s make every occasion a sweet occasion!Print