Friday, October 25, 2013


Last night was the monthly gathering of the Steel Magnolias group.  I volunteer to make the dessert each month for this group.  Dessert last night was sweet potato cupcakes with brown sugar cream cheese frosting and vanilla bean ice cream.  The group has dinner each month at the home of Jerri Stanfield who is the Executive Director of Alzheimer's Idaho a grass roots organization located in Boise.  All of the members of this group care for someone who is affected with Alzheimer's and this monthly outing gives them a chance to get out and have an evening with others going through the same circumstances and be able to relax and enjoy the company of good friends.  I am honored to make dessert for them.  This is definitely not an evening of low-cal desserts.

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/8 cups granulated sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla bean paste*


In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed to combine the milk and granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla  bean paste. Turn the machine on; pour the mixture into freezer bowl, and let mix until thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving

I use a Cuisinart ice cream machine

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 15oz can sweet potatoes (unsweetened), mashed (yams are OK)
1/2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350° - line two cupcake pans with 24 muffin papers. Set aside. In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt, set aside.  In your mixer or large mixing bowl beat butter until creamy, add sugar and beat on high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating on low after each addition until combined.  Add mashed sweet potatoes (or yams) and vanilla beating until combined.  Add the flour mixture; beat until combined (batter will be thick).  Divide evenly between the muffin cups and bake about 20 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched.  Cool in pan on wire rack for a minute then remove to a rack to cool completely before frosting.

Yield 24 cupcakes

Note: If not using greaseproof cupcake papers double your papers because you will get bleed through the papers and it will have a much nicer look if you double the papers.

One 8oz package cream cheese, at room temperature
3 sticks butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
6 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tsp vanilla bean paste

In a mixer add the cream cheese and butter and whip until fluffy, then add the brown sugar and the vanilla bean paste and continue whipping until well mixed then put your mixer on low and gradually add the powdered sugar a little bit at a time until it is all combined, turn up the mixer and let it whip the frosting for several minutes.

Note:  This is enough frosting to frost a two layer cake so if you are making this for 24 cupcakes you will have leftover frosting.  You can either put in the fridge if you plan on making something in the next day or two or you can freeze for a week or so.  This frosting is good on things like zucchini and carrot bread, any of the nut breads.


Spider cupcake stand at Ross
Cupcake papers and picks at Hobby Lobby
Wilton 2A round tip
Pastry bag Ateco Flex 12

*Vanilla paste available at some grocery stores, specialty food stores and online, a good alternative to using vanilla bean, not as expensive, much easier to use and gives a wonderful flavor and those nice little vanilla specks!

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