Friday, April 6, 2012

Covert Cupcakes

Covert Cupcakes: sweet potato quinoa
 If you're hoping to temper the sugar-fest this weekend with something that looks deceptively sweet but actually has some nutritional value and no food colouring, I highly recommend the sweet potato quinoa cupcake. It's made with buckwheat flour, cooked quinoa and roasted sweet potato.

What? That sounds more like a dinner roll than a cupcake, you say? Well yes, it probably sounds like one...but it sure doesn't taste like one. And I top it with white chocolate buttercream...hey, I did say temper the sugar - not alleviate all together. Another slightly more healthy option is cream cheese icing. Or skip the topping all together and call them muffins. Whatever you choose, you may be surprised how much your kids like them and you can reward yourself with a fist-pump for sneaking in a little good-for-you under the the radar.

Covert Sweet Potato Cupcakes
Adapted from Annie's Eats

1 cup cake flour (not the self rising kind)
1 cup buckwheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
17 oz sweet potato puree
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup cooked quinoa

First things first:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Place uncooked sweet potatoes on a baking sheet (I like to place a little tin foil over the sheet first to protect the sheet from sweet potato leakage). Roast for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour...until soft in the middle. Let cool enough to peel off the skin, throw them in a blender, food processor or use a hand blender to puree.

Cook the quinoa according to directions on the package -- usually 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa. Set aside.

Now the cupcakes are ready to make:
  1. Turn oven down to 350 degrees F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. 
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scrape down bowl after each
  5. Mix in sweet potato puree and vanilla extract until just combined
  6. Turn speed to low and add dry ingredients in 3 additions
  7. Add cooked quinoa until just combined
Scoop into cupcake liners and bake for about 16 - 20 minutes...or until the tops are firm-ish.
Let cool.

White Chocolate Buttercream (adapted from Anna Olson's White Chocolate Wedding cake)

  • 2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 16 ounces Belgian white chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 2 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
In a stand-up mixer or in a large bowl with electric beaters, beat butter until fluffy. Beat in cooled melted chocolate on medium speed. Reduce speed and beat in icing sugar, vanilla and salt (icing will be a little soft). If needed, chill for about an hour to set before using.

Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

Voila! Serve...aaaand fist-pump.

Happy Easter!

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