Rich and moist Sweet Potato Pecan Cupcakes are topped with a sweet caramel frosting. These festive cupcakes have all your favorite Fall flavors and would be a delicious non-pie addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table.
Sweet Potato Pecan Cupcakes
If there was ever a dessert that could rival pie on the holiday table, it would be these Sweet Potato Pecan Cupcakes. They encompass all the best Fall flavors, leaving you with a festive autumn in every bite.
These sweet potato pecan cupcakes are super moist, made with sweet potato puree, with bits of chopped pecans. Then they're spiced with cinnamon and ginger and topped with a homemade caramel frosting. Every bite warms you to the core and reminds you of Fall!
Can I Use Canned Sweet Potato?
Yes, as long as it's 2 cups!
How to Cook a Sweet Potato for Sweet Potato Pecan Cupcakes
If you'd rather cook fresh sweet potato for this recipe, which is what I usually do, I'd recommend one of 2 methods.
- Microwave - Most microwaves have a "potato" setting these days. Poke holes in about 2 large sweet potatoes with a fork, and microwave either on "potato" or for a few minutes at a time, until potatoes are tender.
- Oven - Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place a piece of foil on a baking sheet. Use a fork to poke holes in the sweet potatoes, set them on the prepared baking sheet, and roast for about 40 to 50 minutes, or until puffed up and soft inside when pierced with a fork.
You could also boil the potatoes, but boiling sweet potatoes actually reduces their sweetness, which is not a quality we're necessarily looking for in cupcakes.
After either cooking method, wait until the potatoes are cool enough to handle. Then peel, puree using a food processor, blender, or stick blender, and measure 2 cups for the recipe.
What Frosting Should I Use on My Cupcakes?
In the pictures, I'm using my caramel frosting recipe, which is in the recipe card below, on the sweet potato pecan cupcakes. I think the caramel adds to the Fall-feel with the sweet potatoes and pecans. Here are some other frosting ideas for you!
- Caramel Frosting - this recipe is down below in the recipe card. You can check out the full recipe for more tips and information.
- American Vanilla Buttercream - this is a classic made from butter, powdered sugar, and cream.
- Cream Cheese Frosting - my tried-and-true cream cheese frosting that holds it shape when piped!
- Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting - this one cannot be toasted with a torch. The butter will melt! It's a cross between marshmallow fluff and buttercream in both flavor and consistency.
- Marshmallow Fluff - this recipe you CAN toast with a torch. It will turn golden like a marshmallow
How to Decorate Sweet Potato Pecan Cupcakes
If you want to decorate your cupcakes to be a little more eye-appealing, use these tips.
- Pipe your frosting on using a piping bag and large tip (I used a 1M tip in these pictures)
- Caramel Drizzle - A gentle caramel drizzle can go a long way.
- Chopped pecans - Use chopped pecans instead of sprinkles to keep the Fall flavors and look going.
- Toast the frosting - If you opted for the marshmallow fluff frosting (not the buttercream!) then you can quickly toast the outside until golden.
More Fall Cake Recipes You'll Love
- Kentucky Butter Cake - a classic pound cake smothered in a sweet, rich butter sauce.
- German Chocolate Cake - sweet chocolate cake with lots of classic, gooey coconut pecan frosting.
- Butterfinger Cake - chocolate poke cake with caramel, and whipped cream frosting topped with crushed Butterfinger pieces.
- Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes - yellow cupcakes filled with pastry cream and topped with rich chocolate ganache.
- Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes - classic, rich, moist spiced pumpkin cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting.
Sweet Potato Pecan Cupcakes Video
Sweet Potato Pecan Cupcakes
- 1 cup butter room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 cups pureed sweet potatoes
- ⅓ cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ½ teaspoon maple flavor Optional
- 1 ½ cups chopped pecans
For the Caramel Frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups powdered sugar (or more for desired thickness)
- Chopped pecans and jarred caramel sauce for decorating
For the Sweet Potato Cupcakes
- In a large mixing bowl, place butter and sugar. Cream together until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, to the butter mixture, beating between each addition.
- In a separate mixing bowl, add flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Whisk together to combine.
- Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and stir until just combined.
- Add the remaining half of the flour mixture and stir again until just combined.
- Next, add sweet potatoes, buttermilk, vanilla, and maple to the mixture, and beat until just combined.
- Fold in pecans.
- Spoon batter evenly into lightly greased and lined cupcake pans.
- Bake at 350°F for about 15-20 minutes.
- Set aside to cool completely.
For the Caramel Frosting
- When cupcakes are cooled completely, prepare the frosting. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat.
- Add brown sugar and bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
- Stir in cream. Return to a boil. Then remove from heat.
- Whisk in vanilla.
- Pour caramel mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl and use an electric hand mixer).
- Gradually beat in powdered sugar at medium speed, using the whisk attachment.
- Beat 7 to 10 minutes, until thickened and smooth.
- Pipe or spread frosting onto cupcakes immediately. This frosting will crust if it sits out.
- Top with caramel sauce and crushed pecans.
- If you don't have any buttermilk on hand to make this recipe, you can use this super simple Buttermilk substitute with just 2 ingredients. It always works in a pinch!
- For more tips for the caramel frosting, visit the full recipe here.
- Make Ahead Directions: Cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature.
- Storage: Leftover cupcakes keep well covered tightly in the refrigerator for 3 days.
- Freezer Directions: Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
UPDATE INFO: This recipe was originally published in November 2016. It was republished with new pictures, tips, and video in November 2022.
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Arlene Mobley says
I love sweet potato pie and I bet it tastes awesome in a cupcake.
I can now find sweet potatoes in Italy, looking forward to trying these yummy cupcakes.
Sarah Jane @ The Fit Cookie says
Yum, this cupcake flavor sounds amazing! I think I could just eat that frosting with a spoon too 😉
I love sweet potato pecan casserole at Thanksgiving, so I would love these!
I bet these taste awesome. I love sweet potato anything. Loved doing this collaboration with you Michelle. Can't wait for the next.
The most amazingly moist and delicious cupcakes! The only change I made was I frosted with a Praline Cream Cheese Frosting. But I could honestly eat them with no Frosting. Thanks so much for sharing!!
You had me at cupcake! This is an easy and delicious recipe. Thanks so much!
I can't believe how delicious these are! I made some for the kids for after school snacks. It's great knowing that they are still on the healthier side, even though they are cupcakes!
These came out great! So moist and delicious, and that frosting is to die for!
These are such a decadent autumn treat! Perfectly spiced and I love the caramel frosting, too!