Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes with Sweet Potato Chocolate Frosting

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Total Time: 1 hr 10 mins / Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes

It’s a chilly Halloween night.

I’m not a fan of Halloween. I didn’t grow up celebrating it. I don’t like to be scared, tricked or fooled. For me, the only good things that come from it are It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein, and chocolate. Lots and lots of it. Times like these have me craving a bite into a rich brownie or washing down a piece of chocolate cake with cold milk. With all this chocolate overload, I know what you’re thinking. Why can’t chocolate cupcakes be healthy? Is this really too much to ask for? Well, I won’t go as far as to say that these are healthy, but I can guarantee you they are healthy-er. This incredible 2-ingredient frosting recipe comes from the genius folks at Food52, shared earlier this week. Two ingredients… sugar? Butter? Magic? No. Nothing but sweet potato puree and semi-sweet chocolate! This is huge, people. We’re talking about vegetables AND chocolate!!! My favorite thing about this frosting is that the consistency is the same as your regular frosting. Smooth, velvety and rich in texture and flavor. It’s not too sweet, of course, which is my preference when it comes to desserts like these. I give you full permission to lick the bowl and the spoon after whipping this frosting up. Do it like no one is watching. And even if they are, who cares! You’re eating vegetables!

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips (I prefer Ghirardelli)
  • 1/4 cup espresso coffee
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1-3/4 cups flour (I prefer King Arthur Flour)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup sour cream

Sweet Potato Chocolate Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1-15oz can sweet potato puree
  • 10 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 24-cupcake pan with parchment liners.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, cocoa powder, chocolate and espresso coffee (I brew a Godiva Espresso pod in my Tassimo brewer). Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Let cool while you prepare the rest of the batter.
  3. In a stand mixer, beat the sugar and eggs on mediums speed until light and fluffy. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Gradually stir dry mixture into the sugar/egg mixture until just combined. Stir in the chocolate espresso mixture until smooth. Stir in the sour cream.
  4. Spoon the batter into muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. To prepare the frosting, add the sweet potato puree to a saucepan and simmer on medium-low until very warm. Turn the heat to low and add the chocolate. Stir until smooth and all chocolate is melted. Let cool and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes before frosting.
  6. Frost your cupcakes with pretty swirls and store in a closed container for up to 3 days.

Cupcakes recipe adapted from Food Network. Frosting recipe courtesy of Food52.

Buttermilk Vanilla Birthday Cake

2Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Vanilla + Buttercream: a true BIRTHDAY combo! Classic and simple. I know a cute little boy who turned 2 years old today. I decided he needed a big, pretty white cake to blow out candles beneath. Or just dig his little face into. Probably both! When I presented him with this sugary, buttery confection, his eyes widened and he screamed “CAKEY! CAKEEEEY!” over and over again. What enthusiasm!! But really. Why wait for a birthday to bake a cake? Try celebrating your anniversary…a new job…cardboard collection day…a Tuesday? Any reason will do. Satisfy your sweet tooth with this delight!


Cake Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large cage-free eggs
  • 2 cups unbleached cake flour (I used all-purpose)
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp buttermilk*
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. To make cake, start by creaming the butter and sugar in a stand mixer or hand mixer. Add eggs. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add this dry ingredient mixture to the wet while alternately adding buttermilk. Mix in vanilla.
  2. Divide batter into 2 (8″) round cake pans. Grease pans generously with butter. You can also try filling 3 (6″) round pans for a cute small cake.
  3. Bake 20-25 minutes or until edges are a light golden brown. I have a gas oven, and 21 minutes was perfect. Allow cakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing. Transfer cakes to cooling racks. Allow to cool completely before frosting. This is super important!! Nothing is worse than a cake that is frosted when warm. It’s impossible. Letting it cool overnight is best– avoid all temptation!
  4. To make the buttercream frosting: in a stand mixer or in a bowl with hand mixer, whisk the butter for 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Scrape the sides in between each addition. Mix for 20 seconds or so between each sugar addition. Add vanilla extract and buttermilk. Mix on medium high speed for 4-5 minutes. Frosting should look light and creamy. Chill for 30 minutes before frosting your cake.
  5. For best frosting results, use an offset spatula. It has a large surface area, making it easier to spread evenly. Then first frost with a “crumb coat,” which is thin layer of frosting. This ensures that the end result is clean. Chill cake in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before adding the second layer. Then be generous with the rest of the frosting and get creative!

*If your frosting seems too thick or hard to work with, add 1-2 teaspoons more.

1Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco