6 frosted sweet potato cupcakes on a two level wood and metal rustic cupcake stand with a napkin to the side.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

These quick-bread Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream are moist and packed with the fall flavors of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and Chinese 5 spice and are topped with a Swiss meringue buttercream studded with vanilla bean paste. They’re perfect individual-sized Thanksgiving desserts!

Course Desserts
Keyword cupcakes, desserts, holiday, Thanksgiving
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings 24 cupcakes
Author Megan Wells


Sweet Potato Cupcakes Ingredients

  • 3 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice blend
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup ground flaxseed
  • 2 and 1/2 cups roasted sugar*
  • 2/3 cups canola oil
  • 2/3 cups stout
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute* at room temperature
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 and 3/4 cups pureed roasted sweet potato*

Vanilla Buttercream Ingredients

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 and 1/2 cups roasted sugar*
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature and cut into tablespoon-sized slices
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste*
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract


Sweet Potato Cupcakes Instructions

  1. Place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a standard cupcake baking tin with cupcake liners.
  2. Combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and Chinese Five Spice Blend in a medium bowl and stir with a whisk.
  3. Combine water and flaxseed in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Combine roasted sugar, canola oil, stout, egg substitute, and eggs in a large bowl and beat with a mixer at medium-high speed until well blended.
  5. Add the flaxseed mixture and sweet potato and beat on low speed until just blended.
  6. Add the flour mixture and beat until combined.
  7. Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 of the way up. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the center of the cupcake bounces back when you lightly press your fingers to it or a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Take the cupcakes out of the baking pan and let them cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream Instructions

  1. In the bottom portion of a double boiler, add water. Make sure when you put your mixing bowl (your stand mixer bowl or whatever you’re using) on, the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat over high heat until the water comes to a boil and then lower the temperature until it is simmering.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar (off the heat). Set over the steaming water and stir and scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula until THE MIXTURE IS NO LONGER GRAINY and the temperature has reached 185 degrees Fahrenheit (about 10-12 minutes).
  3. Take off the heat and beat the eggs with the whisk attachment on until they are glossy stiff, and cool to the touch. Take off the whisk attachment and put on the paddle attachment or the regular beaters.
  4. Add butter 1 tablespoon at a time and beat at high speed until the buttercream is thick and creamy. Mix in the vanilla bean paste and almond extract and mix on low until combined.

Recipe Notes

Pureed Sweet Potato Instructions 

Roasted Sugar

Roasted sugar is from Stella Parks BraveTart cookbook and it can be used exactly the same as plain sugar.

Vanilla Flavoring

I used Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste, where 1 tablespoon vanilla paste = 1 tablespoon vanilla extract = 1 vanilla bean.

Use your preferred vanilla bean paste or simply substitute 1 tablespoon vanilla paste with 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean.