Roasted Yam & Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Happy Friday everybody! And for all you Canadians out there – happy beginning to the Thanksgiving long weekend <3

I just love Thanksgiving don’t you? Not only because of what the holiday itself stands for, but also because I always feel like it marks the true start of the family holiday season. The time that we all really focus on spending time with family and enjoying the simple things in life that matter the most. Like going to the pumpkin patch on a Saturday to embrace the kid inside us all, while picking up a wagons worth of all different shapes and sizes of adorable pumpkins; or the beauty of cuddling up on the couch on a rainy afternoon to watch old movies; or just sharing in the beauty of the vibrant fall colours outside by going for long walks in the crisp fall air with someone that we love.

There are so many things to love about the fall season and I could go on and on about this for days – but the gist of my ramblings is that for me Thanksgiving has always been that marker to the true beginning of this wonderful season. My mom and I have always shared in the love for this season, so I think this why we often tend to get a little carried away when it comes to our family Thanksgiving dinners ever year. As in we act like we are cooking for a guest list of about 50 people when in reality it is usually only about 10 of us gathered around my parents dining room table.

We always end up seriously over cooking and end up having left overs that will last us a week. I mean It’s so hard not to when there are so many amazing harvest inspired dishes to gobble up – honestly can you blame us?  Besides, I’m not one to complain about Thanksgiving leftovers – no sirree…

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Growing up my mom had all kinds of delicious signature dishes that our family adored. Each of us kids had a favourite dish – Whether it was her cheesy Tortellini Alfredo for Jesse; Spaghetti and Meatballs for Cam; Burrito’s for Justin; or Steak with Garlic Mashed Potatoes for my Dad – we were always utterly spoiled with the fruits of her homemade dinners and Thanksgiving was no exception.

One of her signature Thanksgiving side dishes  – and my personal favourite – was her Roasted Pecan & Brown Sugar Yams. Have you eaten yams this way before? Basically she would roast up a load of yams, smash them aup bit, top them with a mixture of brown sugar, pecans, butter, a touch of spice and then place them back in the oven to finish roasting into the most delectable vegetable side dish imaginable. Whenever my mom was making this dish, I could be found hovering beside her, {probably irritating her to no end}, waiting for her to look away long enough for me to stick just one of my little fingers into the roasting dish fast enough to scoop up a fingerful of that velvety, brown sugary, yammy goodness before she caught me in the act.

Number of times I burnt my fingers / tongue on those delicious piping hot yams – too many to count. Was it worth it? Heck yes! Do I still linger over her in the kitchen while she is preparing this dish, fingers twitching, even though I am an adult….? Why yes – yes I do 😀 I guess there are some things that we just never grow out of.

For those of you who have never eaten yams this way, you need to seriously think about making them happen for your Thanksgiving dinner lineup this year.  It is such a decadent, rich, colourful dish that could not be more perfect for Autumn dinners – and oh so simple to make! I am not exaggerating when I tell you that yams done this way are the ultimate. It is without a doubt my favourite way to eat these sweet little gems. ​

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So my moms famous Roasted Pecan & Brown Sugar Yams were my definitely my inspiration for these cupcakes. For years every time I scooped a very large forkful of those incredible baked yams, I would think to myself  that I really needed to find a way to turn this dinner dish into a dessert – stat.  I mean really, if something tastes that good as a dinner dish, it’s just bound to be off the charts as a dessert.

Enter, these Roasted Yam Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting…. yup. So, I created these cupcakes with the expectation that they would turn out delicious, but oh. my. god. Were these ever delicioussssssss. I know I say that all the time, but seriously, these cupcakes….. I have only one word – killer. The yams keep the cupcakes so velvety and moist, while their natural sweet flavour pairs perfectly with the brown sugar and warm spices. And oh yes – that Maple Cream Cheese Frosting….  well I think this speaks for itself.

I made these cupcakes for Cole’s Aunts birthday a couple weeks back now, and they were a huge hit. Despite the strange looks I got from people when I told them they were made with yams – these cupcakes was devoured in no time. I know some of you out there might be thinking that it seems a little strange to be using yams in cupcakes, but don’t be fooled by the strangeness – just go with it and you can thank me later ;P

Here is the recipe lovelies – this one would be perfect if your looking to try something new for your Thanksgiving dinner dessert.

This will probably be my last post before the Thanksgiving long weekend so I hope you all enjoy, and I wish you all a wonderful, happy Thanksgiving that is filled with family time, cuddles on the couch, warm apple cider, crisp autumn air, falling leaves, fluffy blankets, plaid shirts, chunky sweaters, cozy socks, harvest decorating, long table dinners, turkey roasting, buttery potatoes, pumpkin pie baking {pumpkin pie eating}, hot chocolates, laughter, full bellies, pumpkin spice and everything else nice  <3<3<3

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Roasted Yam & Spice Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes: 24 cupcakes or 2 x 9” round cakes (1 x 2 layer round cake)

Things you need… 

Yam Cupcakes
1 cup brown butter
1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
16 oz roasted yam puree
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp  ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp  ground cloves
1/4 tsp  nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup pecans, chopped & toasted {optional}

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
1 pkg cream cheese
1/2  cup butter
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
5 cups icing sugar

How to make… 
To roast your yams, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Cut  a jumbo yam in half  (or a few smaller yams – enough to make 16oz of puree) and roast in the oven cut side down for 30-60 minutes or until they are fork tender. Allow them to cool slightly, then scoop the flesh from the skin and puree the jams until completely smooth (like pumpkin puree) Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees . Grease and flour 2 x 9inch round cake pans; set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt. Set aside until ready to use.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, and brown sugars until pale and fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl between each addition. Beat until pale and fluffy, and then add vanilla to combine.

Add in yam puree alternately with dry ingredients in 3 stages, beginning and ending with the addition of the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides of your bowl between each addition and Beat on low until smooth and no lumps remain. Gently fold in the toasted pecans {if using} and divide batter evenly into prepared cupcake pans, filling each cup about 2/3 full.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the tops spring back to the touch. Remove cupcacakes from oven and set to cool on wire racks until they are completely cooled.

While your cupcakes are cooling, prepare your frosting.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth and no lumps remain. Set your mixer to low and add in the icing sugar one cup at a time until incorporated. Add vanilla, brown sugar, orange zest and maple syrup and whip until pale and fluffy – about 5 minutes. If your icing is too fluid, add an additional 1/2 cup of icing sugar and beat until fluffy.

Set aside until ready to frost. Decorate all pretty-full however you like, and enjoy!

I hope you all enjoy this recipe and as always – I would love to hear how they turn out 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving lovelies <3<3

KP xoxo

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