Most of the time, I get an idea in my head and spend the next several days scrambling around trying to find all the ingredients needed to make the idea a reality. And by “reality,” I mean “cupcake.” This time, Teno and I were pillaging Trader Joe’s for all their Peppermint Joe Joes when I happened to notice they had cans of organic sweet potato puree for sale. I bought one, thinking I might want it one of these days, and basically forgot about it.

Then I remembered that I also had a vegan marshmallow kit gifted to me by City the NZ Cupcake Queen and I realized this was the universe’s way of telling me to make a vegan candied yam cupcake. (Sweet potato casserole, whatever.)

Like all of my previous attempts at vegan marshmallow-making, this was a colossal failure. (Alice, the lady behind Angel Food Confectionery thinks I might not have let enough water boil off.) I was too lazy to make a vegan marshmallow frosting, so I ran out and grabbed pre-fab vegan mallows and tried not to feel like a failure. Before I finished, I did a lot of bragging to my co-workers that I was going to make these cupcakes. Then I under baked them and set several of them on fire with the kitchen torch. So I will be sending them the link to this post in addition to my apology for another cupcake-less week in the office.

For the cupcakes you’ll need:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbs ground flax seeds + 6 Tbs warm water (or your favorite replacement for 2 eggs)
  • 1 cup canned sweet potato puree
  • splash of soy milk (if batter looks thick)

Plus:

Your favorite vegan marshmallow recipe, or a pack of your favorite vegan marshmallows.

And for the candied walnuts:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts
  • pinch of course salt

Then you:

Make candied walnuts. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lay walnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake 5 minutes, then remove from oven and cool. Pour the sugar into a medium saucepan with a thick bottom. With the walnuts nearby, cook the sugar on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon as soon as the sugar begins to melt. Keep stirring and cooking until the sugar is an amber color – then quickly add the walnuts, coating them with the sugar mixture. Spread the coated walnuts on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat or waxed paper. Use two forks to separate the walnuts, working quickly. Sprinkle with salt and cool completely.

Then, make the cupcakes. Preheat your oven to 350 (or leave it heated, if it’s still on from the walnuts) and line your pan with paper liners. Mix together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil and flax goo until well combined. Add sweet potato and soy milk beating well. Add flour mixture and beat until smooth.

Scoop batter into pan (you’ll probably get 15 or so cupcakes) and bake 22-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean. (Not usually the way I test for doneness but these are goopy.)

While the cupcakes are hot, top each one with a few marshmallows. (This will help the marshmallows stick to the top.) Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely.

Using a small kitchen torch, toast the marshmallows – sprinkle with walnuts, pressing them into the sticky marshmallow.

Like I said, I under baked my cupcakes by about 4 minutes, resulting in what we re-named a pudding cake. The bonus to baking vegan is that even when your cake is underdone you can still eat it without worrying about weird things growing in your intestines.

Pumpkin ice cream pie - in Time Out Chicago (soon!)

Pumpkin ice cream pie - in Time Out Chicago (soon!)

Be sure to check out my easily veganizable Stuffin’ Muffins over at BrutalAsHell.com and my soon-to-be-published vegetarian Thanksgiving menu in Time Out Chicago! (I’ll post the link as soon as it’s posted!)

PS If you’ve made vegan marshmallows successfully:

1) You are a liar.

2) Tell me how.