In Tempted in the Tropics, feisty bakery owner Paige bakes all sorts of delectable recipes—everything from cookies to cupcakes, pies to petit fours, and magical muffins that help keep the older folks in small town Maple Creek healthy. She’s a sassy character after my own heart because I rarely bake and, let’s just say, no bakery could stay in business selling what comes out of my oven!
Even though my husband is painfully aware of this, he brought home a sack of sweet potatoes last fall from his co-worker George who grows them on his farm. “It would be cool if you could bake something with these,” dear husband said, “and I’ll take it to work, you know, as a thank you.” Dear husband was right. It would be cool if I could bake something with them!
Determined, I scoured the web for recipes. Hmm. Muffins, cupcakes? What the heck do you do with sweet potatoes except make pies? I kinda wanted to prove I could think beyond the obvious, even if whatever I baked didn’t turn out to be…edible. (Pretty sure bet there!)
But then it happened—a moment of magic! I found a recipe on Southern Living that sounded delicious and seemed (dare I hope?) easy! Sweet potato-pecan cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Yum! But could I pull it off? I mean, any Southern Living recipe (despite its simplicity) would be way above my kitchen-skill level, right?
So I actually made a rehearsal batch, and served them for…Thanksgiving! LOL! My poor family got to be sweet-potato-cupcake-eating guinea pigs on Thanksgiving. And guess what? No one spit them out. They actually chewed…and swallowed…and smiled. They liked them! Hey, Mikey! I liked them, too. The cupcakes turned out to be a delicious dessert with the frosting, and a yummy breakfast muffin without it. Win, win! So I whipped up another batch and sent dear husband off to work, confident that there was one thing I could bake! Someone even asked for the recipe. Total awesomesauce!
Want to give this perfect-for-autumn recipe a try? (C’mon…if I can bake them, anyone can!)
Sweet Potato-Pecan Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing
· 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
· 2 cups sugar
· 1 cup butter, softened
· 4 large eggs
· 1 (16-oz.) can mashed sweet potatoes
· 2/3 cup orange juice
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 3 cups all-purpose flour
· 1 teaspoon baking powder
· 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
· 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
· 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
· 1/4 teaspoon salt
· Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe below)
· Garnish: coarsely chopped pecans
1. Place pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan.
2. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted, stirring once after 4 minutes.
3. Beat sugar and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.
4. Whisk together mashed sweet potatoes, orange juice, and vanilla extract. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with sweet potato mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Fold in toasted pecans. Place foil baking cups in muffin pans, and coat with vegetable cooking spray; spoon batter into cups, filling two-thirds full.
5. Bake at 350° for 28 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove immediately from pans, and cool 50 minutes to 1 hour or until completely cool. Spread cupcakes evenly with Cream Cheese Frosting. Garnish, if desired.
Southern Living, November 2007
Cream Cheese Frosting
· (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
· 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
· 1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar, sifted
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended; add vanilla, beating until blended.
Georgana McNeil, Houston, Texas, Southern Living, November 1996
The only thing they agree on is the sultry heat between themNothing’s more important to Paige Ellerbee than her struggling bakery, Sweet Bee’s. When Lane Anderson, the temporary new doctor hot enough to rival McDreamy, moves in next door, though, she’s sure things are looking up. Until he threatens her business in their first conversation.Lane just wants to practice medicine responsibly—not argue with the flighty bakery owner next door. But when he finds himself traveling down to the Caribbean to play guitar for Paige’s best friend’s wedding, suddenly the sight of the blonde in a bikini eclipses the fact they can’t agree on anything. And as their vacation romance grows, his reservations about starting something after getting burned by love are washed away like sand on the beach.But once Paige and Lane land back home, will these polar opposites be able to forgive their feud and find lasting love?
About the Author:
Award-winning author Tracy March writes romantic thrillers influenced by her career in the pharmaceutical field, and her interest in science and politics. She also writes lighthearted romances inspired by her real-life happily ever after.
Always up for travel and adventure, Tracy has flown in a stunt plane, snowmobiled on the Continental Divide, ziplined in the Swiss Alps, and been chased by a bull in the mountains of St. Lucia. She loves Nationals baseball, Saturday date nights, and Dairy Queen Blizzards—and rarely goes a day without Diet Coke and Cheez-Its.
Tracy lives in Yorktown, Virginia, with her superhero husband who works for NASA. They recently spent two years living in Washington D.C., and enjoy visiting often—especially when the Nats are in town.
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