These easy spiced sweet potato muffins are perfect as a luscious breakfast or brunch, or as a treat at any time of the day! Light and full of flavour, they are also vegan and easy to make allergen free.
Spiced Sweet Potato Muffins
These spiced sweet potato muffins are a dream bake. They’re fuss free, easy to make, and so full of good things that you can justify a treat at any time of day. The recipe is a variation on my fail safe basic muffin formula, which uses equal weights of wet and dry ingredients.
As always with muffins, remember that the batter should be lumpy. Never worry about the lumps, as these will resolve during cooking. If you over mix you batter, the muffins will become tough, and develop ‘tunnels’. Fold the ingredients together gently, with no more than 15 folds.
This recipe makes 6 regular sized muffins, or 12 fairy cakes. Reduce the cooking time if making smaller muffins.
It may sound a little strange, but there are two reasons for the vinegar in this recipe.
First, adding vinegar to the plant milk causes it to turn to buttermilk. This helps the muffins rise and adds flavour. It also lightens the bake and results in a fine crumb.
Secondly, the bicarbonate of soda reacts with the vinegar and helps to give the muffins some extra lift. The reaction between the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda starts as soon as the wet and dry ingredients meet. (This is why you need to bake as soon as you have mixed the batter.) The vinegar and bicarb react to product bubbles of carbon dioxide, giving the batter its mousse like texture. Again, this produces a light and fluffy muffin.
Variations & Substitutions
When adjusting a recipe, it is best to switch one thing at a time. Here are a few ideas for variations:
Flour – I used all-purpose plain flour but you can use different flour or a mix. If you use self-raising flour, leave the baking powder out. You can also use gluten free flour if needed. Substituting some, or all with spelt flour will result in a slightly nutty muffin with a more cake-like texture.
Sugar – A less refined brown sugar tastes best in this recipe, and the flavours pair well with the spices. I generally use a mixture of super fine (caster) white and a dark brown muscovado. To get rid of lumps and clumps in unrefined brown sugars, rub them between your fingers. A few small lumps will give you delicious little caramelised pockets of sugar in the muffins so don’t worry about getting rid of every lump. You do, however, need to break up those big lumps before you add the liquid.
Milk – I use homemade unsweetened soy milk. (To make your own, see here.) Any milk (plant or dairy) will work, so use what you have in the fridge.
Oil – Again this is very adaptable – any will work. I tend to use sunflower but any lightly flavoured oil can be substituted. Rapeseed (canola), light olive or corn oil will produce much the same result. Coconut oil will work but completely change the flavour.
Spices – this recipe uses a traditional mix of ground allspice and cinnamon, but other combinations are well worth trying. How about including nutmeg, ginger or a hint of ground cloves?
Toppings – I’ve topped these muffins with a few rolled oats, but I could have used some nuts: maybe lightly crushed walnuts or a sprinkle of sliced almonds. Or a little granola for the crunch.
How to Make Vegan Sweet Potato Muffins
First things first – switch the oven on to warm up to GM 5/190°C/375°F!
Step 1 – Cook a medium-sized sweet potato until soft. Then peel and mash. I find the easiest way to do this is to pop the potato in the microwave for 5–6 minutes. When it is done, I mash it with a fork on a chopping board.
Don’t throw any spare sweet potato away. You can throw the skin into soup, or we feed ours to Herbert the miniature wire haired dachshund!
Step 2 – Pour the milk into a bowl and add the vinegar. Stir and then wait for it to curdle. Measure out all the dry ingredients (except for the oats) into a large mixing bowl, and the oil into a separate bowl.
Step 3 – Add the mashed sweet potato to the dry ingredients and mix everything together, using a fork to get rid of any lumps.
Step 4 – Add the curdled soy milk and oil. Gently fold to combine the ingredients. This should take no more than 15 folds – remember, you are not trying to get rid of the lumps. Your batter will have a spongy texture.
Step 5 – Line a muffin pan with cases and divide the mixture equally between them. Sprinkle over some rolled oats before baking for 25 minutes. (If you are using fairy cake cases, you will need to reduce the cooking time, so check after 15 minutes.)
Vegan Spiced Sweet Potato Muffins
- 150 g sweet potato (cooked and mashed)
- 180 g plain flour
- 60 g sugar (half caster, half muscovado)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch salt
- 1 handful rolled oats (for the topping)
- 180 ml soy milk
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- 60 ml vegetable oil
- Preheat the oven to GM5/190°C/375°F.
- Measure the milk into a bowl and stir in the vinegar. The milk will curdle and thicken.
- Cook your sweet potato. I usually pop it in the microwave for 5–6 minutes until soft. Discard the peel. Then mash the flesh using a fork on a chopping board.
- Weigh all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the sweet potato and mix well.
- Pour the milk mixture and oil into the dry ingredients and briefly mix until combined. You should have a lumpy, uneven batter. Do not fold the mixture more than 15 times.
- Pour into a prepared muffin pan and bake for 25 minutes until risen and golden. If you are making fairy cake sized muffins, check after 15 minutes as you will need to reduce the baking time.
Hints & Tips
- This recipe makes 6 regular sized muffins or 12 fairy cake sized muffins. Reduce the cooking time if making smaller muffins. The nutritional information provided is for a regular muffin (one sixth of the batter).
- The batter should be lumpy and will sort itself out as it cooks. If you over mix, the muffins will be tough and have tunnels running through them.
- Bake as soon as you mix the batter, as the reaction between the vinegar and bicarb creates bubbles to give a lighter muffin.
- This recipe is 11 Weight Watchers Smart Points per portion.
VariationsWhen adjusting a recipe, it is best to switch one thing at a time. This muffin recipe is fairly forgiving but it's still best to stick to this rule. Here are a few ideas:
- Flour – If you use self-raising flour, leave the baking powder out. Gluten-free flour is fine. Spelt flour will give a slightly nutty muffin with a cake-like texture.
- Sugar – A less refined brown sugar will taste better and pair well with the spices. I use a mixture of super fine (caster) white and a dark brown muscovado. Rub lumps of unrefined sugar between your fingers to break them down before adding liquid.
- Milk – Any milk (plant or dairy) will work in these muffins.
- Oil – Any fairly neutral flavoured cooking oil will work. Coconut oil will work but will change the flavour.
- Spices – This recipe uses a traditional mix of ground allspice and cinnamon, but other combinations are well worth trying. How about including nutmeg, ginger or even a hint of ground cloves?
- Toppings – I've topped these muffins with a few rolled oats, but I could have used lightly-crushed walnuts or a sprinkle of sliced almonds. Alternatively, use a little granola for the crunch.
Recipe for vegan spiced sweet potato muffins first published November 2009. Updated with recipe tweaks and new images 2020.