26 Oct 2011

Taro Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting



2 and 3/4 cups flour

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup taro root powder

1 tablespoon baking powder

12 tablespoons softened butter

4 egg whites

1 whole egg 

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


10 tablespoons softened butter 

16 oz cream cheese

3 cups powdered sugar 

4 teaspoons vanilla extract


Being a quarter Asian, I have an affinity for certain Asian foods. In particular, I enjoy bubble tea. You know what I’m talking about, right? In the malls? Well, if you’re still scratching your head, it’s a chilled milk tea with giant black tapioca pearls in the bottom that you suck up through the oversized straw with the tea. You get to chew your drink! No? Not your thing? Doesn’t matter. The point of my story and the recipe is that these same bubble tea places also offer taro-flavored smoothies.

Taro is a root vegetable similar to a sweet potato that tastes astonishingly similar to Fruity Pebbles. It was this fact alone that sold my WASP-y boyfriend when I told him he should try it. Since that fateful day, he’s been obsessed with taro smoothies. So much so, that whenever we go on a date night to the movies, I have to make sure my purse is large enough to smuggle in an upright, open topped smoothie cup.

On one date night, we rushed inside the mall to grab a taro smoothie before they closed and then had to rush back outside to the movie theatre. As John speed-walked, smoothie in hand, some guy passing us said, “Look at this smoothie guy.”

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take 2 and 3/4 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 2/3 cup taro root powder (which I bought from Amazon – you can find anything on Amazon…) and 1 tablespoon baking powder and combine in a large bowl. Next, add 12 tablespoons softened butter and mix until the batter is crumbly. I used my hands – it seemed to make the most sense. After washing your hands, add 4 egg whites, one at a time, thoroughly mixing after each one. Then add 1 whole egg and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. In a separate small bowl, take 1 cup milk (I used 1% because it was all I had, but I can use any milk with much difference to the cake.) and add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add this mixture to the batter and mix until smooth. Scoop into 2 muffin pans with liners. Makes 24 cupcakes. Bake for 15 minutes.

While the cakes are baking, take 10 tablespoons softened butter and 16 oz cream cheese and beat together with a hand mixer until combined. Add 3 cups powdered sugar and 4 teaspoons vanilla extract. Refrigerate until the cakes are cool enough to frost.