Sweet Pea and Ricotta Cupcakes – Give Peas a Chance
Sure, we call them sweet peas, but most people don’t think of peas as a sweet. Prior to making my sweet pea and ricotta cupcakes, I’d never had peas in a dessert.
Although these pea cupcakes feel like they belong at the farmers’ market in a stand next to the lady in faded jeans selling Bibb lettuce, these pea cupcakes are definitely a dessert.
They are light and sweet (not treading into muffin territory) and I top them with a sweet pea cream cheese frosting and candied peas.
My tasters adored these most unexpected cupcakes and were surprised by how much they ended up liking the pea flavor in a dessert.
Sweet Pea Cupcake Recipe
To make these cupcakes pea-flavored, I used these freeze dried peas. (View on Amazon) [paid link]
Note: Recipe updated 6/13/17 – adapted from the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcakes.
Sweet Pea and Ricotta Cupcakes
- 1 cup cake flour not self-rising
- 3/4 cup finely ground freeze dried peas a food processor works best for this
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup finely ground freeze dried peas
- candied peas to taste - optional
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake flour, ground peas, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the sugar and mix until well combined.
- Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes. Because there is so little butter, you'll end up with a very fine crumb texture.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, ricotta cheese, and oil until smooth.
- Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
- Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined. The batter will be liquid. (Don't worry, you didn't do anything wrong. It's supposed to be that way.)
- Fill cupcake liners just over 1/2 full.
- Bake for 16 minutes and then test to see if they are done. They are done when a toothpick comes out without wet batter stuck to it.
- When the cupcakes are done, remove them immediately from the tins and leave them on a cooling rack (or just on your counter if you don't own a cooling rack) to cool.
- Beat cream cheese and butter on high speed until light and fluffy.
- Mix in powdered sugar a little bit at a time.
- Mix in ground peas.
- Pipe or spread on cooled cupcakes.
- Optionally, top with candied peas.
Honey Panna Cotta Frosting
The first time that I made these sweet pea cupcakes (before updating this post) I frosted them with honey panna cotta. The texture is jello-like and, if you wanted to, you could actually peel it off. While I liked the frosting and it was a fun experiment, it wasn’t the biggest hit with my tasters (hence the update!).
If you’d would like to try the panna cotta frosting, make a small batch of my honey panna cotta (divide the honey panna cotta recipe by four). Allow the panna cotta to cool just a little bit in the pot and then dunk the cupcakes into it.
Let the panna cotta harden on the cupcakes and then dunk again. Repeat until the “frosting” is a thickness that you are happy with.
This cupcake was inspired by a dish called “Jar of Peas” created by Cary McDowell for Slow Food’s Feast in the Field. Although it doesn’t look like much, the Jar of Peas was my favorite course of the seven course meal at the Feast. If given the opportunity, I could eat a jar a day. Thanks, Cary, for the cupcake inspiration!
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These are delightful. The pea flavor is noticable, but not too strong. They all disappeared into my very happy dinner companions, many of whom were pleased to down more than one. The candied peas never got crispy, but it’s summer in the swamp they call Washington DC, so the 400% humidity may be to blame! A 3.5 oz bag contained exactly enough peas for the 16 cupcakes and half a cup of candied peas.
Yay! So glad you enjoyed them! Thanks for letting me know!
love the recipe and i’ve featured it on my blogpost on vegetables in desserts!
These look great. If I wanted to add some shredded carrots to the cupcake, say a cup, by how much should I increase the flour to adjust for the moisture?
Hi. I just made these, and they were tasty, but I’d recommend adding more peas and a touch more basil (make it a tablespoon, not a teaspoon).
Also – somewhat annoyingly – this recipe makes far more than 12 cupcakes. In the end I had 16 and could have had 20. The only reason I didn’t was that once the batter was “evenly divided” amongst the 12 cupcake holders, there was still a substantial amount left over. And the cupcakes that went in – filled to nigh on the brim of the cup, because the recipe said “divide the batter evenly” amongst the 12 cups – then went on to grow way out of the cupcake holders, resulting in the ugly muffin-looking cupcakes.
You might want to re-assess the quantities of the recipe.
But – all told, they are lovely and suited a sunny day very well. I wouldn’t have thought to use peas in a cupcake before reading this! They’ll definitely become a staple… just in a reduced quantity.
We’ve had some interesting cupcake concoctions passed down via family recipes, but none that involved peas. This is surely unique, and for that reason alone we’re going to have to give it a try. We’ll let you know how it turns out!
What’s funny is I have a TON of frozen sweet pea puree. Made it for baby food, and she HATES it. I refuse to waste it, SOOOOO, sweet pea cupcakes it is. Her loss ;) My gain! Love this recipe!
I’ve never seen peas in cupcakes before but I think I’m willing to try just about anything. They sound like they taste good and they look so pretty too :)
Brilliant! you are a genius in the baking world you really are, this is such a lovely and kooky idea! Dying to try it out :)
This is so amazing! I love the idea, and I love the look, the color, the everything!
The panna cotta frosting is so cool
wow pea cupcakes, love it….on my to do list are some cupcakes made with purple yams, beets, and avocado…think this gets added for the list!
I have to say – I’m amazed :) I just spent an hour of scrolling and reading your blog :) I love it!!! :) I’ll keep foloving you and try out some of your recipes :)
Anon – Just regular peas.
Are sweet peas just regular green peas? Or are sweet peas the type you find in scented lotions, hand sanitizers and etc.?
I’m a new follower and an unadventurous baker, but I’m making these as soon as I get the ingredients!
I’m still dreaming about Peas in a Jar!
Love it! i am a big fan of combining ingredients that make you think. out of the ordinary recipes and this most definitely fits the bill! so excited to have found your blog, love the story behind it and can’t wait to try out some recipes in my ever growing obsession with cupcakes (it seems to be going around)haha!
I actually love peas, so these savory(ish) cupcakes sound delicious to me! I’d love to give them a try…although I do think I’m stay with a honey cream cheese icing. I’m a frosting purist! :)
This sound very interesting. But if carrots, zucchini, cabbages, and tomatoes, can be use in dessert recipes, why not peas? Thanks for sharing the recipe.
Peas in the cupcake. So unique it just might work. My tasters are sometimes skeptical as well. I threw a cupcake loaded with bacon in it and they winced. But then they ate it. Delicious!
I agree with the idea of substituting a honey cream cheese icing.
A wonderful recipe though. Would be a great seller in the vicinity of any farmer’s market.