TomatoMania- Fearless Baked Bean and Tomato Cupcakes

Baked Bean and Tomato Cupcakes

Where do I begin? These cupcakes scared the beans out of me. It’s not rational, but it’s true. But these are a contest winning TomatoMania recipe and I promised to make every single winner over the course of the summer. But it’s true, I have been dreading making them. But make them I must and make them I did (twice!)

Intellectually I understand why this recipe is a winner. It’s a winner because it was so damn creative, and of course unusual. Every single judge on the panel gave this recipe at least one point. Including myself. Mr. Scardey Cat. Because the audacity alone is enough to earn this recipe quite a bit  of respect. So, for better or worse, SippitySup is presenting Baked Bean and Tomato Cupcakes. They come from the marvelous mind of Stef at The Cupcake Project.

Now when you head over to The Cupcake Project you will soon learn, she knows these little cakes inside and out. Which leads you to believe that there must be more to tomato cupcakes cakes than sheer cheekiness. No reason to be afraid, right? Besides this recipe is a winner, and everybody loves a winner! This recipe got a First Place Trophy at the Iron Barley Tomato Fest  in St. Louis, MO. So despite my trepidation I had a nagging feeling there was more to this recipe than just my fear.

Now, fear is a funny thing. It can lead you to behave stupidly. But it can also lead to heroic behavior. Now I am not saying that making these cupcakes made me into some kind of hero. But these cupcakes did teach me a valuable lesson about myself. And learning something new about yourself and conquering your fears at my age is as close to heroic as I may ever get…

Here’s what I am trying to say. I have an ugly tendancy towards strong opinions. I recognize this in myself and I try to keep it at bay with out completly turning myself into a zombie! There must be some middle ground between bossy know it all and mushy roadkill. I strive for the middle ground on a daily basis.

cupcake photo shootSo the first time I made this recipe I stupidly let the fear take over.

Now the tomatoes in this recipe did not scare me. Nope not one bit. I think tomatoes belong in sweet foods as much as they belong in savory foods. However the beans, set my boots a quakin’. Beans in a cupcake? “No”. I decided. Not now not ever!

So when I first made this recipe I left the beans out. Then I got scared. Because this is not my recipe. Besides it’s not called Tomato Cupcakes with Beans (making the beans seems secondary) this recipe is called Baked Bean and Tomato Cupcakes. You see how the beans occupy the primary location in the title. This must mean something.

Also, I read (brand new mom) Stef regularly and as a regular reader I know she knows her stuff. Whereas I am an admitted non-baker. In other words I am a person who knows very little about the subject, but pretty much feels I should have the last word anyway. Isn’t that obnoxious? So, in my panic and self-revelation I decided to add the beans after the fact. They were still a bit chunky and never really mixed all the way into the batter. I knew that fear had foiled me before I even stuck these cupcakes in the oven.

So when it came time for a taste test. I got scared again. I decided to blind taste test them using an unsuspecting “friend”. Well this friend took one bite of that cupcake and peeked in where she had biten. There was a pinkish glob stuck inside the cupcake and she immediately spit the cupcake out and threw the remaining bit right at me. She thought the partially mashed pinto bean was a bug. I tried and tell her it was just a pinto bean. Well, to her thinking pinto beans were every bit as bad as bugs when it comes to cupcakes (that was her own fear speaking). But nonetheless I could not convince her to try another cupcake.

I set the recipe aside in defeat and put the fear out of my mind.

But as the weeks went by I started to feel a bit guilty. I knew it was the fear that had sabbotaged these cupcakes. My fear of beans in cupcakes that is.

So with but a few spare weeks of TomatoMania left this season I conquered my fear. I made these cupcakes again. I made them with confidence. I made them with BEANS!

You know what? I can’t even remember what I was afraid of either. These cupcakes were slightly sweet, and marvelously moist. They were like a very good spice cake with a deeply intense color. But there was the slightest hint of something fruity. Almost plum-like…

Of course the lesson learned was one of life’s most basic. So basic in fact I can’t even tell you in plain words. You just have to lose your fear and learn the lesson for yourself.

baked bean tomato cupcakeBaked Bean and Tomato Cupcakes


  • 1⁄2 c unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained and mashed
  • 1 1⁄4 c flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 c diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1⁄2 t vanilla, divided
  • 3 c powdered sugar
  • 1 T tomato paste (use extra-concentrated tomato paste to keep the frosting from getting too moist and runny)


1. Cream butter and sugar.
2. Add egg and mix well.
3. Mix in mashed beans and vanilla.
4. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and cinnamon.
5. Add dry mixture to wet mixture. Do not over mix.
6. Stir in diced tomatoes.
7. Fill cupcake liners 1/2 full.
8. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when pressed lightly.


1. Mix butter and cream cheese until smooth.
2. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Add more or less to make it as stiff as you like.
3. Mix in the tomato paste and vanilla extract.



Greg Henry