Food for the Fam: Gwyneth Paltrow's Sweet Potato + Five Spice Muffins (Slightly Adapted)

The key ingredient in these muffins: roasted and mashed sweet potato

I’m going to kick off this recipe help/swap idea and start the ‘Food for the Fam’ series with a recipe I’ve transparently adapted (nicked) from Gwyneth Paltrow’s wholesome cookbook ‘It’s All Good‘. Yes, I know she’s vile to some, but the book is great and there’s even a few things – banana ice cream, marinated tofu, banana pancakes – that the fussy one will eat (or did at last try). Plus it holds the recipe for totally delicious no-deep-fry fish tacos, which is our grown-up treat dinner most weekends. Everything is gluten- and sugar-free too. Helps.

We all like baking with American cups

Some are put off by American cups, but oddly I have come to really like cooking with them. I bought mine cheap from Lakeland, and find they make baking particularly easy. And because there’s no weighing, the kids enjoy cooking with me more when we use them as they find the digital scales really boring to use (and so do I).

These muffins involve baking a large sweet potato for an hour before assembling everything else. I do this any time in the week that it suits me, even if I’m not going to bake the muffins immediately. I usually also bake two (or four small ones) and make a double batch of 24 muffins at a time because the boys probably eat two a day each when we have them ‘in stock’ – as do I – and I have no desire to be endlessly baking. I let the sweet potatoes cool and refrigerate them until I’m ready to scoop out the flesh and use it.

All you need to make these muffins

You may not have some of the ingredients kicking about, but the beauty is once you have them all, you only really need to regularly stock up on the almond milk (or buy long life which is cheaper, and then have a few cartons in the store cupboard) and maple syrup (because the muffins require quite a bit – that’s where they get their sweetness).

My battered copy of ‘It’s All Good’ by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen

Gwyneth recommends gluten-free baking flour and then using bicarbonate of soda AND baking powder to give the muffins puff. I’ve done this and they tasted kind of chemically and had an odd texture. I’ve tweaked the levels of the powders, but it’s the same. I’ve decided it’s the bicarb that doesn’t work, so my version of the recipe uses spelt flour instead (still good for most people sensitive to wheat) and then cuts it out. If you want to know the GF version, follow the crossed-through bits in the recipe!

The muffins looking beautiful in a style shot in ‘It’s All Good’. Image copyright Ditte Isager

These are in the breakfast section of ‘It’s All Good‘, and are mighty useful to have lying around for breakfast, although we have them any time of day. My two don’t even know they have sweet potato in them and we call them ‘Christmas muffins’ in our house on account of the Chinese five spice giving them that peppery ginger-biscuity taste.

Oh and you can also add nuts to this. Walnuts are the bomb, so are pistachios. You can probably replace some of the flour with ground almonds, but I’ve not tried it.

Let me know what you and yours think of them in the comments!



1 large (or two small) sweet potatoes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
3/4 cup good-quality maple syrup, plus 2 extra tablespoons for brushing the muffins
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups gluten-free spelt flour (if using GF and the flour doesn’t include xanthan gum, add 1 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1.5 tablespoons Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (I use flakes and grind them with my fingers – it’s fine)


1) Place the sweet potato/es in a pre-heated 200-degree C oven, having washed them and pricked them all over with a fork. Bake until soft, about an hour. Set aside until completely cool.


2) Slit the potato/es open and scoop out the flesh, mashing it in a mixing bowl with a fork. Whisk in the olive oil, almond milk, maple syrup, and vanilla.


3) In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, five-spice, and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet.


4) Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners (I delegate this to someone smaller) and evenly divide the muffin batter among the cups.


5) Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Brush the tops with more maple syrup before the final five minutes is up and pop back in. Once done, remove from the oven, leave to cool a while and then place on a wire tray.

Disclosure: This recipe is the intellectual property of Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen, authors of ‘It’s All Good’. It has been adapted in line with my experience of cooking the recipe. There are a couple of affiliate links in this post, placed after I wrote it. No compensation, financial the otherwise, was offered or exchanged for the writing of this post. I’m sharing it because it’s one of the few healthy things that always goes down well in my house! 

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I’m Kate, a copywriter, brand consultant and editor who creates messages that are clear and clean. I create these for brands and agencies both big and boutique, in areas including design, homes and interiors, travel, fashion, lifestyle, beauty, food, and kids and families. I believe clear, clean messages bolster brands and businesses. They evoke emotion and ignite inspiration, and when written well, they’re easier to absorb – and respond to. I live in Copenhagen and am half-English, half-Danish. I write as comfortably in American English as in British, and behind the scenes I'm also studying Danish. Need help getting your message out? Contact me.

4 thoughts on “Food for the Fam: Gwyneth Paltrow's Sweet Potato + Five Spice Muffins (Slightly Adapted)

  1. Definitely going to try these with my own sweet potato fuss pot! Not sure she’ll go for the 5 spice though, I’ll let you know!
    Also tempted by that book has it got many kid friendly wheat free things?

    1. Congratulations on the babe Kat! They are really really delicious muffins – you could try some cinnamon instead of five spice, or maybe put half the amount of five spice in. I really like the book a lot – there are lots and lots of kid-friendly things in it that are wheat-free. Lots more muffins, some yummy banana pancakes and she does a whole section on ‘crumbs’ for fish fingers and chicken filets as an alternative to shop-bought ones that are all delicious. I have used it loads and loads! P.S. I sent you guys an email through your blog – does that address still work? No hurry OF COURSE to reply, but I just wondered whether that’s the best way to get hold of you both. Enjoy your delicious little boy, he looks an absolute peach. xxx

  2. These look good and will definitely try the gluten free version. Is the book entirely gluten free? If so might be worth it for us.
    If you’re wanting gluten free ideas check out: “gluten free on a shoestring”. As a gluten free house we love this blog, the recipes are fantastic. X

    1. Hi Donna! Let me know if you get the baking powder/bicarb balance worked out better than I did, as I am gluten-free (but can tolerate a bit of spelt) and always prefer to cook that way. Yes the book is entirely gluten free, it has a large section for kids food as well that I really like and even my fussy one dips into what I make from it. I’ve had it a couple of years I think and I still return to it again and again. Thank you for the recommendation of the GF shoestring blog. Will check it out! Have you seen Green Kitchen Stories as well? Very beautiful and inspiring. You might also like the Hemsley + Hemsley book, which I am LOVING and I think everything is GF as they have the same food philosophy as GP. xxx p.s. always so nice to see your name pop up in comments and know that you’re reading! Your guest post still gets plenty of traffic! Thank you again for doing it.

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