Sweet potato cake
The title of this cake should really be spiced sweet potato cake with chantilly cream filling, maple buttercream and maple-candied nuts, but I thought that was a bit much plus it didn’t fit into the title tab. However, that really is what this cake is. A mouth full. And once you have a mouth full of this cake, you won’t want to stop eating.
I decided to make this cake because I’ve been so intrigued with using vegetables in cakes lately. Actually, since I made my Potato, Pecorino & Rosemary bread, I’ve been interested to see how a similar vegetable would work in a cake. The potato in the bread created a light, fluffy and delicious bread and I wanted to see if sweet potato would do the same for a cake. I was very happy to see that that was indeed exactly what it did. Adding mashed sweet potato to the batter resulted in a moist, light crumb and added lovely depth to the cake.
I wanted to fill the cake with something simple and relatively neutral in flavour as the cake and the buttercream are both very flavourful and I didn’t want the finished cake to be overwhelming. I decided to use a very lightly sweetened chantilly cream (vanilla cream) which worked perfectly. To top the cake, I made a maple syrup flavoured buttercream which was light, fluffy and sweet. For a final flourish, I added the maple-candied nuts which was, perhaps a bit over-the top but man, was it a good decision. I used salted, roasted mixed nuts and the intense saltiness paired with the sweetness of the maple syrup was just heaven and reminded me a lot of the flavour bomb that is bacon with maple syrup.
This cake is pure perfection for the Festive season and should definitely be the centerpiece of your dessert table.
- 250g butter, room temperature
- 300g caster sugar
- 4 extra-large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1.5 cups cooked, mashed sweet potato
- 400g flour
- 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- pinch of ground cloves
- 100ml milk
- 150g butter, room temperature
- 500g icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- splash of milk
- 100g roasted, salted nuts, roughly chopped
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 250ml cream
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, scraped
- To make the cake, pre-heat the oven to 180°c and line 3x 20cm cake tins with baking paper.
- Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.
- Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.
- Beat in the vanilla and the sweet potato puree.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices and mix well.
- Add the flour mixture and milk, alternatively, to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix well after each addition and scrape down the bowl.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared cake tins.
- Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cakes are golden brown and a skewer inserted comes out clean. (Remember, all ovens differ so your cake might bake longer or in less time than mine.)
- When the cakes are cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on wire racks.
- To make the buttercream, beat the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy then add the maple syrup and beat for another 2 minutes. Set aside.
- To make the maple-candied nuts, simply combine the ingredients in a non-stick frying pan and place over medium heat. Allow the maple syrup to caramelise for 5 minutes then tip out onto a baking-paper lined plate. Allow to cool completely.
- For the Chantilly cream, whip the cream until soft peaks form then add the sugar and the vanilla seeds and whip until cream has formed stiff peaks.
- To assemble the cake, layer the cakes with Chantilly cream and cover in the maple buttercream.
- Top with the maple-candied nuts and serve.