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.
- 250 g butter room temperature
- 300 g caster sugar
- 4 extra-large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1.5 cups cooked mashed sweet potato
- 400 g flour
- 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- pinch of ground cloves
- 100 ml milk
- 150 g butter room temperature
- 500 g icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- splash of milk
- 100 g roasted salted nuts, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 250 ml 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.