This is my second attempt at a sweet potato cake. As you can see it looks drastically different to version 1.
The first thing you will notice is that it looks a lot bigger, more of a loaf shape. This is because I used slightly more mixture and baked in into one large cake rather than two smaller ones. I also ensured it really was fully cooked this time, meaning it rose beautifully and stayed that way! If you compare it side by side with version 1, you might think that I have burnt it, but rest assured its not burnt, I replaced some of the sugar with brown sugar in the hope of giving it a caramel overtone and this made the batter much darker, as you can see from the inside crumb.
The cake also contained oil rather than butter and I threw caution to the wind and mixed most of the ingredients together in one go, cutting down some of the process stages. This worked well and didn’t seem to have any negative effects on the cake. I loved the orange and spice mix from version 1 so much that I transferred those over into this cake as well.
The finished cake rose well and was light in texture. The crumb was soft and moist thanks to the oil and sweet potato and it had a very nice, faintly orangey flavour with caramel overtones. However, I think some of the magic of the orange, spices and sweetness from the sweet potato was lost by adding the brown sugar, as they were not as pronounced as in the first version. The lovely golden orange colour was also lost, which was a shame as I consider its sunny colour one of the most pleasing aspects of baking with sweet potato. This does not however prevent it from being a delicious and tasty cake and if I was not doing a comparison I would probably not find fault with it, so don’t let my judgements stop you from giving it a go.
I now had two different sweet potato cakes to try out on my friend. I told her I had been experimenting with spice cakes and invited her round for a tasting. She happily ate slices of each while considering them. In the end she told me that while she liked both cakes she preferred the flavour of version 1, but the height and lightness of version 2 (same as me – hurrah!) When I told her what the mystery ingredient was she was surprised and said it didn’t taste like sweet potato. As she had already said she liked both cakes, she had to eat her words and grudgingly agreed that vegetables and squashes may in fact have a place in baking. So even thought I may need to create a sweet potato cake version 3 to get my ideal cake, at least I achieved what I set out to do which is to broaden my friends mind to the possibilities of baking ingredients.
I have got quite a lot of cake(s) left over and I’ve got an idea forming of what to do with them, I’ll let you know if it works!
Spiced Sweet Potato Cake (Version 2)
240g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder
130g sweet potato, cooked and mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
100ml sunflower oil
100g caster sugar
100g soft brown sugar
Zest of ½ orange
1 tsp cinnamon
½ ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves20g pecans
Preheat oven to 170C. Lightly grease and flour a 450g/1lb loaf tin.
Prick the sweet potato with a fork and microwave on high for 9 minutes until soft. Cut open, scoop out the flesh and mash with a fork. Weigh out the correct amount and set aside.
In a bowl, sift together flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, and spices and set aside.
Place the sweet potato puree, vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla, orange zest and sugars into a large bowl and beat until well combined.Add flour mixture mix until just combined, a few small lumps are fine.
Spread the batter evenly into the loaf tin. Roughly chops the pecans and scatter over the surface of the batter.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until well risen and golden. A skewer inserted into centre of the loaf comes out clean. Cover the top quickly with foil after 45 minutes if you think it is browning too quickly.Cool the cake in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 1 loaf cake