Leftover sweet potatoes? Lucky you. You can mash them, make biscuits, warm them up with a little curry sauce and a smattering of peanuts and cilantro (ok, now THAT sounds good)...or make this lovely little sweet potato cake. And then you can share your sweet potato cake with your little sweet potato.
I unfortunately caught the flu bug recently, so my diet has consisted of tea, toast, oranges, veg soup, Mucinex, and a couple monster cookies because my sweet tooth does not take sick days. But today I started feeling better - almost normal! - and made this little cake. A tiny celebration cake? Maybe. Or maybe it was just my sweet tooth acting up again.
This is actually a not-so-sugary-sweet cake. It's a cross between cake and quick bread. It goes perfect with a cup of hot milky black tea on a cold January eve...like the eves we'll be having this weekend. -5 degrees for a high temp, anyone?
Still, I love North Dakota and I LOVE the four seasons. I understand when those Arizona folks gloat a bit, saying things like "You can't shovel sunshine!" But I love the winter just like I love the summer, spring and fall. I love marking the changes of seasons and how North Dakotans only do certain things at certain times. In the winter, we dig into hotdish and pot roasts while gym memberships and video rentals go up...and then we ditch the gym and the den in the summer to garden, play softball, and eat our weight in watermelon while bumming on the Missouri River sandbars, soaking in a year's worth of vitamin D. So I say relish winter, and while it's cold outside and the oven is hot, bake a few extra sweet potatoes. You never know when they'll come in handy.
Sweet potato cake, tucked into its little glass cake holder for the evening.
Sweet Potato Cake
Adapted from Melissa Clark's wonderful cookbook Cook This Now. She is both an amazing cook and fabulous food writer with the NY Times. Can you tell I'm a fan?
1 large baked sweet potato, peeled (flesh must be very soft)
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 c. brown sugar
1 and 3/4 c. PLUS 2 Tbls. all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 c. milk
1 and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbls. powdered sugar
1 scant Tbls. brandy or rum
1/2 Tbls. amaretto liquor
2 Tbls. butter
Mash sweet potato into a smooth puree, leaving no chunks. Measure out 3/4 cup of puree and set it aside (give any remaining sweet potato puree to your toddler - he'll eat it up).
Grease an 8" round cake pan with oil or butter. In a medium bowl, whisk all but two Tbls. of the brown sugar (you'll use the remaining 2 Tbls. in the glaze later) with the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, allspice, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk the 3/4 cup sweet potato puree with eggs, milk, vanilla and oil. Stir in dry ingredients. Scrape batter into pan and bake for 1 hour until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack and let cake cool completely in the pan.
When the cake is cool, make the glaze: in a small saucepan, combine remaining 2 Tbls. brown sugar with powdered sugar, liquors, a small pinch of salt, and butter. Cook over moderately low heat until butter is melted, sugar is dissolved, and you have a caramel-like sauce. Turn the cake out of its pan and set it right side up. Drizzle glaze over the top. Serve with cold glasses of milk or hot tea or coffee.