I’m feeling a little sheepish that I haven’t posted for two weeks. When I was on my road trip, I was so excited to come back and try out new recipes and share them with you all. When I came back, though, I got distracted. As you may remember, my goal is to open a bakery cafe and hire homeless people. Although the final form of that dream is years away, I left my job a couple of months ago to try and figure out the first steps of doing that. Start selling at farmer’s markets, get an apprenticeship, get food safety certified, open a business account, create a logo…there is just so much to do. I waffle between feeling really good about it, to feeling really overwhelmed, to wondering “am I really doing anything?”
So with that, my inspiration for new posts has been on the back burner. I’ve still been cooking, though. If you can call making ice cream cooking. I made raw sugar ice cream and cocoa nib ice cream from my cookbook of the moment: Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich. I also made lemon basil sherbert, which was good, but I would add more basil next time. (This all came about when I bought herbs earlier in the summer, and the vendor gave me a bonus of a tiny little lemon basil start. “Lemon basil sherbert,” he said emphatically. I’d had it on my mind ever since.)
I’ve also had recipes sitting in my bookmarked tabs for months that I finally made: Bucatoni with Eggplant and Tagliatelle with Fresh Corn Pesto. Both were very nice and quite summery. Speaking of summery, I love end-of-summer warm evenings. Not humid, but warm and dry and content. I had all the windows down in my car last night and the air felt so fresh. It was probably thanks to the big storm (hurricane in some areas, tropical storm here) that just hit. Justin is raking up the debris in the back yard as I type.
Thanks for letting me ramble. Now it’s time for the goods. Sweet Potato Cake. What do potatoes do to baked goods? Moisture. They make a nice tight crumb that doesn’t dry out, even after days in the fridge (or on the counter, in cooler climates).
I found this recipe a couple of years ago on Epicurious. It was featured in Bon Apetit magazine. Eighty-one people have reviewed it, giving an average rating of four out of four forks. You know it’s gotta be good!
When I first made it, I was tempted to make all these substitutions to health-ify it. Then I realized that cake should be cake. The only changes I made were to sub half of the white flour for whole wheat and to use some brown sugar in place of the regular sugar. The brown sugar icing is like caramel candy mixed with powdered sugar. If you don’t like super sweet desserts, don’t worry. The cake itself has a nice flavor and good texture without being cloying, which leaves room for a caramel-like icing. I made this at Justin’s request for his birthday. Let me know if you make this; it’s in my top three cake recipes.
Sweet Potato Cake
From Bon Appetit November 2000
Serves about 10
For the cake:
4 8-ounce red-skinned sweet potatoes
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and make sure rack is in the middle of the oven. Butter a 12-cup Bundt pan. Scrub sweet potatoes and prick all over with fork. Cook, either by roasting with skin on or microwaving on high for 8 minutes, turning over halfway through. Let cool, then slip off skins. Measure enough to equal two cups and put in large bowl; set aside.
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine dry ingredients in bowl, set aside.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup canola or coconut oil
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Add sugar and oil to sweet potatoes and mix with an electric mixer. Add eggs, two at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Add flour mixture to sweet potato mixture and stir just until combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 325 degrees for about an hour and five minutes. Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes. Using a butter knife, loosen edges and turn out onto rack to cool completely.
For the icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
Sift powdered sugar (if you want. I’m too lazy to do this step, and I don’t mind lumpy icing).
3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine in medium sauce pan over medium low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium high and cook for about three minutes, swirling pan over heat and stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Whisk well with powdered sugar until smooth. Cool just a bit, then pour over cake while still warm. Let stand at least one hour.
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