Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sweet Potato Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

This is officially my most favourite cake recipe ever. That is a big deal coming from me, because I've made a lot of cakes and I'm very picky about them. Before this I'd say banana was probably my absolute favourite, because if it's fabulous flavour, texture and moistness and I could eat toasted banana bread nearly everyday if I was able to. But this one wins hands down. I know, I can hear your doubts; sweet potato in a cake?! Really? How does that even work? This is exactly the type of scepticism I was met with whenever I mentioned this idea to any of my friends. But then I made it, and oh boy did they eat their words.

This cake was officially dubbed the 'I can't believe it's not Carrot Cake!" because its colour and moistness had so many people in the office convinced it was a really great carrot cake. There were gasps of shock and I think I even got a euphoric hug from a workmate after I explained the cake to them.

The cake on its own is not very sweet and surprisingly light and fluffy. You wouldn't expect it because it is a heavy mother of a cake. My tupperware was groaning with the weight of all the cake slices I stuffed into it. It's sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo moist and the exterior becomes amazingly crunchy and golden and I pretty much cut the entire top (err well the bottom since it was a bundt pan) and ate it straight out of the oven because it tasted so good. The maple syrup cream cheese icing was the perfect match for the cake. It was sweet and creamy and rich with the flavour of maple syrup. You could use the icing for anything, and I also think this entire recipe would make a fantastic cupcake.

Sweet Potato Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing
(based on this recipe from Epicurious)
For the cake:
2-3 fairly large red sweet potatoes (enough to make 2 cups cooked & mashed)
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing:
125g cream cheese, softened
200g icing sugar
1 tbsp maple syrup

Peel and chop your sweet potatoes into even sized chunks. Bring a medium pot of water to boil and boil the sweet potatoes until they are very tender (about 15 mins). Drain and mash well with a fork and then set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F). Sift flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt into medium bowl. Measure enough mashed sweet potatoes to equal 2 cups. Transfer to large bowl. Add sugar and oil to sweet potatoes; using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Add eggs 2 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture; beat just until blended. Beat in vanilla.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 1 hour 5 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack 15 minutes.

Using small knife, cut around sides of pan and center tube to loosen cake. Turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Prepare the icing while your cake cools; place cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Sift icing sugar into the mixing bowl and beat well. Add maple syrup gradually while continuing to beat the mixture until you reach the desired consistency.

It was about 1 tbsp of maple syrup for me but you can put more or less depending on how you prefer it. PLEASE don't use that horrible fake maple syrup stuff, I will cry if you do! Use a spatula to spread icing over the top of your cake.

Finally, drizzle about a teaspoon of extra maple syrup over the top of the icing. *Drool*

I think the only downside about the recipe is how long it took to bake, I got so impatient waiting for it that I must have tested it with a skewer about 15 times. I also couldnt resist slicing little bits off the bottom of it while waiting for it to cool because it was so yummy! The long baking time is why I'm going to try these as cupcakes next time :) It really surprised me how great the texture was considering all the sweet potato in it, it wasn't starchy at all and you could see little orange flecks of potato all through the cake. It's so moreish, I was originally going to share it with everyone in the office but several greedy friends of mine (and myself) ended up eating something like 3 pieces each! Oh well, as long as it was enjoyed thoroughly, it doesn't really matter!


  1. You had me droolinnngg throughout the post! I was a skeptic too but now converted without even tasting the cake haha!
    Would baking time b diff if I used a normal round tin? Cos I dont think I have a bundt mould :S

  2. i love how that icing is spread on nice and thick. whenever i make something with a cream cheese frosting, i always make a double batch.

  3. I've never liked carrot cake but I'm intrigued to know what this tastes like! The pictures look so yummy!

  4. sweet potato cake? well i never! lol. love the sound of this, and as much as i love baking my sweet potatoes until they caramelise in the oven, i think i should definitely give this one a go. and ooh sneaky slivers from the bottom of the cake - must remember that trick next time!

  5. Wow this look amazingly rich and lucious! How do you manage to bake & eat so many goodies but remain so tiny?

  6. The cake looks wonderful on its own, but with that icing - delicious! My cakes usually have bits stuck to the pan :(

  7. Ooh steph! Your baking never ceases to amaze me! This sounds so yum!

  8. Favourite cake? Yes, that's a big call. But even from the pictures it looks lovely and moist. I'm sure it's delicious. Sweet potato you say? I'm intrigued!

  9. Ooh yes I cna totally see how it would work and be lovely and moist! I love pumpkin in cakes too. Love the cream cheese icing too with maple! :P

  10. i can imagine how heavy this cake is - there's almost a kilo worth of ingredients in it! looks good though and can see from the pics how moist the cake is :D

  11. I made sweet potato cake once but it didn't turn out as great as yours. Plus the maple icing, oh so delicious!

  12. Sweet potato cake! A nice change from the usual carrot. Love the thick layer of icing. so thick!!!

  13. Wow sweet potato cake! I've only ever done one cake that uses vegetables... and thats carrot cake. the rest of the time i'm not that adventurous but this looks really good!

  14. FFichiban - Yep the baking time would definitely be different, not sure by how much though, it also depends on your oven! Just keep checking with a skewer til it comes out clean :)

    Justin - Nothing better than a thick layer of cream cheese frosting! :)

    Rilsta - I never get to eat carrot cake cos there's always walnuts in it! I don't think the taste is the same but the look and texture is.

    Helen - Ooh yes you can't go wrong with caramelised baked potatoes :) heehee I'm always sneaking bits of cake whenever I bake!

    Forager - haha trust me I've put on so much weight cos of this blog! Must stop eating my own things!

    Belle - Ohh I hate it when it sticks to the pan, I grease my pans up HEAPS or line it with baking paper to avoid it.

    Betty - Heehee thanks! :D

    Julia - I know, it will probably change again soon with the amount of cakes I bake! It's surprisingly fantastic though!

    Lorraine - :) Oh me too! I've been wanting to do something with pumpkin (pumpkin scones!) but I haven't had the chance to yet :) I love maple syrup with anything!

    panda - Oh haha you're right! I never thought about it that way. It was surprisingly fluffy and light though :)

    Anh - Aww too bad, maybe give this recipe a go, it's great! :) Thanks!

    Ellie - :D Thank you! If you're going to do icing, do it thick I say!

    Trisha - Carrot cake is always good but I like to try new things ;) Luckily this one was a good new thing!

  15. I made this today, was fun, looks delicious. I had a little trouble with the baking because I couldn't find what temperature you baked it at, so I guessed...we will see how that turns out...

  16. Anonymous - Oops my bad. So sorry, I hope your cake turned out okay! The link to the original recipe had the temperature, I was obviously a noob who doesn't proof-read very well. I've updated the recipe now with the temp, thanks for letting me know!

  17. I have made this cake three times. It now becomes the family request

  18. I've made this twice - the first time in a bundt pan, the second time as cupcakes.

    30 minutes at 325 in my convection oven was perfect for the cupcakes. I had the right amount of batter for 24 cupcakes.

    The best part about making cupcakes was that I could leave one at home for my husband while I took the rest to the office potluck - everyone wins!

  19. Wow! Just made this cake, it made me a small cake and 16 muffins! They are moist and delicious. LOVE the cream cheese and maple icing! It tastes like a carrot cake but with a better consistency. Thanks for a great recipe! :-D

  20. Thanks so much for this recipe! It truly was delicious and I was so proud giving it to my family (I'm 12 years old). They all raved about the cupcakes and my sister called it the best cupcake she ever had :D

  21. Made this last night and it was a big hit. Only problem I had was that the cream cheese frosting was really, really runny. I did use very low fat cream cheese - wonder if that was the issue. But I had a massive fail on the ingredients front - thought I had caster sugar - didn't and had to use the last bits of demerara combined with soft dark brown sugar - and was also really low on oil so used a mix of groundnut oil and lemon flavoured olive oil. Still turned out OK though!

    1. That's some impressive Macgyver baking right there! The low fat cream cheese might have affected the texture, though this icing is a bit runnier than normal anyway. If you want a stiffer icing just add more icing sugar, or beat a bit of butter into the cream cheese first.

  22. I've made this twice now and it's freaken DELISH! First made a giant cake and then halved the mix the second time round and made 12 incredibly large muffin sized cakes. Cream cheese icing was perfect. Cake tasted amazing. Love love love

  23. I've made this cake so many times now and it is always a winner, it won our office bake off and has been requested to be made three times in the last 6 months! A friend even asked for the link to the blog so she could have it made as her wedding cake! Thanks so much for your fantastic & inspiring blog


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