Sweet Potato Cake with Chocolate Frosting

I'm not usually a fan of American frostings, finding them too sickly, but my daughter wanted me to make her a cake with frosting for her birthday. I decided on a sweet potato one because it's been on my list of 'to make' for ages, and I had bought a bag of sweet potatoes with my weekly shopping. I tasted a cake like this for the first time recently, and thought it was reminiscent of a carrot cake, one of my favourites, but without nuts!

This is another recipe from an American paperback I brought back on one of my visits, 'Cakes my Mom used to make'. There are only a few photos in the book, and not one for this cake, so I had to use my imagination; the recipes are very basic so you need to work out exactly what you have to do - not really an ideal baking book.

It's a 3-layer cake, filled with an orange cream and covered in a chocolate cream cheese frosting - so not many calories!

Preheat oven 200C/gas6.
Prick 350g sweet potatoes [ 2 medium or 1 large] and put on a tray and bake for about an hour till very soft. Cool.
Reduce oven temperature to 180C/gas4
Peel the potatoes and purée them in a food processor [or mash them].

Grease and line 3x20cm cake tins.
Sift 360g sr flour into a bowl with 11/2 tspn cinnamon, 3/4 tspn ground nutmeg and 1/4 tspn ground cloves.
Separate 5 eggs and using a mixer, beat the whites till frothy. Gradually beat in 50g caster sugar.
In another bowl put the potato purée, 150g butter, 200g caster sugar and 1/1/2 tspn vanilla extract, and beat till light and fluffy. Add the 5 yolks one at a time, then add the flour mixture and 300 ml of milk, alternating between the 2, starting and ending with the dry mixture.
Fold in 1/4 of the egg whites with a spatula, then fold in the rest being very careful NOT to over mix.
Spoon the batter into the 3 tins and bake for 25-30 mins. Cool in the tins for 10 mins then turn onto a wire rack.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
300g cream cheese, 125g butter, 450g icing sugar - beat butter and cheese then add sieved icing sugar and beat till smooth and fluffy. Take out a cup of this frosting for the orange filling.
Add 45g melted chocolate and beat in.

Orange cream icing:
to the cup of reserved frosting add 2 tbspn orange juice and  1/2 tspn orange extract and beat together.

To assemble the cake:
Put one layer flat side down onto your serving plate. Spread half of the orange cream on top, add another cake layer and do the same. put the last cake layer on top and cover the top and sides with the chocolate cream cheese frosting.

The cake has a good texture, firm but moist; the sweet potato isn't dominant and the spices blend well together and add a lovely flavour to the cake. The orange cream is pleasant, but I think if I made this again I'd just make a bit more of the chocolate frosting and not bother with the orange one.
The chocolate cream frosting is sweet, but adds a luxury feel to the cake, especially as it's for a special occasion.
My OH didn't see me making the cake and couldn't guess what the unusual ingredient was in it.


I have to agree that American frostings can be a bit off-putting but this does look really good. I think I've only used sweet potato in Caribbean baking until now but I think I may be missing out.

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