Sunday, March 16, 2008
Sweet Potato Pound Cake
You didn't read wrong... I made cake once again. I keep thinking I'm going to start making other things (hey, I did make brownies... although they were awfully close to cheesecake with a brownie crust... and I did make cookies... but those cookies were pretty cake-like....) hmmm... maybe I should just embrace the cake-making urges...
A couple of things conspired to make this particular cake happen last night. The first one was that I got a new book -- Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott -- a book I have wanted for a while. We were also having a group of people over for an Asian Food extravaganza (Chris made mapo dofu, tikka masala, and ants in a tree. Jolene brought noodles with a spicy peanut sauce and Mira brought kilbi jim a.k.a Korean short ribs -- it was all very, very yummy.) Southern cakes and Asian food isn't exactly a natural pairing, but Mira had wanted a Korean-style sweet potato cake for her birthday. I figured this probably wasn't the same thing exactly -- but a sweet potato cake would still be pretty cool.
Mira told me that the Korean-style cake is really light and almost white -- she's pretty sure they use a Korean-sweet potato to make it which would make sense, and the light texture makes me think it might be more of an angel food cake -- a recipe I would love to track down and try.
This was not airy, or light -- it was a rich, dense pound cake. The flavor was actually quite nice -- not overly sweet at all and incredibly moist. I used canned pureed sweet potatoes (found them at My Organic Market) rather than roasting and mashing my own -- and I know it's a bit out of season -- but who cares when it tastes so good? The cake had streaks of thicker/moister batter throughout and we're not sure if it was sweet potatoes that separated a bit, or just a something that this cake did, but either way, it tasted great.
3 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg (I used freshly grated)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
4 eggs, room temp (put them in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes if you need to warm them up quicker)
2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes (or 1 15-oz can sweet potato puree)
Heat the oven to 350 and grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in a medium bowl, and stir with a fork to mix well. Combine the milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Se the milk and flour mixtures aside.
In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar together with a mixer at hight speed until light and well combined -- about 5 minutes -- stopping once or twice to scrape down the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well each time -- about 1 minute for each. Add the mashed sweet potatoes and mix at low speed for 1 minute, or until the batter is evenly mixed.
Add about half the flour mixture and beat gently, using a wooden spoon or a mixer at low sped, only until the flour disappears into the batter. Add half the milk and mix gently to combine evenly. Mix in remaining flour, and then the remaining milk, beating gently only until you have a thick,smooth batter.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and bake at 350 for between 60 to 75 minutes, or until the cake is evenly browned, springs back when touched gently in the center, and a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack or a folded kitchen towel for 20 minutes. Then use a table knife to loosen the cake from the pan. Turn out the cake onto a wire rack, place it top side up, and cool to room temp.
Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.