Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Marbled Chocolate-Sweet Potato Cake

This cake is SO good.  I almost don’t have much more to say than that.  Except that you might be thinking sweet potato in a cake?  If you like/love sweet potatoes, this cake is fantastic.  If you’re on the fence about them, this cake is a great way to fall in love.  I got the recipe for this Marbled Chocolate-Sweet Potato Cake from one of the classes I took in Kansas from my favorite chef, Paige.  Her classes and food were great!  I sure miss her and her classes and recipes!  Have you ever wanted to just have a few hours every few weeks to just take a break, sit back, relax and eat some yummy food?  That’s Paige’s classes.  You do just that.  Sit back, relax, take a break from all your regular daily cares, learn from an expert about cooking wonderful food, EAT, and enjoy the company of others around you who are just as interested in the same things. 
My wonderful husband made it possible with his busy schedule for me to attend all of Paige’s classes.  We tried to talk Paige in to moving to Utah, but it didn’t work.  Sigh. ;)  Thankfully, I have a huge three-ringed binder full of my collection of Paige Recipes.  And I have made a lot of them.  Every recipe is perfect.  And she has a blog!
Look, it’s Paige.  And there’s my friend, Ellen.  Sigh.  I miss Kansas.  (Don’t worry, we’re happy to be in Utah, too.)  I “made” her be in a picture with Ellen and I at the last class we went to back in June before we moved.  Ellen is the reason I started taking Paige’s classes.  She invited me to one (Holiday cookies!  She assumed I’d like that.  Smart girl! ;) back in November of 2008.  I was hooked then.  Thanks, Ellen.  I so miss our “dates” to Paige’s classes together!
The cake was served at a class about winter squash, pumpkins and sweet potatoes.  The cake is supposed to be made in a 10-inch tube pan or 2 8-cup loaf pans.  I don’t have either and last year after having the cake in class, I set out to make it—in my only bundt pan.  Even though Paige said the cake wouldn’t work in a bundt pan, that they usually aren’t big enough, I made it anyway.  That’ll show me.  Here’s a picture of last year’s cake.  It went way over the rim of the pan (but didn’t spill!).  I baked the cake well more than the recipe suggested, and thought it was done, but most of the center was underbaked.
The cake tasted great and I ended up make a trifle with it with all the pieces that were not underbaked.  The trifle was really good!  I layered it with whipped cream, pudding (can’t remember what kind) and toffee bits. 
So I wanted to make the cake again, can’t find a tube pan like I want (need to look on Amazon!), and decided to make it again, in my only bundt pan, BUT this time leave out some of the batter.  BINGO.  Perfect bundt AND a perfect six inch round cake!
Ok, so my marbling skills aren’t the greatest, but the cake is so good, it almost doesn’t matter.
I think I did a little better marbling job on the bundt cake.  I served this the same night I made the apple pie for TWD and the apple cake coming up for FFWD.  It was a big hit.  Even those who I told that it had sweet potatoes and they wrinkled their noses a little liked it!
I wrote on my notes from Paige’s class that she hadn’t ever tried it, but wondered if toffee bits in the cake would be good.  I didn’t do that, but had fun just playing around with a toffee glaze for the cake.  I didn’t write down what actually worked, but I think I made a really good glaze!  First I tried melting toffee bits, but that wasn’t quite working, so I added a little cream, still not what I wanted.  I added some chocolate chips to the hot, almost melted toffee bits and they melted just from the heat of the toffee.  Now I had kind of a chocolate toffee glop.  I added some powdered sugar and a little milk to that until it was the consistency I wanted and it was actually really good.  I sprinkled the cake with powdered sugar, because it doesn’t REALLY need a glaze, but when serving the cake, I let everyone decided if they wanted a drizzle of the glaze on their piece as well as some whipped cream.  Excellent!
I decided to make this cake because I ended up with a bunch of sweet potatoes, that and I’d been thinking about this cake off and on since last year!  Thanks, Paige!  She notes on the recipe that she adapted it from The Victory Garden Cookbook, by Marian Morash.
I planned ahead a little and after making the sweet potato batter and adding chocolate to part of it, I decided to have about six cups (48 ounces) of batter in the bundt pan.  I set the bundt pan on my kitchen scale and kept adding batter until it reached 48 ounces.  The bundt baked for 50 minutes and the six inch round baked for 43 minutes.  You could probably get crazy and make cupcakes with these, too!  This is easily one of my favorite cakes.
Marbled Chocolate-Sweet Potato Cake, by Paige Vandegrift For Love of the Table
3 cups all purpose flour (I measured 360 grams)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (I used freshly grated)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped (I used walnuts)
2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes (about 18 ounces puree—see note)
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (300 grams)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled (I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips—my favorite!)
Butter and flour a 10-inch tube pan or 2 8-cup loaf pans.  (I used my 10 cup bundt pan and a six inch round cake pan.)  Set aside.  Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Stir in the toasted, cooled nuts.  Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the sweet potatoes, sugar, oil and vanilla at medium speed until very smooth and glossy.  (Or whisk by hand in a large bowl.)  Whisk in the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next.  By hand, fold in the dry ingredients and the nuts.  Scoop one third of the batter (about 21 ounces) into a separate bowl and quickly stir in the ,melted and cooled chocolate.
Place the batters in the pan(s), alternating as for a marble cake.  Then, with the end of a wooden spoon or the blade of a table knife, gently dray swirls through the batter to marbleize it.  Don’t over mix or you won’t have a marble affect—two, zig-zag passes through the pan should be sufficient. (Which is what I did! ;)
Bake in a 350 degree oven until the cake springs back and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean—about an hour for the loaves and an hour and 10 minutes for the tube cake. (My bundt took 50 minutes and the 6 inch round took 43 minutes.)  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  The cake is fine served as is, or you may dust it with powdered sugar or embellish it with a simple powdered sugar glaze, recipe below.  (Or you can mess around like I did and make a funky chocolate toffee glaze.)
Note:  You will need about 2 pounds of sweet potatoes to produce 2 cups of puree.  Roast the sweet potatoes in a 400 degree oven.  Prick the sweet potatoes in several spots with a fork or paring knife and transfer to a baking sheet.  Bake until easily pierced with the tip of a knife, about 40 to 60 minutes.  When cool enough to handle, cut open the sweet potatoes and scoop out the flesh (I just easily peeled mine with my fingers.)  Puree the food processor, or press the flesh through a sieve or mesh strainer.  (I used the food processor).
Powdered Sugar Glaze:  Combine 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar with enough liquid to form a mixture that drizzles slowly from a spoon—about 2 to 3 tablespoons of water, coffee or milk.
I also made this in honor of Mary, the great! from The Food Librarian, who loves bundt cakes so much that last year and this year (and maybe every year coming?) has made a bundt cake every day for 30 days leading up to National Bundt Cake Day, which just happens to be on my birthday!  Today is day #11, so there’s plenty more bundts to come!  Check out all of Mary’s fun, yummy bundt cakes and her fun “I Like Big Bundts” theme.  I met Mary last year at BlogHer Food in San Francisco.  She’s wonderful. 


Lisa said...

Oh yum, I love sweet potatoes. You definitely wouldn't catch me wrinkling my nose at anything that has them in it. These cakes look beautiful with all that marbling going on in them. And that glaze? How do you come up with these things and why am I not surprised that it's chocolate? Awesome every time.

Paige said...

Hi Katrina,

I miss having you in classes so much! I'm getting ready to teach that very class again next week. I do love that cake. I like your mini cake with the extra batter, too--cupcakes would be a really good idea too...maybe with some chocolate chips instead of nuts....

Thanks for the link to my blog!

Unknown said...

I am so making this.. very very soon, it looks fantastic! Moist, colorful, flavorful. Its a must try!

Donna-FFW said...

Thats my comment up above.. wonder why it appeared without my FFW?? Anyhow, printing..

Lisa Ernst said...

This looks great, and unusual. I always sub sweet sweet potato for pumpkin because I think its generally denser, sweeter and more flavorful. We just finished off a sweet potato pie this morning. I can see chocolate and sweet potato together easily. I think I'd glaze the cake with some chocolate ganache, but then again, it might not need it.

Jersey Girl Cooks said...

This might be the way to get my son some vegetables....sweet potatoes count, right?

Bonnie said...

I happen to love sweet potatoes and have the old Victory Garden cookbook by Marion Morash but I have never made this cake. Thanks for the great instructions.

CindyD said...

This cake looks fantastic! I emailed my vegetarian daughter one of Paige's butternut squash recipes which she tried and loved.

Valerie said...

I've never had a dessert with sweet potatoes, but I have a recipe for cookies with it. I've been curious, but hesitant to try them. This cake looks so moist and delicious!

Your birthday is coming up? Now I really gotta meet you so I can give you a bday gift!

Leslie said...

sweet potato in a cake version..num num num!!!
I suck at the whole marbling of cake. It never turns out for me.

Anonymous said...

This looks really delicious. I would imagine it tastes pumpkin-ish - very good for fall!

Mimi said...

This cake is calling my name. I've had it marked the victory garden cookbook, but hadn't made it because Mr. Mimi was not a sweet potato eater. He's coming around, and this sounds like it would help convince him of just how good sweet potatoes are.

Rachel Anderson said...

Hi Katrina - I made this cake and it was YUMMY! The consistency was a bit like a spice cake. I made 2 9-inch rounds and pretty much ate half of it myself. :)

Bella Baker said...

Yum! I wonder if I can sub in pumpkin for the sweet potato. I may try that!

briarrose said...

I must make this. It looks delicious.

Amanda said...

This looks marvelous Katrina! Chocolate and pumpkin is one of my favorite combos, so i'm sure sweet potato and chocolate rock too!

Deeba PAB said...

Yum yum Katrina...I love how moist the crumb is. Perfect!!

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