Garnet yams are a large, fluorescent-orange variety of sweet potato. They have so much natural sugar that it oozes out when they are baked.
California cooking instructor Linda Capeloto Sendowski bakes this dairy-free kosher cake in the fall through to December. In California, the yam is harvested from September to early November.
Make Ahead: The yams can be roasted 2 days in advance; refrigerate the scooped-out flesh until ready to use. You'll need about 2 cups of their roasted flesh for this recipe; refrigerate any leftovers for another use. The cake can be baked, cooled, wrapped and frozen for up to 2 weeks. The maple-glazed pecans can be prepared several hours in advance.
Servings: 12 - 16
- For the cake
- 3 garnet yams (the fattest, most unblemished yams you can find; see headnote), scrubbed and dried
- 2 3/4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 3 teaspoons minced crystallized ginger
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil, preferably safflower oil
- 4 extra-large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups toasted pecan halves, for garnish
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup, for garnish
- For the sauce
- 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/3 cup organic coconut oil (solid at room temperature)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Have a 12-cup Bundt pan at hand. Line a baking dish with aluminum foil.
For the cake: Arrange the yams in the lined baking dish. Roast uncovered for 2 hours. Cool the yams, then cut them in half and scoop out the bright orange flesh, placing it in a medium bowl and mashing it with a fork or a potato masher. Transfer 2 cups of mashed flesh to the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held mixer. Reserve any extra yams for another use.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Combine the flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, crystallized ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
Beat the roasted yam flesh on medium-low speed until smooth. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sugar and oil; beat on the lowest speed until smooth. Add the eggs, two at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition.
Add the flour mixture; beat on the lowest speed until just combined. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Use nonstick cooking oil spray to liberally grease the inside of the Bundt pan. Pour the batter into the pan, which should be no more than two-thirds full.
Bake for about 65 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into a tall ridge of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack; cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert it and extract the cake from the pan. Cool completely on the rack.
(At this point, place the cake in an airtight cake keeper and make the sauce; or wrap it well and freeze it for up to 2 weeks, then defrost and prepare the sauce before serving.)
For the sauce: Place the sifted confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl.
Combine the light brown sugar, almond milk and coconut oil in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat; cook for about 2 minutes, until the coconut oil melts and the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium; bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
Pour the hot mixture over the sifted confectioners' sugar. Whisk to form a smooth, loose sauce. Let it cool, whisking occasionally; the sauce will thicken only a bit as it cools.
While the sauce cools, make the glazed pecans: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
Spread the pecan halves on the prepared sheet. Toast for 8 to 10 minutes, then let cool.
Heat the maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat, then add the toasted, cooled pecan halves. Once the syrup starts to bubble at the edges, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 3 minutes or until the maple syrup is absorbed by the pecans. Turn off the heat; immediately transfer the contents of saucepan to the prepared baking sheet, spreading the nuts quickly in a single layer. Cool completely before using; the nuts will be slightly sticky.
When ready to serve the cake, ladle a few spoonfuls of sauce over each cake slice and garnish with maple-glazed pecan halves.
From California cooking instructor Linda Capeloto Sendowski.
Tested by Linda Capeloto Sendowski and Sheilah Kaufman.
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