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Brown Sugar-Sweet Potato Cake

Brown Sugar-Sweet Potato Cake 16.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Treats Nov 12, 2014

Baking-wise, an effective way to develop the flavor of sweet potato is to merge molasses, dark brown sugar and a collection of spices in a batter or dough, and balance it all with vanilla extract. The presence of those ingredients highlights the essence of the vegetable.

Make Ahead: The cake can be made a day in advance and kept (covered) at room temperature.

Where to Buy: Canned sweet potato puree is available at Mom's Organic Markets and at Whole Foods Markets.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 16 servings; makes one 10-inch cake

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, preferably fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons light unsulphured molasses
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 15 ounces canned sweet potato puree (may substitute canned pure pumpkin puree)
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat the inside of a 10-inch Bundt pan with flour-and-oil cooking spray.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves onto a sheet of wax paper.

Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer on medium speed for 4 minutes, or until quite creamy. Stop to scrape down the bowl.

Add the dark brown sugar in three additions, beating for 1 minute after each one. Add the granulated sugar and beat for 1 minute longer. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing for 30 seconds after each addition, to blend. Stop to scrape down the bowl. Blend in the molasses and vanilla extract on low speed.

Add the sweet potato puree; beat on low speed to incorporate. The mixture might look slightly curdled at this point, but it will smooth out once the sifted mixture is introduced. Continuing on low speed, add the sifted mixture in three additions, stopping to scrape down the bowl after each one and mixing just until absorbed. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the top. Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in the cake emerges clean. The baked cake will pull away slightly from the sides of the baking pan.

Transfer (in the pan) to a wire cooling rack to cool for 10 minutes, then invert the cake onto a separate cooling rack and remove the pan. Cool completely. Store in an airtight cake keeper.

Sift confectioners' sugar over the top of the cake before slicing and serving.

Recipe Source

From Lisa Yockelson, author of "Baking Style: Art, Craft, Recipes" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 340

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 13g 20%

Saturated Fat: 8g 40%

Cholesterol: 75mg 25%

Sodium: 250mg 10%

Total Carbohydrates: 51g 17%

Dietary Fiber: 2g 8%

Sugar: 29g

Protein: 5g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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