I love sweet potatoes, but generally I only love them for Thanksgiving or similar occasions. They’re hardly ever on my weekly menu. Naturally, I made sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving; I just couldn’t neglect them. But here’s the catch; when you go Thanksgiving shopping you always tend to buy way more than you actually need for that special turkey meal. I was no exception. The sweet potato recipe I used this year called for 5 pounds of sweet potatoes. I only used half that amount but the damage had already been done; the shopping was over and the pantry was still overflowing with potatoes. So, what do you do with those extra sweet potatoes staring at you? You make Maple Sweet Potato Cake. Best decision ever!
I was flicking trough the November issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray when I stumbled upon this gorgeous cake. At first, it didn’t jump off the page to greet me and it didn’t really speak to me either. But I desperately wanted to use those extra sweet potatoes, so this recipe looked like the perfect candidate. I didn’t expect the final result to be so utterly sublime. It was probably because of all those drunken golden raisins.
The color of this cake is simply stunning. That vibrant orangey hue reminds me of summer; but the sweet potato flavor, the smokiness and warmth of the amber maple syrup, and the dust of white sugar on top make it so festive, elegant and wintery. I love how dense and moist this cake is with small chunks of sweet potatoes spread throughout. It’s also sweet, though not overly sugary that you can’t stop gulping gallons of water after just one bite.
And then there’s that faint booziness from, well, all those rum infused golden raisins. I’m a fan of any recipe that requires soaking dried fruit in alcohol because it brings them back to life. That’s why I doused a decent amount of golden raisins in a pool of rum and they thanked me for it. They became plump, full of life and full of – wait for it – rum. I urge you to try it, too; you’ll thank me later. Simply put, this cake is bold, beautiful and bursting with seasonal spices and flavors and, of course, rum. Enjoy!
Maple Sweet Potato Cake
Adapted from Every Day with Rachael Ray (November 2012)
Makes: 10 to 12 servings
· 2 lbs. sweet potatoes (about 2 medium potatoes)
· ½ cup golden raisins
· ¾ cup rum
· 2 cups flour
· 2 teaspoons baking powder
· ¼ teaspoon salt
· 1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
· ¾ cup (packed) light brown sugar
· ¾ cup pure maple syrup
· 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
· 3 large eggs, at room temperature
· Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Generously grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan. In a small bowl, add the raisins and rum; let sit.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Pierce each sweet potato several times with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Bake until very tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Cut the sweet potatoes in half and scoop out the flesh until you have 1 cup.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar using an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. On low speed, mix in the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the sweet potatoes, then the flour mixture ½ cup at a time until incorporated. Drain the raisins; add them to the batter using a spatula. Pour into the pan, smoothing the top.
Bake the cake until springy in the center and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack; let cool for 30 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan, transfer the cake to a plate and dust with confectioners’ sugar.
Poftă Bună! (Bon Appétit!)