Thursday, November 20, 2008
Cake Slice: Halloween Sweet Potato Cake
Welcome to the second installment of the Cake Slice, a monthly group baking cakes from the book "Sky High, Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes" by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne.
Up this month... Halloween Sweet Potato Cake, a moist spice cake filled with orange cream filling and covered with chocolate cream cheese frosting. I know, mine doesn't look like chocolate anything... don't worry, I'll explain.
This cake was moist and flavorful, with no real hint of sweet potato. It was lightly spiced, I thought. I tend to like "spicier" spice cake, but my neighbor across the street raved about it. She said it was in her "Top-10" favorites of the recipes I've baked.
I cheated again this month and didn't follow the directions exactly. (I'm two-for-two for not following the Cake Slice recipes, but I promise I will next month!) You see, I'm burned out on pairing chocolate and spice. It seems like I've baked so many recipes lately with that combo and I'm just not a fan of it. To me, those flavors stand on their own, and combining them diminishes them both. Guess you can't teach this old dog any new tricks, at least with respect to chocolate (stop messing with chocolate, people, please!)
Soooo, I went with cream cheese flavored icing and filling (why mess with a classic?). I also quartered the recipe and baked it in 4-inch pans.
I decided to play around a little and dress up this little tower of cake. A few drop strings and a fondant daisy that's been languishing on my "unused decorations" shelf and there you go!
OK, that's it for now... over and out until next month!
Sweet Potato Cake
2 medium or 1 large sweet potato (12 ounces)
3 cups of cake flour**
3 teaspoons of baking powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of cloves
5 eggs, separated
2 and 1/4 cups of sugar
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons of butter, at room temperature
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 and 1/4 cups of milk
(**The recipe calls for cake flour and if you only have all-purpose flour on hand, you can substitute 3/4 cup (105 grams) all purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons (30 grams) cornstarch.)
(*If fresh sweet potato is not available where you live you may use canned sweet potato, yams, and pumpkin puree)
Makes a 9-inch triple layer cake, serves 16-20 people
1. Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Prick the sweet potatoes in 2-3 places, place on a small baking dish and bake for 1 hour or until the potatoes are very soft. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.
2. Reduce the oven temperature to 350F degrees. Butter the bottoms and the sides of the pans and line with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper also.
3. When the sweet potatoes are cool peel off the skin and remove any dark spots. Cut the potatoes into chunks and puree in a food processors. Puree until smooth. Measure out one cup of potato puree and set aside.
4. Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves. Set aside.
5. In the bowl of electric mixer add the egg whites and attach whip attachment. Beat on medium speed until egg whites are frothy. raise the speed to high and gradually beat in 1/4 cup of sugar. Continue to beat until the egg whites are moderately stiff.
6. In another large bowl with the paddle attachment, combine the sweet potato, butter, vanilla, and remaining sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl after each egg yolk is added. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and milk in alternately in 2-3 additions. making sure to begin and end with the dry ingredients.
7. With a large spatula, fold in one fourth of the egg whites into the batter to lighten. Then fold in the remaining egg whites until no streaks remain. Making sure to not over mix or this will deflate the batter. Divide the batter among of the three pans.
8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake layers cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then turn out the cake layers onto a wire rack and cool completely at least 1 hour.
9. To assemble the cake, place one layer flat side up on to a cake stand. With a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip and filled with chocolate cream cheese icing, pipe border around the edge of the cake. Fill the center with the orange cream filling smoothing it to the edge of the border. Place the second layer on top and repeat the process.Place the third layer on top and use all the chocolate cream cheese frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake.
Chocolate Cream Frosting:
makes 3 cups
10 ounces cream cheese*** at room temperature
1 stick of butter at room temperature
16 ounces of powdered sugar; sifted
1 and 1/2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate melted and slightly cooled
(***1 cup of cream cheese maybe substituted with 1 cup pureed cottage cheese OR 1 cup plain yogurt, strained overnight in a cheesecloth OR equal amounts of neufatel cheese)
1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar to cream cheese butter mixture. Making sure to scrape down the sides the sides of the bowl. Then beat until light fluffy 2-3 minutes.
2. Measure out 1 cup of frosting and set aside.
3. Add the melted chocolate to the remaining icing in the bowl and beat until well combined.
Orange Cream Filling:
1 cup of reserved cream cheese icing from above.
2 tablespoons of frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/4 teaspoon of orange extract
1. Stir together all the ingredients until well mixed.