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.


The Food Librarian said...

Oh my goodness! So adorable! I love it! This was a yummy cake to make...can't wait for next month's selection!

Marthe said...

I love how you dressed the cake up: it looks great!!

Rosie said...

WOW this is stunning! Well done on a great bake the cake was loved in my household too :)

Rosie x

Anonymous said...

I love it ... big time. And I agree with you about messing with chocolate.

La Pinche Cocinera said...

Beautiful Cake!!!

Maria said...

Your cake is GORGEOUS!! I love it!

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

Your tower of a cake is beautiful! I would love a slice of it!!

Cathy said...

Your cake is just breathtaking! I think you've improved the original recipe by going with cream cheese icing. To me, that's a classic, complementary flavor combo that just can't be beat!

Snooky doodle said...

wow this is a work of art :) this is really sky high. Looks so nice like a wedding cake. seems delicious too. Amazing !

Mary Ann said...

Super cute! Do you want to come over and make another one for my daughter's b-day? Great job!

Engineer Baker said...

Wow, that's just gorgeous. And now I need mini cake pans. Dangit.

Katie said...

WOW! Your cake looks stunning and so tall. I love how you made a smaller one and the decoration is fantastic!

TeaLady said...

This cake is adorable. A mini- mini. Looks good to me.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

i'd rave about it, too--it looks beautiful! such sweet decoration, and i bet it was great with regualr cc frosting!

Bunny said...

Your cake is BEAUTIFUL!!!! You know what I just can't wrap my mind around, the combination of chocolate and pumpkin. I know there are tons of recipes out there that combine those two but I just can't, it doesn't even sound good to me. Your cake is fantastic!

Jo said...

Wow, your cake looks too too lovely to eat. Excellent job!

Megan said...

Oh my gosh - you're killing me with the designs!!

By hey - I noticed my cake had the same large air pockets that yours did!

Tammy said...

that looks beautiful! and I love the daisy!!!

Kevin said...

Great looking sweet potato cake!

The Caked Crusader said...

What a pretty cake! Almost too pretty to eat. Almost.....

Jin Hooi said...

awww.. so nice !!! I tried this last week and it turned out to be a kitchen disaster .. i think i will try again this week and blog about it . well done !!

Grace said...

you, my dear, must have an incredibly steady hand. if i attempted that, it'd probably end up looking like a jackson pollack painting. :)

Janna said...

It's beautiful! I love the way to dolled up that cake!

SiHaN said...

oh wow.. love love love the size and the fondant flower on top!

Caroline said...

Wow your cake is so adorable. Love the icing garlands and hearts, too!SO SO pretty!

Linda said...

Too CUTE!!! It's too beautiful to eat ... well almost...this cake was way delicious!

Lynn said...

Wowie. I can make a cake with the best of them, but, have absolutely no skill when it comes to decorating. I am so jealous. This is just fantastic looking.

Joanna said...

this is so beautiful and elegant.... and very tall!!!! i don't even know how i'd eat it. haha well that's a lie. i'd find a way. chocolate cream cheese frosting almost sounds too good to be true... almost!

Pamela said...

Cute cake. I'm loving the daisy!

Gigi said...

OMG! What a stunning little cake!you did an AMAZING job!

Mom2three said...

This is just absolutely too gorgeous to eat! I don't know how you can stand to cut into it. It looks like a wonderfully yummy sky scrapper of a cake!

Theresa said...

What a pretty cake!! Well done.

Vera said...

Jacque, the cake is so cute!