Ok, I'll admit that sweet potato pound cake has been done. I've seen it. I've googled it. It exists. While many of the recipes I've seen looked quite delicious, my intent was to make a sweet potato pound cake that was just a little different. No nuts, no cinnamon (although cinnamon and sweet potatoes make a mighty fine combination), and no dense heaviness. I wanted something that would celebrate the sweet potato as something worthy of a Spring food. Something light, citrusy, and sweet. To be honest, my first attempt was a bit of a bomb. Methinks I used too much sweet potato. Or maybe I didn't bake it enough. Oh, it was tasty, but the end result had a ribbon of paste near the bottom that was quite unappealing. So it was back to the drawing board.....
Everyone knows about Sarah Lee Pound Cake, right? My dad was a baker, and we still had Sarah Lee in the house when I was growing up. It is a bit of moist delish in a little foil pan. I was kind of going for that kind of texture, but with a beautiful sweet potato/citrus flavor. Not to toot my own horn, but---toot, toot---I succeeded beyond my expectations. Without further ado, here is my recipe:
Orange Scented Sweet Potato Pound Cake
1 cup butter, softened (I use unsalted butter)1 ½ cups granulated sugar
¾ cup cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ginger paste (or ½ teaspoon powdered ginger)
2 ½ cups cake flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cardamom
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange peel (I used the peel of one orange)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream the butter in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Gradually add the sugar, beating at low speed, then increase the mixer speed to high and beat until pale and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl sides after each addition. After all eggs are in, beat several minutes at high speed until the mixture is smooth and very pale. Beat in the sweet potatoes, ginger paste, vanilla and orange juice.
As long as I had the orange left over from grating the rind, I thought I'd add a little of the juice to the batter.
I found this ginger paste in the produce section of the grocery store. It gives the cake a subtle ginger flavor, but you can sub ground ginger or even fresh ginger, if you prefer.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom. Beating at low speed, add the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the milk. Stir in the orange peel.
Isn't it a pretty color?
Pour the batter into two greased and floured 8"X4" loaf pans (I like to use foil pans...maybe because I'm reminded of Sarah Lee...or maybe because I'll eventually bring one to work or give one away and the foil pan is easy to transport). Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, or until the top springs back when touched. Let the cakes cool completely on a wire rack before removing from pan to slice.
They smelled incredible at this point.
Take a close look at the crumb. The texture was very light and moist, and the orange, ginger and cardamom complimented the sweet potato perfectly. It tasted like Spring. Sweet potatoes really aren't just for Thanksgiving!
Perfect for breakfast with a cup of coffee or tea.
So that is my sweet potato pound cake story. Don't go thinking, however, that I'm done with the sweet potato. At the risk of turning orange from all of the beta-carotene, I have a couple more ideas.....