Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Matthew's Sweet Potato Cake with Banana Frosting

We celebrated my nephew's first birthday on January 1. He was actually born the day after Christmas last year, but his mom decided that a New Year's Day brunch would be a good way to celebrate.

He's not old enough to pick his own cake flavors like his cousins do, so his mom suggested two of his favorite baby food flavors: sweet potato and banana.

At first I was a little hesitant about the flavor combo--it sounded a little strange--but it turned out to be one of the best cakes I've ever made. My family of eight adults, two kids and a baby finished the whole thing!

Somehow the rich, slightly spicey, moist sweet potato cake is perfectly matched by the buttery banana frosting.

Sweet Potato Cake

2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice or cloves
1/2 cup butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup mashed sweet potato (about 1 medium sweet potato, baked then mashed)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans. (I lined the bottom with parchment which made getting the cake out very easy).

2. Sift the flour together with the baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves/allspice.

3. Mix together the buttermilk and sweet potato in a small bowl.

4. Cream the butter in a large bowl. Slowly add the white and brown sugars, creaming well, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, beating. Alternately stir in the flour mixture and the potato mixture in four parts.

5. Pour or spoon the batter (it's pretty thick) into the cake pans. Spread so the batter is even.

6. Bake on a center rack for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool for ten minutes before turning out. Cool completely before frosting.


Banana Frosting


1/4 cup butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mashed banana
1/4 teaspoon white vinegar
4 cups confectioner's sugar

Cream the butter with the salt. Stir in the banana and vinegar. Add the confectioner's sugar in parts until the frosting has achieved a thick, spreadable consistency.

The frosting is very sweet so spread it on the cake in a pretty thin layer.

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