Here’s recipe for a snacking cake that’s got a ton of flavor and is dense and full of warm spice. This recipe is from my December 2019 Times Union column. Read the whole thing here (the TU website), or here (mine). This month also included recipes for Roasted Red Pepper Soup and Roasted Red Cabbage with Olives and Pistachios.
The secret ingredient (that’s not a secret at all) is sweet potato. Mashed sweet potato adds heft to this simple cake and makes it moist and chewy. Save a bit of your morning coffee to stir in, as coffee heightens the flavor of chocolate. Cinnamon, clove and a pinch of cayenne lend a distinct flavor that goes well with chocolate.
The shiny chocolate frosting makes it beautiful and celebration worthy, but this humble cake is also just fine without it. Dust some powdered sugar over the top if you skip it, just to make the cake look pretty. Serve it up with cups of hot coffee, glasses of red wine or cold milk.
Chocolate Sweet Potato Spice CakeCourse: Stories, Sweets + DessertsDifficulty: Easy
1 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ cup packed brown sugar
⅓ cup cocoa powder (dutch or natural)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon clove
½ cup mashed sweet potato (see note)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ cup strong coffee
For the ganache:
½ cup half and half
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-inch square or round cake pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix together the sweet potato, butter, eggs and coffee and mix well, until no lumps of sweet potato are visible. Stir the wet ingredients in the dry and mix until just combined.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes.
- Make the ganache: pour the half and half into a glass bowl and microwave for one minute (if needed, microwave for 30 seconds more, until the cream is steamy hot.) Stir in the chocolate chips and continue stirring until smooth and glossy, about 2 minutes.
- Spread the ganache over the cake, cut into squares and serve.
- Note: You can measure about ½ cup mashed sweet potato from half of a medium-sized sweet potato. This cake is forgiving: it’s OK to use a little bit more — or less — sweet potato if that is what you’ve got.