Celebrate baking season with this simple one-layer sweet potato cake that will fill your home with an irresistible sweet-spicy aroma that goes hand in hand with falling leaves and cool autumn temps. The Coffee-Tahini icing was inspired by a delicious Halva Latte from Sofra, a Mediterranean cafe in Cambridge, MA that my daughter shared with me on a recent visit. The smooth coffee flavor with a hint of sesame is a lovely combo with the moist sweet potato cake. You can, of course, skip the icing and sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar for a simple afternoon snack or weekday dessert. You might even sneak a piece of this yummy cake for breakfast on a busy morning!!
Sweet Potato Cake with Coffee-Tahini Icing
- electric mixer
- 2 sweet potatoes about 1-1/4 pounds total
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
- ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- ¾ buttermilk
- ½ cup mascarpone or cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (½ stick)
- ¾ cup powdered sugar, sifted
- ¼ teaspoon espresso instant coffee dissolved in ¼ teaspoon warm water
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Toasted sesame seeds for garnish, optional
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Pierce sweet potatoes in several places with sharp knife or fork and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake potatoes in center of oven until a knife easily penetrates the flesh, 50 to 75 minutes, depending on size of potatoes. Cool potatoes until able to handle, cut in half and scoop out flesh. Mash sweet potato flesh with a fork and cool completely. You will need 1-1/2 cups mashed sweet potato; reserve any additional for another use.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350ºF. Butter and flour a 9 by 2-inch round cake pan; set aside.
- Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl; set aside.
- Beat butter and sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add eggs one at a time, beating on medium speed until well combined. Add 1-1/2 cups mashed sweet potato and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl and add half the dry ingredients; mix on low speed just until incorporated, about 20 seconds. Add buttermilk and beat on low speed until blended and then add the remaining dry ingredients, mixing just until combined. Stir in any visible flour mixture by hand with a spatula. Scrape batter into prepared cake pan, smoothing the surface. Batter will be thick.
- Bake cake in the center of the 350ºF oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Remove to a cooling grid and let cool until able to handle pan, 20 to 30 minutes. Loosen edges of cake from the sides of the pan with thin knife and invert cake onto a cooling grid, tapping pan as necessary to release the cake. Invert cake so top is up and cool completely.
- To make icing: Make sure the butter and mascarpone or cream cheese are equally softened (about room temperature) and beat in a bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 30 seconds. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, mixing on low speed. Add dissolved instant espresso and mix on medium speed until combined, then add tahini and salt and beat just until smooth.
- Spread icing on top of cooled cake and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, if desired. Cut cake into wedges to serve. Store any leftovers, well wrapped, in refrigerator.
- Makes 12 to 16 servings.
The following prayer was written by Sr. Pat Bergen, Congregation of Sisters of St. Joseph, and often used to greet the day. I find it inspiring any time of day and particularly appropriate for a grace during the season of autumn harvest, abundance and thanksgiving.
Gracious God, Thank you for the gift of today. Refresh me. Invite me to discover your presence in each person that I meet and every event that I encounter. Teach me when to speak and when to listen, when to ponder and when to share. In moments of challenge and decision, attune my heart to the whisperings of your Wisdom. As I undertake ordinary and unnoticed tasks, gift me with simple joy. When my day goes well, may I rejoice. When it grows difficult, surprise me with new possibilities. When life is overwhelming, call me to Sabbath moments to restore your Peace and Harmony. May my living today reveal your Goodness.
Pat Bergen, C.S.J.