Aran Goyoaga’s Spiced Sweet Potato Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
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Move aside, pumpkin bread; there’s a new loaf in town. It’s Aran Goyoaga’s spiced sweet potato cake with cream cheese frosting, and it just so happens to be gluten free (along with all the other delights from her new cookbook, Cannelle et Vanille Bakes Simple).
“This is a tall, spiced snack cake to serve during autumn and winter days alongside hot tea or a cup of coffee,” she writes. “The cake, which is naturally dairy free, comes alive when paired with the tangy cream cheese frosting. If you want to make the frosting dairy free as well, note that you might have to refrigerate it after whipping, as plant-based cream cheeses tend to be much softer than their regular counterparts. You can make the cake batter with roasted pumpkin or canned pumpkin puree in place of sweet potato.”
And as Goyoaga notes in her book, if you’re not avoiding gluten, you can make this cake with traditional wheat flour too. Just add up the weights of the flours called for (so, 210 plus 150) and replace the amount with all-purpose flour. The texture will be slightly different, but the flavor will be just as delicious.
©2021 by Aran Goyoaga. Excerpted from Cannelle et Vanille Bakes Simple: A New Way to Bake Gluten-Free by permission of Sasquatch Books.
8 ounces (225g) cream cheese or dairy-free cream cheese spread, at room temperature
1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup (115g) unsalted butter or dairy-free butter, at room temperature
¼ cup (55g) whole-milk sour cream or dairy-free sour cream
1 large sweet potato
⅔ cup (150g) neutral oil, such as grapeseed, plus more for greasing
4 large eggs
1 cup (200g) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1½ cups (210g) sorghum flour
1½ cups (150g) almond flour
¼ cup (35g) finely chopped candied ginger, plus more for topping
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1. Make the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla seeds (or extract) together on medium-high speed until the mixture is airy, soft and creamy, about 3 minutes. Make sure there are no large lumps of cream cheese.
2. Add the butter and continue beating on medium speed until very airy, about 2 minutes. Scrape the paddle and side of the bowl to make sure everything is well incorporated, then add the sour cream and continue beating until the frosting is creamy and fluffy. It will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Before using, bring the frosting to room temperature for a couple of hours and beat again until light.
3. Make the cake: In a medium saucepan, cover the sweet potato with cold water, then cover with a lid. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat and cook the sweet potato until the center can be easily pierced with a knife, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and cool the sweet potato until it is safe to handle. Peel, mash the flesh with a fork, then measure 1½ cups (340g) of the puree. Keep the rest for another use.
4. Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease the inside of an 8½-by-4½-inch loaf pan with vegetable oil, then line with a piece of parchment paper large enough to hang over the sides. (This will help you lift the cake out of the pan after baking.) Because this is a tall and hefty cake, be sure to use a 1-pound loaf pan.
5. In a large bowl, whisk together the sweet potato puree, vegetable oil, eggs, brown sugar and orange zest until smooth.
6. In a small bowl, stir together both flours, the candied ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cardamom. Add the dry ingredients into the sweet potato mixture and whisk to combine.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 1 hour 25 minutes to 1 hour 35 minutes. If the cake begins to brown too much, cover the top with a piece of aluminum foil. Cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack. Cool the cake completely, then spread the frosting all over the top and sprinkle the candied ginger over it. The cake will keep tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to three days.