As much as I’m a little bit glad the festive season is over, I’m not quite ready to let go of all the festive flavours just yet. I love anything laden with spice: cinnamon, ginger, cardamom… and it’s the perfect time of year to eat them. With that in mind I decided to have a little play with a slightly lighter, more interesting spiced sponge – and because, lets be honest, the world and their dog are on diets at the moment so if you can shove a vegetable in a cake it’s healthy, right?
It was my dear friend Laura’s birthday this week, so unfortunately she ended up being my guinea pig. I say unfortunately, but actually I think this cutie went down rather well! My new favourite vegetable cake, it’s really rather nice.
SWEET POTATO LAYER CAKE WITH GINGER FROSTING
- 280g plain flour
- 2 heaped teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- pinch of salt
- 150g butter, at room temperature
- 150g soft light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, free range or organic
- 260g pureed sweet potato*
- 100g natural yoghurt
- A little spiced rum, for brushing
- 150g butter, at room temperature
- 400g icing sugar, sifted
- 150g cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped stem ginger
- 75 melted dark chocolate (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180. Grease and line the base of 2 x 6″ spring form cake tins.
Sift together the flour, ground cinnamon and ginger, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl. In a separate bowl mix together the sweet potato puree and yoghurt.
Using a freestanding mixer, or electric hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Stop occasionally to scrape the mixture off of the side of the bowl with a spatula. Add the vanilla to the butter and cream the eggs in one by one. Add the dry ingredients and slowly mix in, until just combined, don’t over work it. Fold in the sweet potato and yoghurt mixture then divide evenly between the two tins. Bake on the middle shelf of your oven for around 35 minutes until cooked through. Leave the sponges to cool in the tins for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Whilst the cakes are cooling make your frosting. Clean your freestanding/ electric mixer and cream the butter until pale and light. Drain any excess liquid from the cream cheese and beat into the butter, only just enough to mix the two together – too much and it becomes runny. Beat half the sifted icing sugar into the mix, and when fully combine beat in the remaining half. When its smooth beat in the chopped stem ginger, with a little of the syrup from the jar and leave to one side. If your frosting has become a little runny, pop in a bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up. If you want to use the chocolate (and it is delicious) swirl the cool but melted chocolate into the frosting and mix together. I keep mine a little rippled so that it has an interesting pattern when I frost the cake.
How you decorate your cake it up to you! Just remember to brush the sponges with a little spiced rum as you go. You can keep it as two cakes, frost them together and coat. Cut the sponges with a round biscuit cutter and make mini layer cakes (I cut rounds from the large cakes, and then slice those in half horizontally to make 4 layer mini cakes – see below). Or slice to two large cakes in half horizontally and create an open sided layer cake. The choice is yours.
* To make the sweet potato puree I peeled a couple of sweet potatoes, cut them into chunks and boiled them until cooked through. Drain and leave to cool and then blitz in a blender with just enough water to puree.