Spiced Sweet Potato and Walnut Cake

This easy spiced sweet potato and walnut cake is a recipe by Waitrose

If I said to you I’ve got a recipe for a really nice sweet potato cake I wouldn’t blame you if you looked at me blankly or with a snear. I would have probably done the same, if I had not seen a picture of this cake beforehand.

I really like sweet potato so it’s not that far fetched that I may like it in a cake but I’m always very cautious when it comes to using vegetables in cake. Carrot cake is a given, you are always going to be safe with that and you can be 100% sure it’s going to taste good (especially this linked recipe). Also I have found a great recipe for Chocolate Courgette cake. But when it comes to other vegetables being used to create slightly unusual flavours of cakes, I’m weary. Using vegetables doesn’t always work and if a cake isn’t worth the calories then I feel cheated!

I was obviously very pleased this cake didn’t leave me feeling that way. It was the picture and description of this cake that made me want to try it. The fact that it was spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger ticked a box and then the walnuts and cream cheese frosting made me think it could be similar to carrot cake.

When I was baking it, Pete turned his nose up at my response when he asked what it was. However even he, as someone who wouldn’t really eat sweet potato given the choice, was surprised how nice this cake tasted. All the flavours work really well together. The sponge is made with oil instead of butter so it’s very soft and bouncy but the walnuts give it a nice crunch and texture. The cream cheese frosting also really works, with the zest of a lime giving it a slight twist against the spice in the cake sponge.

Another great thing about this cake is that it doesn’t take long to make. You have to bake the sweet potatoes first and give them a bit of time to cool, which is the longest part but that’s hands off so it doesn’t really count.

This cake works well as something a bit different when you have guests round and goes well with a cup of tea or can even work as a dessert after an evening meal. Or of course, any time you fancy it. I will definitely be making it again!

Ingredients for the spiced sweet potato cake

300 g sweet potatoes

135g plain flour

135ml rapeseed oil

1 tsp baking powder

2 large eggs

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp fine salt

3/4 tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp ground nutmeg

3/4 tsp ground ginger

165g caster sugar

100g walnuts toasted and roughly chopped

For the cream cheese icing

2 tbsp caster sugar

200g softy cheese

1 unwaxed lime

Handful of chopped walnuts toasted and roughly chopped.

Recipe instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC, gas mark 6. Prick the sweet potatoes several times with a sharp knife. Grease them with oil and place on a baking tray. Bake for 50 minutes until soft, then set aside to cool. Peel the potatoes (the skin should pull away easily) and mash the with a fork (you should be left with about 200g)
  2.  Grease and line a 900g loaf tin. Reduce the oven to 170ºC, gas mark 3. In a large mixing bowl, measure out all the dry ingredients and mix well. Next add the oil and eggs and whisk for 1 minute.
  3. Add the sweet potato and whisk for another minute until the mixture is creamy and smooth.
  4. Fold the nuts through the mixture and pour into the prepared cake tin. Bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave the cake in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Cream cheese icing

  1. In a bowl beat together the soft cheese, sugar and lime zest until well mixed. Once the cake is cool, spread the icing over the top and sprinkle the walnuts on top before serving.

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