You must have a birthday coming up, right?
Or…a half birthday? Quarter?
Alright, well. Don’t worry about it. We’ll think of something. Anything. To get this baby into your kitchen.
I’m a woman on a sweet potato cake mission. You don’t want to mess with that.
Yes, there are sweet potatoes in the cake.
I felt very “Jessica Seinfeld” about this. Which, um, is never a good thing.
But then when I saw how many sticks of butter went into the filling and frosting…I forgave myself. And forged ahead.
Butter makes everything better. Especially vegetable cake guilt. Truth.
And if you choose not to tell your family and friends that there is an orange tuber lurking within the moist and seductive layers of this confection? I’ll totally understand.
My brother refused to try it purely based on this fact alone.
I would have argued with him. But I totally took a “more for me” approach to this entire situation. It was for the best.
So…tomorrow is your nine-month-and-four-days-till-the-real-thing birthday?
Perfect. Let’s do this.
Sweet Potato and Ginger Layer Cakes
Makes two 8-inch layers to be split in two, adapted from Sweetapolita
- 2 lb sweet potatoes
- 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
- 2 cups cake flour
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp dark rum
- 3/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans and put a round of parchment inside, cutting out the parchment so that it fits the bottom of the pan.
- Place the sweet potatoes on a microwave-safe plate and pierce them all over with a fork. Microwave until they are tender, about 7-8 minutes per side. Carefully remove the skin when cool enough to touch and mash the flesh into a coarse puree.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed (#6 on a KitchenAid) until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the oil and beat on medium until combined. Add the cooled sweet potato puree and mix until combined.
- Sift the dry ingredients together (cake flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger). Add to sweet potato mixture. Mix in vanilla and dark rum. Gently stir in crystallized ginger.
- Evenly distribute the batter into the prepared pans (weigh them if possible!). Smooth with an offset spatula knife and place in the center of the middle rack of the oven. Bake until a knife or a skewer inserted comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let pans cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack and cool them completely.
Whipped Toasted Marshmallow Filling
Adapted from Sweetapolita
- 16 white marshmallows
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
- 1 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
- 2 tbsp almond milk or regular milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 7.5 oz marshmallow fluff
- pinch of salt
- Place marshmallows on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place on lower rack of oven and broil marshmallows until nice and brown on top (beware – they burn VERY quickly!). Remove the tray from the oven and carefully turn them over until the other side browns. Remove tray from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
- In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 8 minutes or until very pale and fluffy.
- Add the sifted confectioner’s sugar, milk, vanilla and pinch of salt. Beat for another 6 minutes.
- Add toasted and cooled marshmallows as well as fluff, mixing on low speed for 2 minutes.
- Best used right away, keep at room temperature.
Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Makes about 5 cups, adapted from Sweetapolita
- 5 large egg whites
- 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- few pinches of cinnamon, to taste
- Wipe the bowl and whisk attachment of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and brown sugar and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 140-160°F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot, about 5 minutes if you used room temperature egg whites. About 8 if they were cold.
- With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes or so). Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if it curdles, keep mixing on medium-low and it will come back to smooth).
- Add vanilla, salt and cinnamon, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.