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10 August 2014

Sweet Potato Loaf Cake

Sweet potatoes are one of my most favourite foods, which is why they're perfect to kick off my shiny new blog! They're such a versatile vegetable, making them into all kinds of edible goodness: fries, mash, wedges, soups, cookies, breads - and my favourite, loaf cakes! Their natural sweetness aids its addition into cakes and cookies, and you can con your mind into thinking it's healthy because it's got a vegetable in it! It's a win-win situation, really.

Sliced sweet potato loaf cake bread. #baking

This loaf cake is among one of my favourite recipes, not too sweet but not too savory, you could eat it as a cake with a cup of tea or just on its own. It is soft in the crumb, with a slight gooey texture on the top, and you can't help but go back for a second slice!

My love of sweet potato started just last year. I have seen recipes using sweet potato before, seen it in the supermarket and on the menus, but just never tried it. I used to have quite a bland palate when I was younger and it's quickly been expanding, which I'm proud to say. So, when I saw sweet potato fries on a menu in a small sports bar in Jackson, Michigan in June 2013, I knew I couldn't pass up the chance to try proper sweet potato fries. And oh boy, did it deliver! To this day, they are the best sweet potato fries I've had. Now, because of that first meal off camp grounds, sweet potato cemented its place in my heart as one of my favourite foods.

sweet potato loaf cake in a tin

Working at a summer camp for two months with energetic kids of all ages for days on end, really made me appreciate good food - after eating the same things for weeks, everything tasted better outside of camp... maybe because it came with a slice of freedom?

It was during my time in America that I tried so many new things...  I had my first taste of a mouthwatering Cinnabon (melt in your mouth goodness that we don't have here in the UK! The horror!), Birthday Cake Remix ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery, Birthday Cake Oreo cookies, pulled pork burgers at an authentic BBQ grill... and the best sweet potato fries EVER.

sliced sweet potato loaf cake on a plate. #baking

So thank you America, I owe a lot to you. I'll be back again one day to eat you out of sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato Loaf Cake
Makes one 9x5 inch loaf tin.
Adapted from Averie Cooks.

1 1/2 cups (375g) mashed sweet potato  (2 medium or 1 large)
3-5 tablespoons of water
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
1/4 cup (60ml) Greek yoghurt (or buttermilk, yoghurt, sour cream)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (195g) all purpose flour
3/4 cup (150) of granulated sugar
1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (or baking soda to Americans)
1 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (Gas mark 4 or 180C). Grease and lightly flour on 9x5 inch loaf pan or place a loaf liner in the pan.
  2. Peel the sweet potatoes and chop them into roughly 1-inch sized chunks. Place the chunks into a microwave-safe bowl. Add 3-5 tablespoons of water, cover with plastic wrap, and cook on high power for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Pour off any excess water and then mash sweet potatoes with a fork. Allow them to cool on the side. 
  3. Once potatoes are cool enough to not scramble the eggs, add the eggs, oil, yoghurt (or substitution), vanilla and whisk until combined, then set aside. 
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients - flour, both sugars, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, mixed spice, cloves, and whisk to combine. Pour the wet sweet potato mixture over the dry ingredients, stir to incorporate. I find it easy to use a spatula for this, to ensure all sides of the bowl are scraped down and everything is incorporated. Stir and fold with a gentle hand as to not over-mix and over-develop the gluten, which can result in a tougher bread. 
  5. Pour mixture out into prepared loaf tin, smoothing the top slightly with spatula. Bake in the oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until top is golden, loaf is springy to touch and a knife comes out clean. 
  6. Allow bread to cool in tin for 10-15 minutes before placing onto a wire rack to fully cool. This loaf cake can keep for up to 1 week in room temperature. I store mine in a air tight box, once cooled completely, which I find is best to keep the loaf soft. I have also frozen and plastic wrapped single slices and they defrost perfectly at room temperature and within one hour are ready to eat again! They can keep for up to one month in the freezer.

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