Friday, October 16, 2009

Lunch Box Favorite: Sweet potato gingerbread

I love cakes that use a vegetable base, like carrot cake and pumpkin cake. It's a stretch to think of these kinds of cakes as health food, but as a treat, they're different from the usual vanillas and chocolates. This sweet potato gingerbread is just right for these cool autumn days. It's delicious without the frosting, but if you have kids, you can't get away with that, you simply must use the frosting and put a slice in your child's lunchbox every day that you possibly can. Your child will be the envy of the lunchbox crowd.

Sweet Potato Gingerbread with Cream Cheese Frosting

3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup baked, mashed sweet potato, at room temperature
1 tablespoon Grandma's molasses (or equivalent mild molasses, don't use blackstrap)
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350. Place rack in center of oven. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan.

2. In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, oil, and eggs and using a mixer, whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Add sweet potato, molasses, grated ginger, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. Add the flour and baking powder and soda to the batter and combine just until blended.

3. Pour batter into pan, using a spatula to evenly spread the batter. Bake until about 45 minutes (I use convection and it was spot on, 45 minutes.) A toothpick inserted in the center will come out quite nearly clean.

4. Let cake cool while you make:

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, (I usually have Neufchatel on hand)
1/2 stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups or more (to reach the desired consistency) confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. In a mixer, combine the butter and cream cheese and whip until smooth. Gradually, on low speed, add the powdered sugar until the frosting reaches the desired consistency. I like this frosting soft and melty.

2. Spread the frosting on the cool cake. Can sit out for a few hours, but put leftovers in the fridge. Subsequent servings from the fridge can be zapped for 10 seconds or so to remove the refrigerator chill.

2 comments:

Susan said...

This cake is yummy! Really moist and with the right amount of spices. And thanks for sharing it with us, Lucy!

The Teacher Cooks said...

This is great! I need to use all those sweet potatoes I have gotten in my produce. Thanks, The teacher cooks