Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sweet potato gingerbread with cream cheese frosting

If you're like me, you may have some extra sweet potatoes lurking in the vegetable drawer. They didn't make it into the Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole or maybe you regularly bake sweet potatoes and have some leftover baked sweet potato on hand. This cake is a great way to use them up. Just like banana bread takes care of surplus bananas, yielding a tender, spicy cake, this gingerbread uses sweet potato mash to add moisture and flavor to a tasty autumn treat. This makes a nice afterschool snack with a glass of milk or a mug of hot tea.

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.) package1/3 less fat cream cheese
1/2 stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups confectioner's sugar (10X)

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.

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