When I saw Yossy Arefi's "Gingery Sweet Potato Cake" in Snacking Cakes, I just assumed that the cake was made with mashed sweet potatoes. I've used sweet potatoes in baking before (like in this tart, this spice cake, and this pound cake), and all of those recipes require you to roast and then mash or puree the potatoes first. But as I read through Arefi's recipe, I realized that it includes raw, grated sweet potato. This seemed like such a weird idea. I mean, I know you can use raw grated carrots in a cake, but you can eat carrots raw. I was so curious about this grated potato cake that I had to give it a try.
Because you don't need to roast the sweet potato in this recipe, the cake comes together quickly, although you do need to spend some quality time with a box grater (or a food processor with a grating disk -- which was definitely my choice since it's so much easier and faster). This cake includes not just grated sweet potato, but also a grated pear. The headnote says that the pear "adds a bit of additional moisture and sweetness, but its flavor mostly melts into the background."
To make the batter, you whisk sugar and eggs until pale and foamy; add oil, ground ginger, cinnamon, and kosher salt; stir in grated sweet potato, grated pear, and chopped crystallized ginger; and fold in flour, baking power, and baking soda. You pour the batter into a parchment-lined pan and sprinkle on more crystallized ginger and some turbinado sugar before baking.
I thought this cake was terrific. I never would have guessed that you could put raw potato in a cake and have it taste this good!
Recipe: "Gingery Sweet Potato Cake" from Snacking Cakes by Yossy Arefi.
- "A Great Cake and a Happy Ending: Sweet Potato Spice Cake with Fresh Ginger and Pecan Streusel Topping," November 28, 2020.
- "Baked Sunday Mornings: Sweet Potato Tart with Gingersnap Crust and Heavenly Meringue," November 20, 2016.
- "One Cake Considered: Sweet Potato Pound Cake," October 31, 2009.