I don’t really understand it, but there seems to be a lot of haterade surrounding green bean and sweet potato casseroles.
Why?? They’re so delicious. And generally fatty. Doesn’t that mean people should love them? I gather there’s a love hate relationship going on. To which I say, don’t fight it. Just eat cake instead.
Sweet potato casseroles: I’m thinking the negative vibes I’ve been hearing stem from the fact that they’re really dessert dressed up as a side dish, typically topped with either marshmallows or a pecan/brown sugar/flour mixture. This cake is a deconstructed sweet potato casserole that combines BOTH archetypes. Ground pecans, brown sugar and flour are baked into a nutty, lightly sweet cake.
And the frosting! Heidi describes her vanilla mashed sweet potatoes as having the “consistency of thick frosting.” Um, why not? Roasted sweet potatoes are pureed until silky and slathered on top of the cake. Finally, layer of marshmallows are broiled on top until they form an almost crunchy, gooey-underneath, caramelized lid.
I think this would make a perfect birthday cake for an open-minded dad (generally speaking, dads seem to belong to a category that likes nuts and also not-so-sweet things) OR a great ending to a Thanksgiving meal because who wouldn’t want to have sweet potato casserole twice? Or, this could be a great post-Thanksgiving dessert—during those happy leftover-eating days, you can revive any leftover mashed sweet potatoes with a splash of milk or butter and a whir in the blender, and use that to frost the cake.
As a public service health announcement, the cake is gluten-free and butter-free—it’s just buttery tasting thanks to the naturally buttery pecans. It’s like a miracle! But it still has calories, so try not to eat the entire thing. I know, I’m such a killjoy.
A deconstructed sweet potato casserole in the form of cake: wholesome, gluten-free pecan cake is layered with a smooth frosting made out of sweet potatoes and topped with broiled marshmallows.
- For the pecan cake:
- 2/3 cup pecan meal (or a scant 2/3 cup of pecans, ground into meal)
- 2/3 cup oat flour (gluten-free if necessary)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons baking powder (gluten-free if necessary)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons buttermilk or runny yogurt
- For the sweet potato frosting:
- 3/4 cup roasted sweet potato OR filling from a leftover sweet potato casserole
- ~6 tablespoons milk of your choice*
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar or maple syrup (more to taste)
- 1 tablespoon brown butter (optional; I'm curious if butter extract would work here to keep this vegan)
- 1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)
- ~1/2 cup mini marshmallows for topping
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease your cake pan of choice: I baked two layers separately in a 6-inch round cake pan, but you could also make this a one layer cake in a 8- or 9-inch cake pan and adjust the baking time accordingly.
Whisk the pecan meal, flour, cornstarch and baking powder together in a bowl.
In another bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk the eggs until frothy, yellow and thick. Add the brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla and buttermilk and whisk until combined.
Fold the wet into the dry until just combined.
If using the 6-inch pan: bake half the batter for 18 minutes, or until cake springs back lightly when touched. Let cool for five minutes, then release cake from pan and set aside to cool. Re-grease the cake pan (I didn’t wash it in between) and bake the rest of the batter for another 18 minutes until done. Set aside to cool while you make the frosting.
If using a 8- or 9-inch pan: pour all the batter into prepared cake pan and bake until cake springs back lightly when touched. I'm guessing this will take around 30 minutes, but check on the cake early and often since I haven't tried it this way; the cake may need more or less time.
For the sweet potato frosting:
Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender and blend until very smooth. In my blender, it was hard to get a smooth blend with the small amount of volume. If you double the recipe, you will have lot of leftover frosting, but it's so healthy and delicious, you can eat it with a spoon! Or over yogurt or whatever. OR you can save it for another special frosted recipe coming this week! hinthinthint
*You will need to eyeball the amount of milk you use depending on how much water your sweet potato has or how liquidy your leftover sweet potato casserole is. Add enough milk so that your frosting is easily spreadable but not runny. I started with 1/4 cup of milk and added more a tablespoon at a time until I reached a consistency I liked.
To assemble: Frost baked, cooled cake layers. Top with mini marshmallows and turn on broiler. Once broiler is heated, put the cake on a baking tray and broil for 30-60 seconds, or until marshmallows start to brown. Watch your cake the ENTIRE time because it is incredibly easy to scorch marshmallows under the broiler. Remove from oven and eat!
One time, I also turned a crepe cake into a sweet potato casserole. It was pretty sweet.
Got leftover pie? MAKE THESE PANCAKES. They are seriously so so good. Yes pie on carbs may sound a little over the top but Thanksgiving only comes around once a year!