Sweet potato cake

For a really unusual sweet treat, try Ashbell McElveen's spicy sweet potato cake topped with a honeyed orange sauce
By Ashbell McElveen
Sweet potato cake
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6-8
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus cooling
  • Effort: medium



  • 225 g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
  • 1 vanilla pod, split and the seeds scraped out
  • 200 g dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground mace
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 450 g mashed cooked sweet potatoes
  • 100 ml plain yogurt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 300 g plain flour
  • icing sugar, to serve

For the orange sauce:

  • 200 ml fresh orange juice
  • 3 oranges, peeled and segmented
  • 6 tbsp honey
  • dashes of freshly grated nutmeg


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4 and butter a 23cm round cake pan. In a large bowl, cream the softened butter with the vanilla seeds (reserve the pod for making the sauce), brown sugar, nutmeg, mace and salt.

2. Add the eggs and mix in until well blended, then add the sweet potatoes and yoghurt, and mix well.

3. Combine the baking powder and the flour and add to the mixture a little at a time, until all of the mix is incorporated and the results are smooth.

4. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the tip of a knife inserted into it comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.

5. While the cake is cooking, make the orange sauce: In a frying pan, heat the orange juice with the reserved vanilla bean, orange zest, honey and nutmeg. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3-5 minutes, or until it is a thick syrup. Add the orange segments, mix them well to coat and remove the vanilla bean.

6. Turn the cake out of the tin and dust with icing sugar to serve, spooning the warm sauce on top.

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