Food & Drinkrecipes

Grandbaby Cakes’ Sweet Potato Pound Cake

by Kristina Gill

Today’s recipe comes from Jocelyn Delk Adams, the woman behind Grandbaby Cakes blog.  Jocelyn is someone I’ve been following on Twitter for quite a while, and, like Erika Dudley (who shared her mocha bread puddings at the beginning of the month), I secretly wish I could be her neighbor so I could regularly taste all of the baked goods she develops.  She chose to share her recipe for sweet potato pound cake because of the prominence of the sweet potato in African American cuisine. You will notice that my icing on the cake is not as smooth as it should be… Make sure you pour the icing over the cake as soon as you make it to avoid this problem!  –Kristina

About Jocelyn: Jocelyn Delk Adams is the founder of Grandbaby Cakes, a popular food blog inspired by her grandmother. Grandbaby Cakes is devoted to classic desserts, modern trends and showcasing the pastry field in an accessible way. Jocelyn’s blog has has won multiple awards, including Yahoo! Shine’s Best Holiday Recipes and a nomination for best food blog from The Kitchn Homies. She has been featured on The New York Times Online, Ebony Magazine, Pillsbury.com, Refinery 29, Cupcakes and Cashmere, Fox News, Chicago Sun-Times front page and Splash Magazine, among others. Jocelyn hopes Grandbaby Cakes inspires a new generation of dessert enthusiasts to learn to bake and not feel guilty about enjoying dessert.

Click through for the full recipe after the jump!


Sweet Potato Pound Cake w/ Spiced Brown Butter Glaze

For the Cake
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup mashed roasted sweet potato
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Spiced Browned Butter Glaze
  • 1/2 stick butter, unsalted
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. To the bowl of your mixer, add butter, both sugars and sweet potato.  Cream ingredients on high until fluffy and smooth, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add eggs one at a time into the mixture.
  4. Next turn mixer speed to slow and slowly add in cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon and nutmeg, beating after each addition.
  5. Lastly, add in vanilla extract and beat on slow speed until mixture is smooth.
  6. Spray loaf pan with non-stick baking spray and pour cake batter into pan.
  7. Begin checking the cake to see if it is done after 35 minutes.  Bake for 35-50 minutes, some ovens may take longer.  The cake is done when a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Remove cake from oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes in the pan.  After ten minutes, gently remove cake from its pan and place it on a wire rack to cool completely.
For the glaze, add butter to a small saucepan and carefully melt over medium low heat on your stovetop.  Continue to watch until the butter turns a golden brown color and the smell is sort of nutty. Once butter gets to this point, quickly remove and whisk in powdered sugar, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon and milk until mixture is smooth and pourable.

Drizzle glaze over completely cooled cake and serve.

Why Jocelyn loves this recipe
The first recipe I ever learned to bake was a pound cake.  It really has sentimental value for me as it serves as a precious reminder of being in the kitchen with my mother, grandmother and aunt, and was the catalyst for me learning to bake more recipes.  There is something so pure and classic about its texture, structure and taste.  The simplicity of it is endearing but its presentation always seems like more time was spent creating it.  The idea of adding sweet potatoes to a classic recipe was one I have wanted to try for a while.  Sweet potatoes have played such a big role in African American culture.  There wasn’t a Sunday dinner in my house that was served without candied sweet potatoes.  Combining the two culturally significant foods into one was a no-brainer.  I love how subtle the sweet potato flavor, spices and sweetness are in this moist and comforting cake.  The browned butter icing not only complements it, but takes it over the edge.  I could enjoy this cake with a cup of tea for breakfast or double the recipe, bake it in a lovely bundt pan and serve it extravagantly at a dinner party.

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  • This is one recipe I know I will make. I love making pound cake, and this is a flavor I would have never thought of on my own in a cake form. And I hear you about the candied yams at family dinners as I am the candied yam maker in our family.

    Sweet potato is becoming such a thing lately. We even have a new restaurant here in Norfolk (VA) devoted to sweet potato biscuits and it is very popular.

  • Hi there, in the ingredients list it does not list cream for the cake but in the directions it mentions cream. Is there any cream in the cake? Thanks!! Ali

  • Hi there, In the ingredient list it doesn’t mention cream but in the instructions it mentions cream. Is there any cream in this cake? If so, how much? Thanks! Ali

  • Hi Ali, I think they’re using “cream” as a verb, as in “cream the butter and sugar”. I was confused for a second when I read it as well!

    I have this in the oven now, and if the finished product tastes as good as the batter does, then we are in for a serious treat. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe!

  • Hi, Ali! in this case “cream” in the instructions means to mix, it is not a reference to an ingredient. It does look rather confusing and I will fix the syntax. Thanks for pointing it out! – Kristina

  • Ali, the instructions don’t call for adding cream, but rather for creaming the ingredients together.

  • Thanks for all your help guys :) i’m a novice in the kitchen & was a bit confused! Can’t wait to try this cake !

  • Wow I’m in the UK and would love to make this cake as I’m getting into baking sweet things with vegetables but can anyone tell me what weight is a stick of butter? And about how much of the ingredient goes into a cup? All our recipes here tend to specify weights of ingredients in oz or grams. Any help gratefully received!! PS I love the sound of potato biscuits mentioned in one of the earlier comments.

  • I made this and it was amazing! Great way to use up the leftover sweet potatoes I had in the fridge, and also not so unhealthy because the sweet potato moistens the cake and helps reduce the need for butter or oil.

    The one complaint was that it took over 1h 15m in the oven – and I can see I’m not the first person to have experienced this!