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Sweet Potato Tea Cake

Sweet Potato Tea Cake

tea cake.jpg

So as you may know, or not, maybe you have no idea, I like to mess around with recipes.  I like to make substitutions, play with spices, proportions etc.  This is a little harder to do with baking.  My Mum is more of the baker.  This is also partly because she has more of a sweet tooth. She started experimenting with alternative flours a couple of years ago and has found that blending them keeps any one from being too dominant and say, for example, drying the whole thing out.

Anyways, she came across this recipe in the New York Times.  It's by Elisabeth Prueitt, the Tartine Bakery co owner, and pastry chef.  My Mum changed the flours and adjusted the sugar.  Ironically, in Ms Prueitt's new book, which I have (see here) there is no need to substitute alternative flours, because the whole book is full of recipes using them! This recipe is not in the book, which may explain why it calls for "normal" flour.  You can find the original recipe here: Sweet Potato Tea Cake.

Below I'm giving you my Mum's substitutions and my addendum for the meringue.  As a side note, this is a great recipe to make after making homemade pasta, because you'll have left over egg whites for the meringue.  I always make more meringue than she says. I've altered the directions a bit as well.


  • ¾ pound sweet potatoes(about 1 medium), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  •  Unsalted butter, for greasing pan
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup each of these flours: millet, buckwheat, brown rice
  • 1/4 cup each of these flours: almond, coconut, teff
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  •  Pinch of ground cloves


  • 1 large egg white (unless you have more than two or three is fine, no need to adjust sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons/30 grams granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon cornstarch per egg added (this ingredient does need to be adjusted based on the amount of egg whites, this is my add on, it makes the meringue stiffer and glossier, which I like)


  1. Prepare the cake: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Boil sweet potatoes until just tender, 15 to 20 minutes, then drain.
  2. Heat oven to 325 degrees and butter a 9-by-5-inch (23-by-12-centimeter) loaf pan.
  3. Transfer sweet potatoes to stand mixer bowl. Add orange juice and whisk until smooth, scraping down sides of the bowl to make sure there are no lumps. Add oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar and salt and mix until well combined. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition; use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, use a fork to mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add to egg mixture in stand mixer and combine on low speed just until smooth. Transfer batter to the prepared loaf pan.
  5. Make the meringue: In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or using a hand held mixer), whip egg white, sugar, vanilla and cornstarch until glossy, stiff peaks form. 
  6. Use a spoon to top the batter with the meringue, gently swirling it into the batter and pulling it back out a few times to create streaked peaks. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Let cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Adapted from a New York Times recipe by Elisabeth Prueitt found here: Sweet Potato Tea Cake

Talking about Elisabeth Prueitt's new cookbook here: 3 New Cookbooks to enjoy!


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