Orange and Spiced Sweet Potato Cake with Caramel Date Sauce

. February, 2016
Photography by Claire Aldous.
Orange and Spiced Sweet Potato Cake with Caramel Date Sauce

This scrumptious, moist and tender cake just melts in the mouth. It has lashings of gorgeous date caramel which is a little spicy from the fresh ginger and pillows of airy cream cheese icing. 


225 grams butter, very soft but not melted
finely grated zest 1 orange
200 grams sweet potato puree* (I used beauregard)
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
4 large eggs, size 7 
1 cup plain flour
1 cup light muscovado sugar
3½ teaspoons baking powder
⅔ cup ground almonds
½ teaspoon each ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice
pinch sea salt

Caramel Date Sauce
2 cups roughly chopped, pitted dried dates
2 cups boiling water 
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup or maple syrup
1½ tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil

Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing
200 grams cream cheese at room temperature
100 grams butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
1½ cups icing sugar, sifted


Grease two 20cm cake tins and line the bases with baking paper.

Preheat the oven to 160°C fan bake. 

Put the butter, zest, puree and the vanilla in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time.  

Combine all the dry ingredients together in another large bowl, ensuring there are no lumps of sugar.

Pour the butter mixture onto the dry ingredients and beat with a wooden spoon until just combined. Don’t overbeat or the cake will be tough. 

Divide between the tins and smooth the tops.

Bake for about 15 minutes until the cakes spring back when lightly pressed in the centre and are risen and golden. Don’t overbake the cakes.

Leave the cakes to cool completely in the tins before removing. 

Caramel Date Sauce
Combine the dates and water in a bowl and leave for 30 minutes. 

Drain well, gently pressing on the dates to push out excess water. Place in a food processor or blender along with all the remaining ingredients and process until the mixture is smooth and thick. 

Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing
Beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and beat again. Chill for 30 minutes if very soft. 

To assemble: Place one cake, smooth side down on a serving plate. Spread with half of the date sauce then gently spread over half of the icing. Top with the second cake. Place spoonfuls of the remaining icing on top and gently spread evenly. Spoon the remaining caramel sauce over the top and swirl through the icing with a skewer. Chill for 30 minutes before serving. Makes 1 cake

*Pantry Note: You need a raw sweet potato weighing about 300 grams to get 200 grams of cooked puree. I just cook mine in the microwave until very soft or you can bake it in the oven until tender. Cool then peel and mash with a fork until smooth.