Sweet Potato Pecan Coconut Cake

I love single layer cakes.

Sweet Potato Pecan Coconut Cake

They have a rustic appeal that I find immensely comforting.   Most single layer cakes are charmingly homemade in appearance, requiring no special skills to decorate them.  No torting layers, no stacking, no praying you avoid the  dreaded buttercream belly around the side of the cake.  If you decorate cakes you know about buttercream bellies.  No, a single layer cake is reassuringly easy to make, and during the whirl-wind of the holidays I can think of nothing I like better than something easy to make that also tastes great.

Sweet Potato Pecan Coconut Cake

The center of the cake is so moist that it is almost creamy.  This ridiculous amount of moistness is due to the sweet potato puree and the oil.  Cakes made with oil tend to be a little moister than those made with butter after they cool, and the sweet potato ensures that the cake stays moist after baking by making the crumb of the cake slightly dense.  Not to say this cake is heavy, the flavor and texture are absolutely devourable.  On the top, rather than a buttercream or cream cheese frosting, I made a bourbon laced glaze which I topped off with some toasted coconut and pecan.  Aside from giving those who eat it a clue to what lies within, it adds a little bit of crunchy texture.  Make this cake for your Thanksgiving guests and no one will even miss the pie!

Sweet Potato Pecan Coconut Cake    Serves 8-10

For the cake:
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
3/4 cup sweet potato puree (about 1 medium sweet potato peeled, steamed and pureed)
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans

For the glaze:
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon or rum (or water if you prefer)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2-4 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup toasted coconut
1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans

Heat the oven to 350 F and spray an 8-inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray

Sweet Potato Pecan Coconut Cake

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the brown sugar, oil, and sweet potato puree until smooth and well blended.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until completely incorporated.

Sweet Potato Pecan Coconut Cake

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, allspice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk into the sweet potato mixture in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.  Fold in the coconut and pecans.

Sweet Potato Pecan Coconut CakeSweet Potato Pecan Coconut Cake

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cake springs back when gently pressed in the center and the sides of the cake are starting to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Sweet Potato Pecan Coconut Cake

While the cake cools prepare the glaze.  In a medium bowl whisk together the melted butter, powdered sugar, bourbon, vanilla, and two tablespoons of the cream.  Add additional cream, a tablespoon at a time, until the glaze is thin enough to pour, but not too runny.  Once the cake is cooled spread the glaze over the top, allowing some to drip down the sides.  While still wet sprinkle over the toasted coconut and toasted pecans.  Allow the glaze to set for one hour before serving.

Sweet Potato Pecan Coconut Cake


Sweet Potato Pecan Coconut Cake

© 2011, Evil Shenanigans. All rights reserved.

Author: Kelly

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  • Saw this in my inbox on FoodBuzz and I couldn’t help but click over! Gorgeous cake. I want a bite right now. 🙂 Buzzed.

  • Sweet potato cake??? Yes!! Oh so much better than pumpkin! Wow! I am so making this! And I agree about single layer cakes – there seems to be more cake there! And love the topping. Gorgeous!

  • Sweet potatoes are like you can find anyway for us and very affordable,its such a lovely outcome as we simply enjoy anything prepared with it.

  • Oh my goodness, I think I just died and went to heaven!! This looks beyond amazing.

  • Looks absolutely amazing. I actually prefer cakes decorated like this…Beautiful!

  • Mmm this pie looks fantastic!! Your presentation is gorgeous, perfect for the holidays! 🙂

  • I love it all and the coconut puts it over the top. Great photos too Kelly.

  • Ohhh the classic flavours of fall … the nutty texture of the pecans and chew of the coconut *Y.U.M*

  • oh my LOVE This. I could dive in now

  • This cake could easily become my new favorite! I am obsessed with every flavor in this cake! Maybe my family won’t miss pumpkin pie this year!

  • Ann

    Oh BUZZ! This is beautiful! You’re right…there’s something delightfully homemade about a single layer cake! It’s been a while since I’ve made cakes, but I SO remember the dreaded “buttercream belly”! Thanks for the LOL moment AND the delicious recipe!

  • I’m with you on this and your cake looks so good! I love the addition of sweet potato. xx

  • It does look rustic and homey. I just want to reach in and grab a slice. This is beautiful.

  • Screw pumpkin pie. THIS is the ultimate Thanksgiving dessert. Too bad Canadian Thanksgiving has already come and gone, though… I’m half-tempted to pretend I’m American for a day just so I have an excuse to make this cake! 🙂

  • Yum! I would eat this for breakfast because it has a vegetable in it!

  • I love single layer cakes too and this one… oh my. That slice IS for me, right???

  • Goodness this looks good. I love the fork picture. Mmmm…yes please!

  • Love this cake! I’ve been looking for something a bit different for the holidays, and I think this is just perfect!

  • Wow….I need that cake in my life!

  • Absolutely gorgeous. I love the flavor combination! Adding coconut now you are speaking my language! lol A slice would be perfect with my tea right about now!

  • I left you a long comment and it didn’t go through. Boo!! Now it is all lost, but it was all good things!!

  • This may be single layer cake but it is full packed with all the exotic flavors…Coconut,pecans, cinnamon…What else can you ask for? Definitely a must try! Keep posting!

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  • Wow this is really a wonderful recipes. I have to try this.

  • This cake is absolutely beautiful! Great job. It sounds delicious too!!

  • oh yummy!!!

  • The photos alone made my mouth water. This sounds like such a marvelous combination of butternut squash and coconut which go so well together. I’ll be trying this one out with my daughter tonight.

  • Mai

    I made the cake. It was good. I liked the flavors, but the texture was different than I expected. I thought the cake would be lighter. It was dense and had a bread like texture.

  • I made this, exactly as written, and it is PERFECT! Mine took the full 35 minutes to bake, and it’s so moist that I don’t think it would have hurt it to stay in a couple minutes longer even.

    Thanks for the awesome recipe 🙂

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