Sweet Potato Roll Cake

Pumpkin isn’t the only orange vegetable to make a lot of appearances during the fall season. Sweet potato is just as vibrant and flavorful and can be used in many similar ways -- like in this sponge cake that has a bit of bourbon in the batter and cream cheese frosting. A true sponge cake is one with no added fat and gets its volume from whipping eggs until very thick. The sponginess of the cake allows for it to be rolled up while still warm to create a dessert that looks a little different from all the rest of them. In this recipe, some of the cake batter is thickened with flour to pipe the words “Grateful” on the outside, however, any design of choice can be made.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 45 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
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Ingredients

Sweet Potato Cake:

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting:

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 10-by-15-inch jelly roll pan with cooking spray then line with parchment paper. Using a food safe marker, write the word “Grateful” directly in the center, widthwise, of the parchment. Flip the parchment over so that you can see the word, but it will be backwards.
  2. Make the cake: Process the sweet potato in a food processor until very smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.  
  3. Whisk together the baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, 1 cup flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.  
  4. Add the granulated sugar and eggs to a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium-high until the eggs are very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the sweet potato, bourbon and lemon extract and mix to combine. Fold in the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined.  
  5. Remove 1/4 cup of the batter to a medium bowl and stir in the molasses, gel food coloring and the remaining 3 tablespoons flour until smooth. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip and trace “Grateful” on the parchment with the batter. Freeze the pan until the batter is hardened, about 10 minutes (alternatively, refrigerate for 20 minutes).  
  6. Quickly spread the batter in the bowl over the traced word and bake until the cake springs back when touched and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 14 to 16 minutes.  
  7. Lay a clean tea towel on a flat work surface and lightly dust with confectioners’ sugar. Carefully flip the cake out onto a wire rack and remove the parchment. Flip the cake back over onto the towel so that the word is facing down. Starting at the short end, roll the cake up with the towel and let cool completely on a wire rack (still wrapped in the towel), about 1 hour.  
  8. Meanwhile, make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese, butter and orange zest in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, then slowly mix in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth and combined. Add the bourbon just to combine.  
  9. Whip the heavy cream in a separate medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Gently fold into the cream cheese mixture until just combined.  
  10. Unroll the cake from the towel and, with the word-side down, spread the frosting over the top of the cake. Roll the cake back up, without the towel, and trim the ends so they are clean. Transfer the cake to a serving platter with the seam-side down. Decorate the platter with autumn sprinkles, if desired. 

Cook’s Note

To roast the sweet potato, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cut the potato in half lengthwise and brush the flesh with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place flesh-side down on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until the potato can easily be poked with a fork, about 40 minutes. Spoon the flesh into a small bowl and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour and up to overnight. Discard the skins.