Dad's Sweet Potato Chocolate Caramel Cake
Not everyone gets to see their Dad turn 88 years old. Every year I make my Dad a cake for his birthday, and until recently I just thought about it as a fun ritual. He loves cake and loves chocolate, so I usually try to come up with something new and tastier than ever. He won’t allow any other gifts to be given to him, so this is a big deal. In the past few years the cake has taken on new meaning for me. Counting up the years I’ve been fortunate to have loving supportive parents in my life I feel renewed gratitude with each cake I get to bake for my Dad.
This year’s flavor Sweet Potato Chocolate Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting was one of the best. It’s pretty simple - don’t let the Caramel Sauce intimidate you. Make it for someone you love - even if that someone is yourself!
Makes 1 – 9” double layer round cake
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup cocoa powder
1 ½ cups boiling water
1 ½ cups sugar
2/3 cup baked and pureed sweet potato
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine butter cocoa and boiling water. Whisk until butter is melted. Add sugar, pumpkin, vegetable oil and vanilla and whisk. Mixture should be cooled enough to add eggs, but if it is hot to the touch set aside to cool for several minutes. Whisk in eggs thoroughly.
Meanwhile in another bowl sift together flour, soda, powder, and salt. Prepare cake pans with grease and a light coating of flour. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared pans and bake 25-30 minutes until tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool in the pans.
Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
*Note sauce must cool for an hour before making frosting
4 Tablespoons butter
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup half and half
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup (1 stick) butter – room temperature
16 ounces cream cheese
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
Cooled Caramel Sauce
In a sauce pan melt 4 Tablespoons butter and cook on low 5-7 minutes until butter is brown but not dark brown. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth. Cook Caramel Sauce on medium low for about 10 minutes – it should be bubbling, but not furiously bubbling. Set aside to cool at least one hour.
When ready to make frosting cream together butter and cream cheese with a whisk attachment of a mixer. Whisk in powdered sugar and cooled Caramel Sauce and whip until frosting is fluffy.
Coat layers of cooled cake and decorate with frosting as desired.