Our favorite and therefore the best Thanksgiving cake is a: Sweet Potato Cake with Maple Syrup Buttercream & Pecans. The recipe is simple. Plus the two layered cake doesn’t only look great, but it also tastes moist and well-rounded, with a little more flavor than your standard sweet potato cake.
Now that I have so much time and maybe because we have watched so much of the “Great British Baking Show”, I really want to try more elaborate cakes. While I love my simple cakes in winter [like these Browned Butter White Chocolate Chip Blondies or the Orange Whiskey Crinkle Cookies], I also enjoy spending a bit more time in the kitchen. The fun thing about baking is that there is always a result at the end.
Like this two-layered sweet potato cake that I have embellished with a rich maple syrup buttercream and pecans. I particularly love the flavor combination of the moist sweet potatoes, the sweet maple syrup buttercream and the crunchy pecan pieces. Rich as my human guinea pig declared this cake to be the absolute winner and the best Thanksgiving cake he has had so far. I feel that definitely speaks for the cake.
We also had two friends trying it (because Rich is sometimes a little biased): they loved the cake as well. So it has definitely made it on the winners’ podium for best Thanksgiving cake. If you want something else than pie this year, but still keep the traditional flavors, make my sweet potato cake with maple syrup buttercream and pecans. It is a really really good one, pinky promise!
A few things to pay attention to when making the cake
- In order to make sweet potato puree, cook two sweet potatoes for about 30 to 40 minutes in water. Once they are very soft, peel them and mash the potatoes in a bowl. I used a simple potato masher and it worked perfectly.
- Make sure that the two cake layers have fully cooled off before you spread the buttercream onto them. I made the cake a day earlier to avoid the buttercream melting. You can easily store the cake in a plastic bag in the fridge.
- For the buttercream all ingredients must be at room temperature. Otherwise the recipe just doesn’t work. Trust me, I had to do the buttercream twice after I used cold butter the first time.
- The buttercream is rather liquid because of the maple syrup. You might have to add a little more powdered sugar if you can’t get it to become creamy.
- If you find the buttercream too soft to spread it on the cake, put it in the fridge for 10 minutes and then try again.
- Store the cake in the fridge so that the buttercream doesn’t become too soft.
- Also, store the cake in a cool place because the eggs are not properly heated. Make sure you use good quality eggs.
- I used two 16.5 cm (or 6.5 in.) cake molds. Because they are made of silicone, I didn’t have to prepare them at all. Make sure to grease your pans before filling in the dough if necessary.
Everything you need to make the best Thanksgiving cake
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Sweet Potato Cake with Maple Syrup Buttercream & Pecans
for the cake
- 350 g sweet potato puree
- 190 g or 1 1/2 cup flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 pinch salt
- 150 g or 3/4 cup white sugar
- 150 g or 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 60 g or 1/4 cup butter
- 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
for the buttercream
- 200 ml or 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- 230 g or 2 sticks butter
- 170 g or 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 75 g or 2/3 cup pecan pieces
- Preheat oven to (or 350°F).
- Melt the butter and let it cool slightly.
- Pour the butter in a big bowl. Add the vegetable oil, the eggs, the vanilla extract, and all the sugar.
- Mix well until everything is foamy.
- Add the sweet potato puree, the flour, the baking powder, ground cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Mix well.
- Divide the dough evenly among the cake pans.
- Bake for ca. 25 minutes.
- Let the cakes cool in their pans for 10 minutes before you get them out.
- For the frosting, bring the maple sirup to a boil in a little pot.
- Simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add the eggs to a bowl.
- Beat the eggs until they are thick and foamy.
- Slowly drizzle the hot maple sirup into the bowl with the eggs while you continue to beat everything at high speed.
- Beat until the mix has reached room temperature.
- Add cubes of butter and continue to beat.
- Add the powdered sugar and beat everything until smooth and creamy.
- Put one cake layer on a plate. Spread a thin layer of buttercream on top. Add about half of the pecan pieces. Spread another thin layer of buttercream on top.
- Put the second cake layer on the buttercream. Now spread the remaining buttercream on the top and side of the whole cake.
- Decorate with the remaining pecan pieces.