I don’t usually love sponge cakes, because they’re often a little dry for me. So when I wanted to make my own recipe, I needed to do something different. For this one, I use sweet potatoes the way some bakers use applesauce—the potatoes add tons of moisture but not much flavor (they do add a little color, though, which is fun). The result is so good that I ended up formulating it to make two at a time because it always goes so fast. To serve them, I just sprinkle them with a little powdered sugar before I put them out.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with baking spray, or grease and flour them.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a handheld mixer on high speed for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly start adding in the sugar, and continue to beat the eggs until they thicken and are nice and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together until well incorporated. Set the bowl to the side.
4. Add the mashed sweet potatoes and vanilla into the bowl with the fluffy eggs and stir, then sprinkle in the flour mixture. Slowly fold the ingredients until well incorporated, but don’t overmix.
5. Pour the cake batter evenly into each cake pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the pans upside down on wire racks. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing the cakes from the pans, then let the cakes cool completely before serving.
© 2020 by Rosie Mayes. Excerpted from I Heart Soul Food by permission of Sasquatch Books. 2020.
Images © Michael Kartes