Sweet Potato Birthday Bundt Cake

12 Oct

I am officially related to an adult. My big brother. He’s no longer a teen, no longer a young adult. He’s a full blown adult. What to buy, such an old man? I drew a blank. Me! I drew a blank! The person who is the BEST at birthday presents….had to throw in the towel. You can’t buy this guy anything. Trust me, it’s hopeless; if it’s money, it’ll stay in the card. If it’s clothing, it’ll sit with the tags on for years. Anything too expensive will stay in its box. That’s my brother. I don’t ask why anymore. He does have to put up with my idiosyncrasies, after all and my hat goes off to him for that.

So, what did my family end up doing for my creaky fossil of a brother? We fed him: well.

My mom made a traditional South African dinner, filled with all sorts of yummy things that probably sound weird to you. Boerewors, pap, koeksisters, and even her famous cheesecake. Wait….cheesecake? Is that really birthday appropriate? We definitely didn’t care, as it was beyond delicious.

I couldn’t help feeling slightly less worthy of a sister though, having given him nothing but a sappy card, a science magazine and a Kinder Surprise. What do I do for a living again? Oh, that’s right, I BAKE.

The following week, I went home to visit again. I redeemed my somewhat shattered reputation and baked a birthday bundt cake for my brother. A sweet potato bundt cake, with brandy-brown sugar glaze.

My dad was my helper, he peeled the sweet potatoes for me….thanks Dad!

I had some leftover sweet potato…stay tuned, I’ll help you get rid of that in a yummy way.

P.s. I may have spiked the cake with brandy.

Into a Bundt pan it goes

Out it comes all beautiful and golden…and cooked….hopefully.

Glaze it up!

Serve it up.

Eat it up.

We had tea and cake mid-afternoon while my brother opened his cards a week late. We still don’t know why he never opened them the day he received them.

My mom used her special tea-ware.

Happy Belated Birthday Big Brother! Enjoy your Sweet Potato-Brown Sugar Brandy Birthday Bundt Cake!…..you ancient man you.

Sweet Potato Bundt Cake

1/4 cup brandy (you can substitute rum. I just happen to hate rum.)

2 large  or 3 medium sized sweet potatoes

4 large eggs

2 cups sugar

1 cup oil

2 tsp vanilla

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

3/4 cup buttermilk

Peel the sweet potatoes, and slice them into thin rounds. Put them in a pot of cold salted water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, then cook until the sweet potatoes are very tender. Drain off the water and allow to air dry. Mash, measure out 2 cups, and let cool. Got leftover sweet potato? I did. Don’t worry, I have a solution. Hold tight.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs lightly to break them up. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is thick and pale. This will take about 2 minutes. Add the oil and vanilla, and beat to blend. Add the brandy at this point, and the mashed sweet potatoes. Mix until thoroughly combined.

In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Add the flour mixture to the batter in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk, starting and finishing with the flour.

Pour the batter into a greased and floured 10 inch bundt pan, and bake at 350F for 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes….until a skewer comes out clean and the cake is starting to pull away from the sides. You know the drill.

Set on a wire rack and let sit for 10 minutes before inverting onto another rack. Set over a tray or something to catch the excess glaze. Glaze?


1/2 cup tightly packed brown sugar

4 tbsp unsalted butter

3 tbsp whipping cream

1/4 cup brandy

Combine all but the brandy in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook until it thickens somewhat, then remove from the heat and add your brandy.

Poke holes all over the top of the cake, and spoon half the glaze over. The cake MUST be glazed while it’s still warm. Don’t make this and then go out to the movies and think everything will be just peachy.

Allow the remaining glaze and the cake 10-15 minutes to cool until it has thickened slightly. Pour the rest of the glaze over the cake, letting it dribble down the sides, and cool completely before slicing and serving.

P.s. This makes a big cake….but it freezes well….and people like when you share cake with them….so…you’ll be fine.


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