Sweet Potato Cake with Pecan Praline Icing is the perfect fall dessert. Cooking it in an iron skillet makes it even better.
We love sweet potatoes around here. They are versatile, so nutritious and have a seriously unique taste. Sweet potatoes in side dishes are popular in the fall, and they are great, but we wanted to create a dessert that went beyond the typical sweet potato pie. We think you’ll love this Sweet Potato Cake with Pecan Praline Icing just as much as we do.
I’m going to be honest here. This recipe took some tweaking, and a couple of “do-overs”. Is that a word? I know it is when I play golf with my pals. In this case, the do-overs were how I ended up with what I think is a perfect version of a Sweet Potato Cake. What I wanted to have for you is a dense, moist cake that really highlights the flavor of the sweet potato. Boom!
What about the Iron Skillet?
Cooking this cake in an iron skillet makes it extra special. We love our iron skillets, but it is true that anything cooked in an iron skillet can be cooked in another pan or dish. However, there is just something uniquely southern about any food made in an iron skillet. The even heat is a big benefit. The crustiness around the edges is another. One of our longtime favorites, Southern Living, gives us this list of recipes that should always be cooked in an iron skillet. You’re not going to question Southern Living, are you? We don’t.
Further evidence of our love for our iron skillets is our other recipes that are best cooked in one. Mama’s Mexican Cornbread is a no-brainer, (whiskey sour stains on the hand-written recipe and all). Then for breakfast or brunch we have our old-fashioned Southern style Tomato Gravy. Simmer it in the iron skillet and then serve over hot biscuits. Oh my goodness – it’s the best ever!
More recently, and just in time for the fall parties and holidays is Collard Greens Dip. Yes, you could cook it in any small baking dish, but a small iron skillet is going to make it so perfect, plus it makes a great, southern presentation at any gathering. Back to the Sweet Potato Cake, though.
Substitutions? You Bet!
As always, we want to encourage you to try a recipe even if you don’t have all the exact ingredients on hand. Keeping that in mind the following are perfectly acceptable substitutions:
- Don’t have or don’t like cinnamon? Whatever spices you want to add would be great – allspice, ginger, cloves, pumpkin pie spice? Any combination that floats your boat is cool.
- No pecans? (well, what’s wrong with you?) We’re kidding (not kidding) about this. We do like other nuts, but around here, the pecan is king. But, you could substitute walnuts or any tree nut that you love.
- Brown sugar? We used dark brown for the praline icing, but light brown is fine – or a combination of both is good too.
- I like to use canola oil, but if you have a different vegetable oil, go for it.
- If you don’t have an iron skillet, order one now! (details below). In the meantime, this cake can be made in a 9 by 13 inch pan, but watch carefully for doneness. It will cook faster than the iron skillet.
The Pecan Praline Icing
Y’all! This stuff deserves a post all its own. In fact, it deserves a place in the museum of “Decadent Indulgences”. I seriously could eat it with a spoon. The first time I made it and sent Sara a shot taken with my phone her reply was something about sticking her face in it. It’s that good. It takes only a few ingredients and comes together quickly. Pure goodness.
Tips for making Sweet Potato Cake with Pecan Praline Icing
- I used 3 medium sized sweet potatoes and the amount was perfect. Adjust according to the size of your potatoes, but don’t worry about having exactly 1-3/4 cups. Anything in the 1-1/2 to 2 cup range is fine — just don’t go over 2 cups.
- I scooped the potatoes and mashed with a regular potato masher, but a fork would work fine.
- Watch carefully for doneness by testing the middle with a toothpick. Take it out of the oven as soon as the toothpick comes out clean, because that iron skillet will hold heat and cook a couple more minutes.
- For the icing, cool it slightly before you pour over the cake, but no more than a couple of minutes because it will start to harden (like pralines). You want it to still be “pourable”.
Sweet Potato Cake with Pecan Praline Icing
This Sweet Potato Cake is best made in a 10 inch iron skillet. It makes a dense, moist cake and topped with decadent Pecan Praline Icing it's going to be the hit of any fall gathering.
For the Sweet Potato Cake
- 1-3/4 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed approximately, but no more than 2 cups
- 1-3/4 cups plain flour
- 3/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
For the Pecan Praline Icing
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2-3/4 cup chopped pecans
For the Cake
Mix all dry ingredients.
Mix all wet ingredients.
Stir wet into dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Bake in a 10" iron skillet (or 9x13 inch pan) at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
For the Icing
Melt butter over medium heat.
Stir in cream and sugar.
Stir constantly over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil.
Remove from heat and stir in confectioners sugar and vanilla. Whisk until smooth and then stir in pecans. Cool for 2-3 minutes.
Pour over cooled cake.
More Fall Recipes:
This recipe and more are featured at Meal Plan Monday #84
For a great collection of other sweet potato dessert recipes check these out at Fave Southern Recipes.