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.
Updated Fall 2018: The original Sweet Potato Cake was a dense, moist cake. While popular with our readers, quite a few asked for a way to lighten it up a little - in other words, make it not quite so dense.
We did some tweaking and the recipe now makes a cake that is plenty moist, and still highlights the flavor of the sweet potatoes, but is a bit lighter. We're confident that you'll love it.
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 2 medium sized sweet potatoes and the amount was perfect. Adjust according to the size of your sweet potatoes.
- I scooped the potatoes and mashed with a regular potato masher, but a fork would work fine.
- Watch the cake 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, pour over the cake while still hot because it will start to harden (like pralines). You want it to still be "pourable".
For a different spin on fall frosting be sure to check out this buttercream version. It's Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Frosting and it's great on cupcakes, cookies and cakes.
Another great dish you'll want to add to your fall menu is Butternut Squash with Bourbon, Maple & Bacon. It's to-die-for too!
Southern Food Then and Now is all about traditions, regions and the origins of our favorite cuisine!
Sweet Potato Cake with Pecan Praline Icing
For the Sweet Potato Cake
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 30 to 435 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.
A few things you made need to make your Sweet Potato Cake:
- A mini chopper like this is our favorite way to chop nuts
- Pre-seasoned 10 inch cast iron skillet
- Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls
- Stainless Steel Whisk Set
Love sweet potatoes?
This is a super simple recipe that makes a wonderful side dish year round. Only 4 ingredients are in this one and it has humble beginnings in the Gullah culture of the Carolina Lowcountry. Gullah Style Sweet Potato recipe can be found here.