Or muffins. Muffins are good, too.
Credit: Photo by Stacey Ballis

As fall hits, my cravings for roasted root vegetables ramps up. All autumn and winter I fill my oven on weekends with roots and tubers that slump in the heat and caramelize to near dessert-level sweetness, and then all week I enjoy them for breakfast with yogurt, or lunch on salads, or for dinner next to a chop or piece of chicken or fish. And while I never get tired of them, I do sometimes get a bit overly ambitious with how much I make.

Especially sweet potatoes. I roast them whole in their skins for about two hours at 400°F until they are a melting sweet mush. Usually I do six or eight at a time, since there are two of us who work from home, so that is all sorts of breakfasts and lunches to be handled. But now and again, I get to that part of the week where things are moving inexorably towards the end of their useful life and realize that I have overestimated our needs, and am facing two to four sweet potatoes that are about to be less than delicious.

Luckily, cooked mashed sweet potato freezes well, so I remove the skins, smash em up, and freeze them in one-cup measures for the future. That probably should be some healthy side dish for a last-minute dinner, but more often than not is this sweet potato pound cake.

I especially love this recipe because you can use any leftover sweet potatoes you have on hand—sweet potato casserole, baked glazed sweet potatoes, doesn’t really matter if they have nuts on them or marshmallows broiled on top or even if they are more savory or spicy, they ALL WORK. It is kind of a genius thing about this recipe. I once even made it with baked sweet potatoes that had bacon pieces in the topping, and might have been the best version ever. You can also swap out pumpkin or butternut squash for the sweet potato.

It’s a perfect recipe for the holiday season when sweet potatoes in every shape and form are on the menu, and leftovers abound. I prefer it plain, so that I can justify eating it for breakfast or snacking on it in the afternoon, but if you like a glaze, go for it. Ditto stir-ins like chopped nuts or dried fruit or chocolate. White chocolate chips are particularly good in this, as are chopped candied pecans.

Sweet Potato Pound Cake

Makes 1 loaf cake or 12 muffins


1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (cinnamon, apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice all work well here)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes


Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease and flour a loaf pan or muffin tin.

In a small bowl, mix the dry ingredients well and set aside.

In your stand mixer or in a large bowl with your electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing to combine. Add in the sweet potatoes, and mix until well blended, it might look a bit curdled, but don’t worry. Add in the milk and vanilla and then half the flour mixture. Blend until there are no streaks of flour, then add the rest of the flour and finish mixing. The batter should be thick and cohesive.

Spoon the batter into your loaf pan or scoop into muffin cups. Bake for 50-60 minutes until the center springs back when pressed and a skewer comes out clean. Let cool on a rack 10 minutes then unmold and let cool completely on a rack.