Back in college when I worked in a restaurant, one of our best sellers were the sweet potatoes. They were baked. Then topped with brown sugar, honey butter, and cinnamon. It was almost like eating dessert, but oh so delicious. Now as I’ve gotten older, my taste buds have changed, and I don’t crave the sweetness that much. Instead I prefer a savory sweet potato. One with lots of herbs and salt and pepper. Especially sweet potato fries. Now those are my weakness.
These sweet potato cakes turn up the savory notch. Like a lot. Baked sweet potatoes mixed with pecorino, parsley, garlic, red pepper flakes, and cinnamon. Then rolled in bread crumbs and sprinkled with coarse salt. Talk about a wow factor. You won’t miss the ooey gooey honey butter or marshmallows at all. I promise.
I’m not going to lie. This is a time consuming little recipe, but oh so worth it. Most of the time is spent baking the sweet potatoes which brings out its natural flavors.
The cakes are then baked to bring out even more flavors for a perfect savory sweet potato cake. Are you still on board?
No flour. No egg. Just rolled in bread crumbs. The sweet potato mixture is so moist that it sticks to the bread crumbs like glue. Sprinkle some coarse salt on them while they’re still hot…and some parsley to make them pretty.
Savory Sweet Potato Cakes
adapted loosely from Molto Batali
makes 12 cakes
3 large sweet potatoes (2 1/2 pounds)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
Rinse the sweet potatoes and arrange them on a lined baking sheet. Using a fork, poke holes all over each potato. Bake for 1 hour or until tender and a knife easily pierces the flesh. Allow the potatoes to cool until they are easy enough to handle, about 10 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 425 degree F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut a slit down the center of the each potato. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh into a large bowl. Add the garlic, pecorino, parsley, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Gently stir together until well combined.
Place the bread crumbs in a shallow bowl. Scoop out 1/4 cup of the sweet potato mixture, forming a round cake in the palm of your hand. Lightly coat the cake with bread crumbs. Transfer the cake to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all cakes are formed.
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip each cake over. Continue baking for about 10 minutes until golden. Sprinkle with coarse salt and serve.