Patate douce, feminine noun (une patate douce, la patate douce, des patates douces) = sweet potato (pronounced pa (as in pat)-tat (as in rat) dooss: pa-tat-douss), some stress on the douss.
Patate is a colloquial word for potato (more usually pomme de terre, literally apple of the earth) equivalent to spud in UK English.
The sweet potato keeps well, is easy to cook, has beautiful colour, and is an excellent source of vitamins A, C and B9 and E. I bake sweet potatoes as I would an ordinary potato, I have made them into ice cream, or purée (mash). Today’s recipe is for cake à la patate douce. Cake (pronouced kek) in French is used for something baked and rectangular in shape; like a fruit cake, but it can also be savoury, and then it is used for picnics or for apéritif. This cake is sweet and is for tea-time.
For 6-8 people, you will need (don’t forget my conversion tables) :
- 275 gr sweet potato
- 3 eggs
- 75 gr brown sugar
- 90ml milk
- 100gr melted butter
- 235 gr flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp baking powder (not baking soda, baking powder, to make the flour rise)
- 1 tsp allspice (quatre épices)
- 1 tsp turmeric (curcuma)
- a handful of raisins
- 6 chopped stoned prunes (I use moist pruneaux d’Agen, the best prunes in France, that need no soaking. If yours are very dry, soak them in a bit of warm tea before using, but make sure there are no stones)
- Peel the sweet potato, cut into 2.5cm cubes and either steam or just cook the pieces in plain boiling water (put them in cold water, bring to the boil, and boil for 15 minutes).
- Drain and mash with a potato masher or a fork (not in a food processor).
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
- Butter a rectangular cake tin or line it with greaseproof paper. Actually I use silicone molds which need no preparation and are really easy to un-mold.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar.
- Add the butter and flour and beat well. Add all the other ingredients and mix thoroughly.
- Pour the mixture into the cake tin and put it into the oven for 40mns. Test with a knife. Unmold onto a cake rack to cool so that steam does not make the cake go soft.
This cake is a bit reminiscent of brown or wholemeal bread somehow. Simple. Wholesome. It is relatively un-spicey. If you prefer, you can increase the allspice, and add some or all of the following in powdered form : cinnamon, ginger, cardamome.