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Fall is officially sweet potato season, and this aromatic cake from Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking is an ideal cozy-weather snack. The outside is completely cloaked in glossy ganache, but when you slice into the cake, it reveals its heart: tender, gently spiced, and faintly citrusy. You can use canned sweet potato purée instead of making your own, but you’ll need to use less of it to make up for the additional moisture.

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12 Servings



lb. sweet potatoes (2–3 medium), peeled, cut into 1″ pieces, or 1 cup (250 g) canned sweet potato purée

Unsalted butter or nonstick vegetable oil spray (for pan)

cups (313 g) all-purpose flour


Tbsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt


tsp. baking powder


tsp. baking soda


tsp. ground cinnamon


tsp. freshly grated nutmeg


tsp. ground cloves


large eggs, room temperature

cups (300 g) granulated sugar


tsp. finely grated orange zest


tsp. vanilla extract


cup vegetable oil

Ganache and assembly


cup heavy cream


Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1″ pieces


Tbsp. granulated sugar


Tbsp. brewed coffee


tsp. Diamond Crystal or ¼ tsp. Morton kosher salt


oz. (227 g) bittersweet chocolate


tsp. vanilla extract



Step 1

Place a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 400°. If using raw sweet potatoes, wrap in foil and roast on a parchment-lined baking sheet until tender (a knife should slide easily into flesh), 50–60 minutes.

Step 2

Unwrap sweet potatoes and let sit until cool enough to handle. Transfer to a small bowl. Using a potato masher or fork, smash until smooth. Measure out 1¼ cups (250 g) purée; save any extra for another use.

Step 3

Reduce oven temperature to 325°. Butter a 9×5″ loaf pan or lightly coat with nonstick spray. Line pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang on long sides. Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a medium bowl.

Step 4

Whisk mashed sweet potato (homemade or canned), eggs, granulated sugar, zest, and vanilla extract in a large bowl until smooth. Gradually add oil, whisking constantly until completely incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, fold in dry ingredients in 2 batches, mixing just until combined after each addition. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth surface with an offset spatula.

Step 5

Bake cake until golden and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 75–90 minutes. Transfer cake to a wire rack and let cool in pan 15 minutes. Using parchment overhang, lift cake out of pan and onto rack. Remove parchment and let cake cool completely.

Ganache and assembly

Step 6

Bring cream, butter, sugar, coffee, and salt to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat, add chocolate and vanilla, and whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool until thickened slightly, 40–60 minutes.

Step 7

Pour ganache over cake (it should flow over the sides) and, using a small offset spatula, smooth it evenly over surface. Chill cake until ganache is set, 20–30 minutes. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.

Do ahead: Unglazed cake can be baked 3 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.

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Recipes adapted with permission from ‘Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking’ by Cheryl Day (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2021.

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How would you rate Sweet Potato Loaf Cake With Dark Chocolate Ganache?

  • How do you get that perfect crack on the top where the ganache seeps in? Almost looks like a spoon handle or something was placed over it for baking.

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