The original “Tartine” came out in 2006, which feels like eons ago.
Inspired by the San Francisco bakery of the same name, the book became an instant classic for bakers who love pretty tarts and pristine breads. Fast forward to 2019, and Tartine co-owner Elisabeth Prueitt has updated more than 50 recipes from the original cookbook and added nearly 70 others.
This sweet potato cake is inspired by the bakery’s pumpkin tea cake, and it has all flavors of fall, as well as a cooked meringue that looks striking on top and adds a welcomed layer of texture on the final dessert. You could use canned or freshly cooked pumpkin instead of pureed sweet potato, but either would be fitting to bring to a Thanksgiving dinner.
Sweet potato tea cake with meringue
This is a version of our popular pumpkin tea cake. It has a soft, even, moist crumb and a slight spiciness. The roasted, pureed sweet potato is a nice change from pumpkin. It is finished with a thick swirl of meringue that is swooped into the top of the cake. If you are making the sweet potato puree, try to make it the same consistency as canned pumpkin puree. The water content of any vegetable can vary, making your cake wetter or drier. This recipe is easily mixed with a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or by hand with a whisk.
— Elisabeth Prueitt
1 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup sweet potato, boiled and pureed
1 1/3 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
For the meringue topping:
3 large egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly butter the sides and bottom of a 9-inch-by-5-inch loaf pan, and cut a piece of parchment paper so that it can extend over the edges of the pan. This will help you lift the finished cake out of the pan.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves into a mixing bowl and set aside.
In another mixing bowl, beat together the sweet potato puree, sugar, oil and salt on medium speed or by hand until well mixed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until incorporated before adding the next egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. On low speed, add the flour mixture and beat until combined.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat on medium speed for 5 to 10 seconds to make a smooth batter. The batter should be the consistency of a thick puree.
Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and smooth the surface with an offset spatula. Set aside.
To make the meringue topping, pour water to a depth of about 2 inches into a saucepan, place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Whisk together the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment that will rest securely on the rim of the saucepan, but not touch the water.
Continue to whisk until the whites are hot to the touch (about 120 degrees), about 5 minutes. Carefully remove the bowl from the pan, return to the stand mixer and immediately begin to mix on high speed until the mixture is very thick and stiff, and holds stiff peaks when you lift out the whisk. This will take 5 to 7 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
Spoon the meringue over the batter in the loaf pan and drag a knife through the meringue and batter to create a marbled pattern. Don’t thin out the meringue too much, though. The meringue bakes best when left in thicker patches. Bake until a paring knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 1/2 hours.
Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 20 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the sides. Use the parchment paper to lift the cake out of the pan. Let cool completely. Serve the cake at room temperature. It will keep, well wrapped, at room temperature for four days or in the refrigerator for one week. Serves 6 to 8.
— From “Tartine: A Classic Revisited: 68 All-New Recipes & 55 Updated Favorites” by Elisabeth Prueitt (Chronicle Books, $40)