Although the peak season for sweet potatoes in the UK is from October to March, they are generally available year-round, which is great for me because I love them!
At least once per week, I make sweet potato chips spiced up with smoked paprika, black pepper and a pinch of salt, or if I feel fancy, I make stuffed sweet potatoes with guacamole and black beans.
My love for sweet potatoes, however, began just a decade ago when I moved to England. Before that, in Barcelona, I would only eat them in October… the night before All Saint’s Day.
Why that night?
Well, there are plenty of traditional foods and treats throughout Spain on All Saints’ Day. The most common are huesos de Santo (“saint’s bones”), which is made of marzipan and sweetened egg yolk, and buñuelos de Viento, puffy fried balls of dough filled with whipped cream, pastry cream, or chocolate.
There are also a few delicacies that we eat in Catalonia the night before All Saints’ Day: these are roasted chestnuts, roasted sweet potatoes, and panellets.
Panellets are small marzipans made from almond flour, potato, egg and sugar. There are at least a dozen different flavours of panellets that you can choose from, each of which has its own traditional shape to match its flavour. (Oh, I miss them so much!)
The recipe I’m sharing with you today is NOT for traditional panellets (you can find hundreds out there!), but it’s a variation of it which I love because it has sweet potato in it!
These luscious fluffy mini sweet potato cakes have a sweet almondy marzipan filling, dipped in a handmade cherry jam and covered in desiccated coconut. They are absolutely delicious!
Sweet potato and cherry cakes
- 8 cups sweet cherries
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3/4 cup organic raw honey
- Place the sweet potatoes in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Cook until sweet potatoes are tender, then using a masher or fork, mash the sweets potatoes and let it cool.
- In a large bowl, sieve in the almond flour, add the mashed sweet potato and maple syrup.Mix well using your hands. Add the egg and continue mixing all the ingredients together until you get a consistent dough. If the mixture is too wet, add 1 to 3 tablespoons of almond flour.
- Using a tablespoon, scoop to form the dough into a golf-size balls, then press down gently in the centre of the cake with your knuckle to make the hole for the cherry. Place the mini cakes leaving about 1 cm / 0.4 in. between them. Bake for about 10 minutes, then grill top for about 3 minutes until golden. Let them cool.
- Meanwhile, make the cherry jam. Put the cherries and water in a pot and bring to a simmer. Use a potato masher or spoon to squish the cherries while it simmers for about 15 minutes. Add the lemon and honey, and bring to the boil, stirring often until it thickens, about 20-25 minutes.
- Dip the mini cakes into the cherry jam, then roll in the desiccated coconut. Top with a cherry each cake and enjoy!