Sweet Potato Cakes

 https://1tess.wordpress.comWhen the recipe says to broil on low (200°C) for only 15 minutes, believe it!
Also, set a timer so you know when the time is up…
Believe it or not, these were really truly very tasty once I cut the burnt tops off. They looked ok as well, once I turned them upside down. ≥^!^≤

The young woman at the little Korean grocery (Hyundai Asian Market) was arranging a display of pretty red sweet potatoes. They looked so fresh that two of them hopped into my basket before I knew it!

Oh sweet potato cakes!!


slice sweet potatoes

steam the sweet potatoes

butter, sugar, cinnamon

peel skin away

rice potatoes into sugar

add potatoes in batches

add 1 yolk & cream

squeeze balls in cloth


yolk glaze sesame seeds

arrange on parchment
Sweet potatoes are hot:
my co-worker brought one
to microwave for lunch
but something else came
along. She forgot it,
so I’m growing it:

Seems some cooks have a hard time making certain recipes. Sweet potato cakes are cursed for me: such a simple recipe, but something goes wrong every time. Click the pictures above for my previous attempts. And don’t let my failure deter you: these are too tasty to ignore.

To be Kyoto-style the final product should not be too sweet and the cinnamon should not overpower any of the other tastes. You want to bring out the natural taste of the sweet potato, enhance it with sweetness and richness. The cinnamon should be the grab your attention immediately but be the finish. Complexity and subtlety is the point, but by no means be dull!

Kyoto-style Chakin Shibori Sweet Potato with Cinnamon
Sui-to Poteto (スウィートポテト)

adapted from Kyoto Foodie
makes about 20 biscuits
  • 2 sweet potatoes
    (each to fill the palm of your hand
    ~~about 1 pound~~)
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
    (white or brown)
  • 1 ounce butter
    (2 Tablespoons)(30 grams)
  • 3 tablespoons light cream
    (half and half)
  • 2 egg yolk
    (one for potato mixture one for glaze)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • sesame seeds
    (about 2 or 3 Tablespoons—
    —black or white, toasted

Wash the sweet potatoes. Cut into ¾-inch (2-cm) thick slices. Steam gently for over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove skins after the slices have cooled enough to touch. Gentle steam at a relatively low temperature will increase the natural sweetness of the potatoes. The alternative would be to roast or bake the potatoes which would add some caramelized undertones to the flavor.
I used a potato ricer to mash the sweet potatoes, but you could use a pastry cutter, two knives, or a fork. You could even use an electric mixer. The ricer does a nice light sort of mashing—old fashioned but it makes the best mashed potatoes in my opinion.
I mixed up the sugar, butter, and cinnamon and added the riced sweet potato in batches (you can only rice a few slices at a time), mixing between each addition.
Mix in egg yolk and half and half. Taste and add sugar and/or butter if needed. Add more cinnamon as desired.
Gently form into ping pong sized balls. Squeeze chakin shibori style if you like. Use a small square of damp muslin or a double layer of cheesecloth for this. Rinse occasionally as needed: the cloth gets clogged with the sweet potato paste.
Brush on egg yolk glaze and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. I made half with black and half with white sesame seeds.
Cook for 15 minutes in oven with broiler at low (200°C) or even better in a toaster-oven. The point is to dry cook the cakes so the egg-sesame glaze browns and the cakes dry just a little. They won’t be quite like western cakes or biscuits!


17 thoughts on “Sweet Potato Cakes

  1. Very interesting recipe, Tess!

    I am curious, though – how would you say these are to be enjoyed? As a side dish for some meat? Or appetizer course? are they too sweet? I guess not, your co-worker brought for lunch, but I am still wondering. Would they work as a side dish for… say, a roast chicken?

    • I would serve these as a dessert. If you look at the picture links at the top, Ms. Shimbo pairs them with a lovely applesauce and mint leaves.

      They would also be nice for an afternoon tea or coffee break. Less caloric than doughnuts—gosh, they’d be nice in the morning, too. They are sort of like cookies: whenever you’d serve cookies, these would be appropriate.

      But their texture is definitely not crispy like cookies or crackers.

      I don’t have a big sweet tooth so lots of times when other people at the table are indulging in big ice cream and cake or pie desserts, I appreciate the option of having a simple small sweet.

    • But now you have me wondering if you could make these without the sugar. Flavor them with miso, soy sauce, and a bit of mirin to serve with a roasted chicken? hmmm…

    • Thank you so much!
      I am not very conversant with social media, but you have a WordPress.com blog so you should be able to see “like” in your admin bar up top to choose “Like” while you are logged in to WordPress. Yes? No?

      There should also be a “follow” button?

      Maybe I should also make my rss and subscribe by email more prominent?

      • There’s a like button but when I press it nothing happens. So I thought maybe it’s because of your layout?.
        I already am a follower so nothing wrong with that. Very strange..

        • Hmm. It used to work. Maybe staff is in the middle of “fixing” it as they are busy updating all kinds of wp.com things lately. I’m working right now, but I’ll check the help forums later…
          (odd that it works on at least one of my other blogs)

          Sorry about that, but I’m glad you subscribe/follow.

    • I don’t know about magical, but I do love to play with colors and flavors. Things happen that we don’t expect, but we must make the best of them, good or not. I wish I could remember that always…

    • Can you find sweet potatoes in Israel?
      Now that the weather is getting cold here it’s lovely to have them so plentiful. They are a fruit of the earth that can be both sweet and savory.

  2. Hi,
    Thanks for the recipe..look very interesting :) wanna try doin it but I’m not sure bout the cream part and wat does it mean by half and half?

  3. Half and half is light cream, lower in milk fats. It’s what I put into my coffee. Not the whole fat regular cream. You could use just plain milk in this recipe or regular cream, depending on how rich you want it to be. Or use half cream and half milk.

    If you want really low low fat, you could even use just plain water to thin out the mashed sweet potatoes a little.

  4. Pingback: Summer Udon « Tess's Japanese Kitchen

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