That lush, rich chocolate frosting you see is made from just two ingredients, and one of them is a vegetable. Chocolate sweet potato frosting is a recipe I investigated with a heft of skepticism. Would the combination of chocolate and sweet potato purée create a luscious frosting the internet had promised me, or was it just a guise for getting unsuspecting eaters (namely, my children) to eat more vegetables?
Much to my surprise and delight, the combination of baked sweet potato purée and semi-sweet chocolate led to the discovery of my new favorite frosting. With a whipped texture that rivals the canned stuff and a light, custard-like flavor that tastes nothing like sweet potatoes, this two-ingredient frosting is easier to make than buttercream frosting and just as welcome on cupcakes or birthday cakes.
How This Works
By combining puréed sweet potato and chopped chocolate while the sweet potato purée is still warm, you can create a thick emulsion that cools into a rich, spreadable frosting. The process is not unlike making a typical chocolate frosting, where butter combines with chocolate into an emulsion that is later sweetened with powdered sugar. In this frosting the sweet potato acts as both the butter and the sweetener.
Here's how you do it: Bake a large sweet potato until tender, remove the skin (once cooled slightly), purée the potato with a food processor, add chopped chocolate (or better yet, chocolate chips) to the still-warm purée, and process until smooth. The frosting will thicken as it cools, making for a swirl-ready cake topping with a texture reminiscent of your favorite canned chocolate frosting.
Who Needs Sweet Potato Frosting?
The concept of sweet potato frosting became wildly popular when everyone from Parents to Oprah to Food52 shared Genevieve Ko's recipe from her book Better Baking last fall, but vegan versions of this frosting have been on the web for at least the last five years. This is not to say that this frosting is strictly for vegans, though — this two-ingredient frosting is for every home baker listed below.
- Moms who want to feed their kids less sugar and more vegetables, but sometimes chocolate cake too.
- Bakers who are out of butter, but have sweet potatoes.
- Vegans, those who are exploring vegan baking, or anyone watching their sugar intake.
- Anyone who wants to try something new and different from their regular chocolate frosting.
Baked Sweet Potatoes Make Better Frosting
As is true for pancakes, pie, and sweet potato casserole, baked sweet potatoes make for a sweeter and creamier frosting. Baking concentrates the sweet potato's sweetness by evaporating some of the moisture.
Many sweet potato frostings call for canned sweet potato purée, which requires some cooking before being turned into frosting. Use canned, especially if you've got some on hand, cooking it over medium heat for about 10 minutes before adding the chocolate, but avoid using boiled or steamed sweet potatoes for making this frosting, as their watery texture will turn the frosting into soup.
Choosing Chocolate for Sweet Potato Frosting
The chocolate for chocolate sweet potato frosting should be something that you have on hand and something that suits your desired flavor for the finished frosting.
- Semi-sweet chips: I always have semi-sweet chips on hand, which work well for this recipe and give the finished frosting a middle-of-the-road chocolate sweetness.
- Dark chocolate: Maybe you keep dark chocolate bars on hand for baking. Chop those up and use them for this frosting for a richer, darker chocolate frosting.
- Milk chocolate: Avoid milk chocolate bars, which have more sugar and less cocoa butter, or you'll have significantly sweeter and thinner chocolate frosting.
Where to Use Chocolate Sweet Potato Frosting
Use this frosting as you would any other frosting. It makes enough to cover one (two-layer) nine-inch cake or a nine- by 13-inch sheet cake. Personally, I loved it on graham crackers for an after-school snack for my kiddos and as a dip for apples and strawberries. The frosting will harden in the fridge, so be sure to bring it back to room temperature before frosting.
How To Make Chocolate Sweet Potato Frosting
What You Need
1 large sweet potato (about 18 ounces)
12 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped or chips
Medium mixing spoon
- Bake the sweet potato: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F. Place the sweet potato directly on the oven rack (place a piece of aluminum foil onto the rack below if you're worried about drips). Bake until tender, about 1 hour.
- Cool and purée the potato: Cool the potato for about 30 minutes, or until you can comfortably handle it. Scoop the tender orange flesh out of the peel and and purée in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment.
- Add the chocolate: Add the chocolate to the food processor and pulse to combine; the sweet potatoes should still be warm and melt the chocolate.
- Stir until well-combined and cooled: Transfer the frosting to a medium bowl and continue to stir until the sweet potato cools completely and the frosting begins to thicken.
- Use or store: Use the frosting immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use. The cooled frosting can be gently reheated in the microwave with 30-second bursts until spreadable.