Recipe Review

I Tried Coffee-Can Sweet Potato Bread and It’s the Seasonal Treat You’ll Want All Year Long

published Dec 12, 2021
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coffee can sweet potato bread
Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

To me, there’s nothing quite like the smell of a fresh-baked loaf of bread. When I was a kid, I remember when we would drive by the local bread factory and I would stick my head out of the car window just to get a better whiff of that warm, sweet aroma. At home, my mother was not much of a baker; she instead made simple meals that I loved, but there usually wasn’t much experimentation. As an adult, however, I’ve found myself taking on the challenge of learning new recipes — which can admittedly take me out of my comfort zone of ordering takeout, but gets me excited to keep trying new things. So, when I heard of Carlena Davis, aka Spilling the Sweet Tea, and her take on an old friend’s coffee-can sweet potato bread recipe, I thought to myself, “This is something I can definitely do!” And so, I did just that.

How to Make Coffee-Can Sweet Potato Bread 

Although Davis’s TikTok video doesn’t give you the exact measurements you need, you’ll need white sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, water, sweet potatoes, and chopped pecans to make this recipe become a reality.

This recipe is quite simple, and the prep work is very light. You will, however, want to set aside about 45 minutes to an hour of cook time when baking your sweet potato, followed by an hour for the actual process of baking the bread. Once your potatoes are ready, using a standing mixer with paddle attachment, combine sugar and oil; beat well. Next, add your eggs and continue to beat well. Grab a separate bowl and combine your sifted flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda. Using 1/3 cup of water, stir the flour mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Lastly, stir in the sweet potatoes and chopped pecans.  You’ll want to use the mixer to give it a nice consistency before you go on to the next step. 

Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

Take your empty 16-ounce coffee can and remove any labeling from the outside as well as the plastic lid. Using canola oil, spray the inside of the can and then dust it with flour. Now you can pour the batter in, but be sure to fill it just above the halfway point. If you happen to pour a little extra in, however, don’t worry; it’ll still turn out fine. With your oven preheated to 350°F, place the coffee can directly on the oven rack and bake for one hour.   

When the time comes, remove the coffee can from the oven and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. The bread should have pulled away from the sides, making it easy to take a plate, place it on top of the can, and invert it to release the bread onto it. Once you’ve allowed your bread to completely cool, go ahead and slice it, add butter, and enjoy. Don’t forget to pat yourself on the back — because you just made bread that would rival any from the store!

My Honest Opinion of Coffee-Can Sweet Potato Bread

I’m officially drinking the tea! Spilling the Sweet Tea’s recipes are so amazing and approachable. I have little to no experience in the baking department and I was beyond satisfied with the outcome, as well as relieved to see that I was successful in baking a loaf of bread all by myself. Davis’s take on her old friend Ms. Ramona’s sweet potato bread is easily one of my favorite recipes and I will surely be busting it out for my family this holiday season. The coffee can is a fun touch and makes for a great holiday gift as well. It feels good to recycle an old coffee can, plus you get the bonus of getting to eat delicious, fresh-baked bread at the same time.

Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

Tips for Making Coffee-Can Sweet Potato Bread 

  1. Bake the sweet potatoes ahead of time. Because this process takes about an hour, go ahead and bake your potatoes before you start any other prep work. 
  2. Use a can opener to cut around the top of the can. Because the can has a lip to it where you fasten the lid, it will be helpful to use a can opener to remove the lip. This way, when you are ready to remove the bread from the can, it will slide right out with no fuss.  
  3. Search for Café Du Monde brand. A lot of coffee cans nowadays are made of plastic, so be sure to look for brands that come in actual metal cans. Café Du Monde and Café Bustelo are perfect for the job. 
  4. Remove labels and plastic lid. Before putting the coffee can in the oven, make sure that there are no labels left on the outside of it. Some cans have labels painted on, and while that may be OK it’s probably safer to search for the cans where you can remove the label entirely. You will not need the lid during the baking process, either.   

Note: Due to the popularity of this recipe on TikTok, Davis has now packaged this recipe — along with four other delicious recipes — into a holiday bundle available on her site for purchase.