Sweet Potato and Poppy Seed Cake

During a trip to Prague I gorged myself on makový závin, a pastry loaded with bittersweet poppy seeds – a total danger zone for toothy smiles. This is a twist on that memory. The poppy seed filling swirls around a subtle, dense sweet potato cake studded with pecans. An excellent companion for a mug of strong black coffee.

Serves: 10


  • 260g sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 185g soft brown sugar
  • 160ml sunflower oil
  • 375g plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 100g pecans, chopped


Czech poppy seed filling

  • 225g poppy seeds
  • 1 orange, zest
  • 45g sultanas (golden raisins)
  • 45g soft brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 4 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted



Add the sweet potato to a steamer set over a saucepan of lightly simmering water and cook until tender. Remove from the heat, cool and then blitz to a smooth purée using a food processor or hand-held blender.

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Lightly grease and line a 22cm ring (bundt) tin with baking paper.

To make the poppy seed filling, put the poppy seeds in a bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to soak for five minutes. Drain, then transfer to a food processor and blend together with the orange zest and sultanas, then add the sugar, honey, melted butter and blend again to combine.

Beat the eggs, vanilla, sugar and oil together in a bowl using a handheld mixer, or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, for two or three minutes until smooth. Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and salt one by one and continue to beat until thoroughly combined, then beat in the sweet potato purée and pecans until evenly distributed. Gently fold in the poppy seed mixture.

Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly in the tin for five minutes, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

Recipe taken from Sticky Fingers Green Thumb by Hayley McKee

Sticky Fingers, Green Thumb brings you almost sixty recipes celebrating vegetables, herbs and edible flowers in cakes and other sweet snacks. Tips on how to harness their unique flavours, prep them for baking and even grow them yourself will inspire you to create treats packed with wholesome, unconventional flavours. Say goodbye to mushroom risotto and zucchini fritters and hello to porcini caramel and chestnut cake, and apple cider and zucchini muffins. This is earthy, seasonal baking at its best.

You can purchase Sticky Fingers Green Thumb at cooked.com.

Published by Hardie Grant Books.

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Amelia Theodorakis
Amelia Theodorakishttps://ameliatheoodorakis.godaddysites.com/
A writer and communications specialist with eight years’ in startups, SMEs, not-for-profits and corporates. Interests and expertise in gender studies, history, finance, banking, human interest, literature and poetry.
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