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Sweet Potato Cake with Molasses Cream Cheese Frosting & Georgia Pecan Crunch

Cake:
1 can (15 oz.) sweet potato
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp. grated orange rind
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2/3 cup chopped Georgia pecans

Pecan Crunch:
20 hard caramel candies (like Werther’s)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped Georgia pecans
Frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp. molasses


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Drain sweet potatoes and mash to a smooth puree. Place in bowl. While using electric mixer add sugar, eggs, and orange rind. Beat until smooth and well-blended. Add oil in a steady stream. In a small bowl, combine the flour, spices, salt, and baking soda. Add to sweet potato mixture and beat on low just until moistened. Stir in 2/3 cup pecans. Spread in pan and bake 25–30 minutes or until center springs bake when gently pressed. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare Pecan Crunch: Maintain oven temperature. Remove candy wrappers and place candies about 1 inch apart in two rows on parchment-lined baking sheet. Heat in oven until candies are melted, but not bubbling, about 5–8 minutes. Quickly spread melted candies in a thin even layer; scatter chopped pecans over top, pressing into candy. Return to oven and heat until candy bubbles, about 2–3 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. For Frosting: In medium bowl, with wooden spoon, stir cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until softened and smooth. Add molasses and mix until blended.
            To serve, slice cooled cake in half horizontally; remove top layer and fill bottom piece with half the cream cheese frosting. Place top layer of cake on top of filling. Spread remaining frosting on top with a thin coating on side of cake. Break up pecan crunch into large irregular pieces and place decoratively on side of cake (thin layer of icing should help it adhere). Serves 12.

 

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