Have Your Cake and Eat Veggies, Too


Déjà vu, flashbacks of Mother saying, “Eat your vegetables!” is harder to avoid these days thanks to Dr. Oz, Mrs. Obama and others. But why not have your cake and eat veggies too?

Japanese Sweet Potato (Photo Credit)

The Japanese sweet potato, commonly known in America as yam, provides a plethora of benefits including anti-inflammatory agents, cancer fighting properties and a host of other goodies. Click here for the full scoop.

In Japan, street festival vendors often sell the sliced up sweet potato in a sticky syrup coating with sesame seeds. I was delighted to see an incorporation of this tradition in cake whilst visiting Japan’s most popular recipe site, Cookpad.com. At the Toiroro’s Kitchen food blog, I discovered a recipe entitled For Lovers of Sweet Potato: Satsuma Potato Cake. (Satsuma is located in Kyushu, one of Japan’s southern islands.)

Sweet Potato Cake

The original recipe is here. The Google translation is here. Grammarians may have a fit but the information is pretty clear. Just in case though, I’ve jotted a few notes for those of us in the USA.

  • Set your oven to 338 degrees Fahrenheit
  • The batter yields a 6x4 loaf plus 3 cupcakes

Now, for grams to cup conversions:

  • Approximately ¼ cup milk 
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • a little less than 1/3 cup of sugar
  • a little over ¼ cup flour

As written and translated:

  • Small to medium American yam/Japanese sweet potato
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of rum
  • Sesame seeds to sprinkle on top
  • Also, Toiroro’s Kitchen instructs bakers to sift the flour and baking soda 3 times

Japanese Sweet Potato Cupcake

The cupcakes were moist and sweet with the tiny crunch of sesame seeds. However, the loaf cake was a little too moist for this Ninja Baker. Three minutes in the electric oven helped but the cupcakes were still better. Next time I’ll bake the loaf for 45 minutes instead of the prescribed 40 minutes.

If you are a sweet potato purist and insist on a down-to-earth presentation,
Magnolia Days’ Renee, an award-winning food blogger and southern belle, has an out-of-this world Sweet Potato Casserole for #SundaySupper.

Rather than potatoes, perhaps you are aiming for more greens in 2013. Well, take a look at this: Chocolate Zucchini Bread! It’s created by award-winning chef and owner of Recipeland.com, Happy Zhangbo. This beauty is chocolaty, moist AND got a thumbs-up from my most honest, forthright critic – my husband.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Ninja Baker Notes:

  • Bake the bread for 65 minutes (instead of 60.)
  • Melt 2 ounces instead of 1 ounce of unsweetened chocolate.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of Penzeys Cake Spice.
  • Also, add a generous cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips.
  • Use at least ¼ cup of organic coconut palm sugar in the 1½ cups of sugar.

Love, zucchini, and chocolate baked together
equals all the good things of life in one loaf.

If zucchini and chocolate is a concept that’s hard to swallow, please direct your attention to La Bella Vita. Roz, an Italian aficionado, offers up authentic Italian-style Zucchini Blossoms with Tomato Sauce.

But even purists like carrot cake, don’t they? These mini cupcakes got the
ultimate compliment from the husband, “Very tasty.” (He slipped three right off the cooling rack even before frosting.)


Mini Carrot Cupcakes with and without Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

Ellie Krieger’s recipe from the Food Network is my go-to if I’m making carrot cake. (It’s also been one of my nieces, Jasmine’s faves.) As for frosting, Cook.com’s Honey Cream Cheese is a superb combination of sweet and tangy. Atop the carrot cake minis made with organic pastry flour, unsweetened organic applesauce, walnuts and carrots, it is indeed a “tasty” topping.

Hard to eat just one...But, you're getting your carrot quotient for the day!

Do you prefer your carrots in a savory dish? Jen of Juanita’s Cocina has a cheesy, Ritz crackery, carroty delight for you. Click here for her Carrots au Gratin recipe.

So, in whatever form you find them, as Mother always said,
“Eat your vegetables!”

Wishing you a 2013 filled with the perfect balance of savory and sweet.

The Ninja Baker

The Ninja Baker

© ™ Watkinson 2012

The Ninja Baker's recipes are also available at:

The Ninja Baker's Japanese Plum Sweet Memories and Recipes

Bob's Red Mill:
Almond Oatmeal Apple Cookies

Bob's Red Mill:
The Ninja Baker's Gluten-Free Breakfast Cupcake


Wholesome Sweeteners:
The Ninja Baker's Gluten-Free Coconut Chocolate Cheesecake Minis with Espresso Cream

Wholesome Sweeteners:
The Ninja Baker's Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Champagne Glaze & Optional Lemon Peach Marmalade Filling