Raise your hand...

...if you know Sweet Melissa. No. Not the Allman Brothers 60’s hit song. Quit sniffing the patchouli, you hippies.

I’m referring to the Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy. I’ve only had this book for about a month, and so far, I've tried one recipe. Please, hold off on the lynching for a moment. Like most foodies, I have far more cookbooks than I have time to read them. But, I intend to turn to this book often, with its simple and mouthwatering recipes.

Ok, back to my point, if I had one...

...Sweet Potato Bread was the first recipe I tried from said book. And may I add, a very delicious choice, as well. I made only one change, which I'll include below.

Oh, and I baked it in this...say ahlo to my leetle friend:

It promised to make better cakes, so I had to get it. Ain't it a beauty? I'm powerless over vintage cake pans. I don't know how well you can see it, but this model comes with a curious little trapdoor. It might've been put there so you could insert a knife to loosen cakes, or perhaps to act as a vent. I dunno. What do you guys think?

And you know, contrary to popular belief, these old pans are not at all the pain-in-the-ass-tronomical-sense-to-clean you might think they are. As long as you: grease and flour it; parchment paper it, or pan coat it.

Hmm, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it were me who went off on a tangent, again.

But seriously, this is a very moist and flavorful bread, and I found it tastes even better the next day. It also keeps well if wrapped in plastic wrap for 3 days. And it freezes well. Give it a try.

Sweet Potato Bread with Cinnamon-Rum-Orange-Glaze
Makes one Bundt pan


Two 15-ounce cans sweet potatoes, drained *
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 large eggs
2 cups AP flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Cinnamon Rum Orange Glaze:

¼ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup rum
½ cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks

Position a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven t0 350°F. Butter and flour a 10 cup Bundt pan.

In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer with the paddle attachment on low speed, mash the sweet potatoes until smooth. Add the sugar and oil and mix to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Add the flour mixture into the sweet potato mixture in three batches. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Do not over mix. Stir in the pecans.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Level the batter by lifting the pan a few inches and dropping it onto the counter a couple of times. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before inverting onto a rack for glazing.

For the glaze: Combine the orange juice, rum, sugar, and cinnamon sticks in a small nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat and reduce by half. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly before glazing the bread.
Use a pastry brush to glaze the warm bread generously. Wait 10 minutes and glaze again.

* I used roasted sweet potatoes, instead of canned. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Bake (unpeeled) sweet potatoes for 1 hour, or until tender. Set aside until cool and comfortable enough to handle. Cut potatoes in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.

I served this with Cranberry Sorbet , which came from Simply Recipes. Lacking white cranberry juice, I substituted freshly-squeezed orange juice, with great results. So, if you like cranberries, you'll enjoy this.

I garnished the plate with Candied Orange Peel, which I made using the entire fruit (the orange peel and its juice) to make the syrup. Use the juice, instead of water, for optimum flavor - swear to Gad. That's a little secret from me to you.

And, instead of candied orange strips, try using small cookie cutters, or, as I did, heart-shaped hors d' oeuvres cutters, for a little variety. But, cut them out before crystallizing.

Well, I'm off to treat myself to a dainty little sliver of this rich and delicious bread.

Did I just hear a "Pffft!"

Ok, so I'm a hypocritical liar. Why, I'm practically a member of Congress. And, I confess, I've had 23 dainty slivers, so far.

This meeting is adjourned.