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.


  1. A delightful cake! What a wonderful combination of flavors!

    Happy New Year!

    Cheers and have a great weekend,


  2. Anonymous9/1/09

    Always look forward to seeing what you come up with, Sol, and I am never disappointed! Looks fantastic :)

    I have the book, excellent. I read it, but have not made anything...yet! The bread looks too good not to try! Dainty slivers? LOL!

  3. Oh que c'est beau.
    I am now desperately tempted to make the Orange pretties.
    I already have my heart steam/ foam for my valentine coffees or cakes made because of you:)
    I thought these wre the little confits we find in Europe.. Glacéed fruits..which in essence they are..but prettier.
    Quel talent!

  4. PS I forgot to say your sorbet quenelle is a treat for the eyes also.
    And I am a vintage pan aficionado also.
    I only have pie ones..apart from maybe one bundt from my mom..but I LOVE them.

  5. The candied orange hearts are wonderful - the chez d'oeuvre in my mind! Your creativity shines again, Sol. I don't know whether to thank the incense or my congressman!

  6. the pq is in awe, all this fruit and i don't have a clue what to do... you are always at the top of the tree with ideas! me, i just get thunked on while napping in the dirt... love the pics, its all fab!

  7. Since my oldest daughter's name is Melissa and she enjoys baking, I better get this cook. The cake looks soooo delicous. Yummmmm!!!!!

  8. Thank you Rosa, and Happy New Year!

    Carol, I was intrigued by quite a few recipes in the book (one being the Bee Stings) but as you may have noticed, I have the attention span of a . . . Hey, Carol, you got the book too?!? ;-Þ

    Merci, mon ami Monique. And I'm not surprised you're a fan of vintage pans, as we've always had similar tastes and interests, and it's creeping me out!
    I'm kidding, of course. But, I will admit, I'm tickled to be in such good company.

    Susan, you're comments are always sweet. Thank you!

    Dear PQ, if you only knew how many foodies (or, would that be, fruities?) would happily trade places with you.

    Naz, I've always liked the name as well. And you have a Melissa who loves to bake? I see a celebrity chef in your future [g].

    Thank you all, very kindly.

  9. Ohhh.I would love to get my hand on one of those pans! Interesting trap door??!!Hmmmmm?
    oh and about my garlic tip..I wont shhot you in the face...only the pinky toe!!!LOL

  10. Anonymous10/1/09

    I love the blog, but always come back for second helpings because you crack me up with the comments. LOL!

  11. As a most gifted writer, photographer and cook, you won't have to twist my arm to try this yummy treat, dear Marysol. Despite the snowstorm, you might find me rapping on your door as we pass by tomorrow on our way home from the lake. Lucky you to find that vintage pan. A most creative and beautifully photographed post, dear friend.

  12. I just got this book for Christmas but haven't had time to make anything from it yet. This sounds great, so I might have to try it first.

  13. Joey, my house is the one with the white flag swaying on the roof.
    I'm snowed in too, and I'm tempted to order one of those monk-style suits advertised on TV as Snuggies.
    You think I'm kidding, don't you.

    Well, tomorrow the highs will be in the 20s (a tropical heatwave!), so maybe I'll hold off on the long, thick blanket with arms purchase.
    Hey sweet friend, I hope you made it home safely.

    Melissa, I can't really form an opinion on a cookbook, after having only tried one recipe, but I think you'll agree, the book is loaded with simple and comforting recipes. I can't wait to see which one you'll end up trying.

    Carol, thank you my friend for loving the blog...I'm thinking of starting another, which I may title: "So you think you can eat."

  14. I hope you're having a wonderful new year so far :). Ya know, I've yet to purchase a vintage cake pan but I have my fair share of vintage cookbooks. This one is certainly a beauty, though, and so is that dessert. I bet it tastes like a comforting sweet treat but it's presented like a beautiful gourmet dessert!

  15. Sweet potato bread sounds so good! I love just about anything with sweet potatoes involved!

  16. Leslie, I thought I had already replied to your comment. I guess I deserve a bullet in the other pinky toe [g]

    Sophie, old cookbooks are a weakness for me as well - their content keeps me entertained and out of trouble for at least several hours. But that's a future blog entry [G].

    Maris, this bread was great served plain, but I also liked it toasted with a 'smidgen' (who am I kidding?) of butter, for breakfast.

    Thanks everyone for your thoughtful comments!

  17. Anonymous12/1/09

    is the trapdoor for fillings? Maybe? You make everything so tasty looking!


  18. Must have leetle friend. And that gorgeous teacup. I have fantasies where the rugby team housed in my 5 year old go on holiday, and I finally get to indulge myself with such niceties. One can dream.

    Thank you for the recipe, and especially for the great tip on the orange peel.

    By the way, please thank your son for the title on my last post :)

  19. Hey Rob, it's good to see you!
    I should've elaborated on the trapdoor. It opens at the bottom only, about 1/8 inch. So, I'm guessing the silly contraption is there to help a cake cool faster. But, I ain't no Nancy Drew [G]

    Dee, that boy will be tickled when he finds out about this - thank you!

  20. psst, come on by, i got a little something for you, no cal even~

  21. Ooh, I like a good mystery. Does it involve handcuffs?

  22. I like the heart shape decor on top ... sounds like a really nice cookbook to have :D

  23. I love those little hearts with your dessert. Looks like the perfect Valentine's Day treat. And that cake pan! I want that cake pan!

  24. Thanks NC and Y!
    Guys, raid the antiques shops for little baking treasures such as the cake pan. Good luck and have fun.

  25. Anonymous14/1/09

    I love vintage baking pans, too. If only I had enough space to keep them all! This recipe sounds delicious...

  26. Hey, I LIKE patchouli! The cake sounds yummy, but those candied citrus slices sound divine!

  27. That cake pan is so fantastic! The bread does look 23 slivers-worthy. I'm jealous you got up to 20s, we only got up to balmy 11 today.

  28. Kellypea, I've collected so many neat pans over the years that I just couldn't let go of them. You'll find my pans stacked in the pantry, in closets, and last, but not least, nestled on basement shelves. I figure, if Canada ever attacks, I'll be ready.

    Kathy, the bread is really good on its own, but the sauce really makes it ultra spechul [g]

    Oh, Maggie, I spoke too soon. Since my last comment, temperatures have dropped and stayed in the single digits. Qué frio.

  29. What an interesting cake pan. Did the wording show up on your bread? I'm curious about the trap door too. Let us know if you figure it out.

  30. Sol, that certainly is an interesting pan...I have a few from my mom, one still in the box she sent away for...a checkerboard cake pan..
    I will have to check the date..

    Your cake looks delicious! And my male neighbor came by a few weeks ago to borrow clear Karo...he wanted to make candied orange peel.

    I hesitated as his wife was at work, and he has been known to start kitchen fires!
    He survived! :)

    Mucho frio here too..pics at WFD & more...
    And yes, your blog is just filled with beautiful things and witty narrative to boot..

  31. I love that cake pan! I imagine anything you made would taste better coming from that fun pan.

  32. Marc, that is an excellent question! And one I (almost) didn't have an answer to, because when I turned the cake out of the pan, I quickly turned it over again, to cool.
    But, I had saved part of the bread in the freezer, so I was able to check. And yes, the words left a very slight imprint, but hardly visible to the naked eye.

    Hey Kathleen! I have a DH who believes that food -no matter what it is- should always be cooked using only one setting: High.
    And oil should be used with reckless abandon. Yes, I have the fire dept. on speed dial.

    Hi Lynn! You should see the 'treasures' I found over the weekend; I'll post about them soon.

    Thank you all very kindly!

  33. Marysol, what a beautiful cake tin!!
    I wish I had more space in the kitchen... my cooking gadgets took over all space under our bed and part of the living room shelf ;)
    Have a good day,

  34. hey cupcake, i am sending you an email to yahoo, look for it in 5'!

  35. You are mentioned in today's blogpost..http://cookingmylife.blogspot.com/2009/01/celebrate-good-times-come-on.html

    btw, people manage a long snowy winter in Zurich because it is a major urban are. LOTS to do and lots of public transport. imho

  36. Oh Jain, the memories you have unleashed. Thumper started calling me 'cupcake' when he was about 3 yrs. old. My little hooligan is all grown-up now, so it's no longer cool to address mom as such.

    M, I'll be right over!
    And, in regards to Zurich, I have no doubt it would be a wonderful place to visit.
    But you forget, I was born and raised on a tropical island. And even though, I presently live in Timbuktu, I'm only a skip and a hop away from cosmopolitan living.
    But, like Zurich, it'll have to wait until there's a break in our
    Antarctic temperatures.
    Call me a wimp. And be careful what else you call me, 'cause I can hear you.

  37. This sweet potato bread sounds really good!

  38. Hi Marysol!

    It all looks fabulous, and wonderful combination of flavors. Such a clever idea to use cutters for the candied orange peel.

    Love your antique Swans Down pan, too.

    You might find this link interesting ~


    You were right about the trap door, it is meant to provide a place to insert a knife to loosen the cake, and apparently to facilitate cooling.

    Your pan is a beauty; it's so heart-warming to know it is still being used to bake luscious goodies to this day. :)

  39. Thank you Kevin!

    Mari, the link was very informative. I figured the pan was worth more than a few Jacksons.
    Thankfully, this is where being an antiques dealer has its perks. Let's just say, I got mine very reasonably [G].

    But, it was such a neat find, and I'm such a sucker...er...collector, that I might've paid a hefty price for it.
    So, the mystery is solved.
    Thank you!

  40. They just don't make pans like that anymore. Simply beautiful!

  41. I'm gone for almost one week..come to peek..:(

    I still love this post but always wanting the next chapter:)


    Pretty please?:)

  42. CAkes and pans are all beautiful, amiga. I missed your posts.

  43. Hellllllloooooooooooooo Sol.....................

    I'm so lonely for you.................

  44. Hey guys, I've missed you all too!

    I was ready to take quite a drubbing for being A.W.O.L., and I probably deserve it, but first, allow me to divert your attention to another chapter in my life, via email.

    Btw, I promise to add a new entry just in time for Valentine's Day. And if I don't meet the deadline, well, let the beatings begin.