Monday, September 5, 2011

Lydia's First 4th Birthday Cake - Purple Sweet Potato Chiffon- Birthday Week #1


My dearie Lydia turned 4 last week on 28th. This year she has grown a lot, luckily vertically. A lot of her clothes can't fit already. Turning from one of the shorter ones to one of the taller ones in class.

As usual I make her 2 cakes. I can't let the presense of baby Reuben to change anything. I asked her, what cake she wants... Rainbow cake. 2 weeks later, she asked for Flower Cake. But too bad, I already had something in mind as her first cake.

This year, her first cake... I actually planned on making something with the combination of Lychee, Raspberry and Rose, with a dacquoise. Sounds like the Ispahan? Yeah, inspiration after eating Swee San's version. So off I went searching for raspberries. Usually i will find it in Jusco or Tesco. But for 3 weeks consectutively, I saw none!!!!!

Mike asked me on the night when I went for my last 36km drive gamble to find raspberries, "Why you never make any birthday cakes nowadays?"

"Huh? No birthday cakes?" Scratching my head.

"Yeah, birthday cakes with cream and not cakes that I can't differentiate from puddings or stuffed full with fruits."

What Mike meant by real cakes are buttercream sponges and puddings are those cakes with gelatin set fillings. He wants a "real cake", but I stuck with my idea of "ispahan"

To his luck, I found NO raspberries. But when I got home, I still wanted to do something with the dacquoise I made before I went to Ipoh. Maybe make a lychee mousse with it.
The next day, when I was supposed to start filling the dacquoise, I found my lychee juice in can to taste awfully 'undelicious', 'disdelicious' or whatever adjective that should be used to describe it.
Then my dacquoise melted with the humidity. What more if I were to fill it? So I dumped the can of lychee juice and dacquoise. I was left with NOTHING.

I had something in the fridge, and that's purple sweet potatoes. Steamed and chilled because the girls won't eat them, but instead chose all the white ones. I had to gamble with this. Make a purple sweet potato chiffon, inspired by Anne's Ube chiffon cake.

Here's how it went.

1. I made up the recipe, the accidently poured in slightly more sugar than I intended to. For both the yolk batter and meringue. My niece complained it was slightly too sweet. I agreed. My cake also deflated quite a bit because of I folded it too much. Deflated cakes do taste sweeter, because it's denser my, more sugar in that cm3. Why did I folded too much? Read on.

2. My yolk batter was purple, magentaish when prepared. But when I folded in the whites, it turned bluish grey. I still poured into my pan. But after thinking twice. What if the cake really turned grey after baking. Lydia won't want a grey cake for her birthday! Yikes! I poured the batter out again and folded in a drop of violet colouring. That's why the batter became denser. I folded and folded and folded.

The rest of the process went perfectly well.......

How I decorated it, with Swiss Meringue Buttercream. As I always feel, cakes with no special filling should always go for buttercream to add some mouthfeel to the cake, and of course for better flavour. When Mike ate this cake, he said, "Now this is cake. I wonder when can I have something like this again."

So, both of them got what they wanted. Lydia, a flower cake, and it's in purple, her fav colour at the moment, and Mike got his 'real cake'. I didn't get to make what I wanted, but then, I will.. next time.

If you'd ask, what's that on the side of the cake? The cake looks like it's wearing knits. Yeah, It was wearing a purple sweater made of cashmere. LOL. No! It's made of grated purple sweet potato. Chilled ones, and they are firm enough. Don't believe? See the picture to believe.

Compare both pictures below. Look at the sweet potato gratings. The first pic, they looked plump. Overnight int he fridge, the look shrunk. They were dried out by the fridge. But they still were fine.

How it looked like inside? My cake was disfigured when the remaining was transported by home. Don't know why the box caved in. Mike said, the kids didn't step on it. But sigh, just no idea why.
The cake was duller than when I frosted it at room temperature. So, I guess same goes like what happened to my purple sweet potato mantous, they looked bright right out the steamer, and colour returns bright when steamed again. But I can't reheat this cake. The frosting will melt. Yucks!

Purple sweet potato chiffon
Recipe source: Wendyywy
Yolk batter
125gm steamed purple potato
100gm all purpose flour
40gm sugar*
50gm oil
75gm water
50gm coconut cream powder
5 egg yolks
Little bit of violet food colouring (optional)

5 egg whites
90gm sugar*
Pinch of salt

1. Grate purple sweet potato, mix with flour and mill till fine
2. Mix oil and yolks together. Then add in sugar, water, violet colour and coconut cream powder. Mix till well combined. Add in milled sweet potato and combine to a smooth paste.
3. Preheat oven at 160(fan)/180C. Prepare a 25cm tube pan or a 8/9 inch spring form pan. Do not grease.
4. In another clean bowl, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks. Add in sugar gradually and beat until stiff.
5. Spoon 1/3 of egg whites into yolk batter and fold until well combined.
6. Pour the batter back into the meringue and fold till well combined.
7. Pour batter into prepared pan. Shake it left and right to level.
8. Bake for 40 minutes or until done.
9. Invert cake immediately after baked and remove from mould when cake has totally cooled
*sugar amount in recipe already reduced compared to my cake 


  1. The cake looks beautiful!!Love the color.
    Happy Birthday to Lydia :)

  2. What a great looking cake! happy belated b'day to your little one!

  3. that looks beautiful! it's even more amazing that that vibrant purple comes naturally from sweet potatoes, not artificial colours!

    btw I commented to let you know in your previous post, but not sure if you saw that: I tagged you in this fun recap post thing, where you choose your top 7 posts so your readers (including me!) can get the chance to catch up on great posts that we've missed!no pressure, do it if/when you like (:

  4. yummylittlecooks,


    Shu Han,
    there was one drop of colouring in the cake :p
    Yeah, I saw it. I'm cracking my head to decide which are my favs, I have so much posts in this blog, LOL.

  5. Amazing & natural for the colours of cake, Love it! Happy belated Birthday to your sweety - Lydia.

  6. Wow ... beautiful cake. Happy Belated birthday to your little Lydia.

  7. Happy Birthday to your little princess! Love the purple birthday cake.

  8. Lovely cake! my son turn 4 this coming Saturday...I didn't bake any cake...just order will do.

  9. Gorgeous cake and happy belated birthday to Lydia :)

  10. I love the simple design. I must say, I do miss "real cakes" at time too! LOL! It looks like God had it all planned for you!

  11. Creative Momsie...Happy Birthday To Lydia and I am sure she love that flower you iced on the cake :) And our first glimpse of Reuben...handsome fella :) Purple sweet potato cake...mmm I want to try making it one day :)

  12. “追食富迪”,
    Thanks to the amazing sweet potato that the cake is beautifully purple

    Yummy bakes,

    Happy Flour,

    sometimes its hard to bake for kids, they will open up the fridge door and keep peeking at their cake, and sometimes, poke at it. LOL.
    sometimes it better off bought so that no one can meddle with it.


    Passionate for baking,
    Yeah, haha.. they all got their cake. LOL.
    My hubby loved this real cake.

    She was so happy about the flower and the colour purple. Reuben is very tall now.

  13. Hi Wendy,
    I think all those Bakery Shops will lose out to compare to your beautiful sweet potato cake. I have never used sweet potato to make cakes. I will try this one day! Many thanks for posting the recipe. Your children is indeed lucky to have you to make cakes for them.

  14. Wow, that's a mothers love! Your cake looks wonderful to me ;) and with all your adventures, I am sure it is all worth it!

  15. Happy Birthday to your princess. I usually cover my cake when in the fridge to prevent "drying".

  16. Happy birthday to Lydia. She is so lucky that her mom is so creative & able to create something out of nothing! Your purple sweet potato is so vibrant - never saw any like it.

  17. Happy Belated Birthday to Lydia ! She is so lucky to have you as you can make anything she requested, hehehe..I love the grated purple potato that you use to decorate this cake, look so beautiful.

  18. Mel,
    It's either a blessing or a curse. Like it or not, they have to eat my cake, LOL.

    LOL, I always get into trouble with birthday cakes. Always need contigency plans.

    I don't have that big of a cover :(

    Oh, never? Next time when u get back to Taiping, go and buy some at the wet market. My MIL likes to buy her purple sweet potatoes in Taiping.

    ur kids too. I'll faint if my kids ask for L'exotique.

  19. Happy Belated Birthday to Lydia! The cake is so lovely, I like your decoration especially with the used of grated purple sweet potatoes, natural purple!

  20. Happy Birthday Lydia...woo...first birthday cake. Can't wait to see the rest...hehe!
    Btw, I really wanted to tell you that the cake look really nice and special. Love it...:)

  21. pretty cake. I have baked a purple sweet potato chiffon too few weeks back , i got a light purple hue due to only 2 or 3 egg yolks i used for a small chiffon. how did you manage the decorate the cake with the grated potato? it's not easy, just sprinkle that?

  22. is indeed annoying and puzzling on the color change. But remember those rose mantous I made too, it got only slightly purplish the next couple day. Anyway, no matter the color, the kids & your family seems to enjoy it very much! Happy birthday Lydia!

  23. you have done a great cake...i like the design and color...
    happy birthday to your princess! ^^

  24. Ah Tze,
    Natural is always the better choice :)

    tengkiu. the rest... no rest la, just another.

    pat it on like how one will do with choc rice, but have to be really gentle to prevent from squishing the potato flat. Then patch up the job by separating clumps to the bald areas. Hard to describe...

    Natural pigments are always a headache to use.
    Which is why smarties don't look as good as M&Ms.


  25. You are really a Super Woman , even with 3 little kids you still can think & make such a good cake. I always enquiry why you still can make cake even with a little baby? U have any maid? However , Happy Birthday to your princess.


  26. You know what? I've not baked a "real" cake for a long time too! Like DD1's swiss roll ice cream cake, that's a cheat. And recently, DS2's birthday, I made him a marshmallow jelly cake. Been really lazy lately, don't want to spend so much time on decor. And not forgetting, making buttercream takes time too. Slacking now...

  27. Yvonne,
    There are times when the baby will sleep. I just use that time to do it.
    So, it's spread out.And I don't cook that day.
    I don't have a maid, BTw,

    Blessed Homemaker,
    Making buttercream does take time, but I only do that for plain cakes to jazz it up. Yeah, I understand it's tiring for you. Make them deco it themselves, saves u on the work, LOL.

  28. It is beautiful,I can't see any imperfections:D. Happy belated birthday to Lydia:)

  29. Happy Belated Birthday Lydia. Beautiful cake. Like the simple and girlish design. :))

  30. Hapy Belated Birthday to Lydia. This cake so special makes with sweet potato.

  31. Hi Wendy, thank you to stop by at my blog,here the translate for you :
    air jeruk nipis = lime juice
    tepung panir kasar = panko bread crumb

    *this cake color looks devine,i love purple ubee and like to make my own soon. TFS :)

  32. Happy Belated to your cute Lydia. I love the nice vibrant purple color of the decorations. I think it is a perfect looking cake for a sweet girl :)

  33. Hi Wendy I forgot to ask you I usually bake my chifon with tube pan ( the pan with hole in the centre) can I use my normal round baking pan? Because as I know with the tube pan we have to turn it over after baking in the oven. What should I do if I use a normal round baking pan?
    Thanks for the advice.


  34. Yuni,
    you may, but do not grease or line the pan.
    turn it over as usual, and use your hands to get the cake out later by the pushing method.
    I used a curved base pan as seen in my Oreo chiffon cake post.

  35. Hi Wendy did you get my first post abt how I think that you are a great mom and that you've inspired me to bake my own yam cake. If you didn't get it well maybe it's the connection error, I lived in a small city so the connection can be bad sometimes. Well anyway just wanted to let you know that you've done a fantastic job!


  36. yuni,
    no, what u see here is what I saw.
    thanks very much for the compliments

  37. Hi, Wendy! Congrats to you being the winner (Most Likes) of my Natural Colour Bakes Event, see result here ( Also, hope to see your new entry for my new October Event - Halloween Party (!!

  38. hankerie,
    Oh thanks! I never thought I'd win.
    Thanks for organising

  39. Hi, i have a few question to ask
    1) can i omit the coconut cream powder?
    2) do i need to add in cream of tartar?

  40. Anonymous,
    Then use 100ml coconut milk and don't put in water. If you totally do not want any coconut in this cake, it will be nothing but bland. Purple sweet potatoes don't have any fragrance.
    You can use vinegar or anything acidic like lemon juice in place of cream of tartar. You will need 1/2 teaspoon of those.
    But if you're really good in beating egg whites, just omit that


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