This cake isn't winning any beauty contests. From the outside, it seems a little, well, ho-hum: It doesn't have any wacky flavors, unusual fillings, or even a spread of frosting. But it does have one very intriguing secret: this cake is made with a full cup of mashed potatoes.
Yes, mashed potatoes in a cake! This is not the first time that cooked potatoes have shown up in sweet baked goods, but never before have they played such a starring role. In the post-Thanksgiving leftover glut, when the thought of another helping of microwaved mashed potatoes, even smothered in gravy, makes you blanch, this cake is the perfect lifeline.
Kronans kaka, or "crown's cake," is a Swedish dessert that is traditionally made with mashed potatoes and ground almonds. In the late 1800s, flour was prohibitively expensive and used sparingly. Home bakers came up with a creative cake held together with almonds and potatoes, staples of the Swedish diet. As a result, it's gluten-free.
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This cake is plain in the best way: simple, moist, and only lightly sweet. If you want to dress it up, feel free to add some chunks of apples to the cake, preferably ones that have been rolled in cinnamon sugar. You could swirl some spoonfuls of jam into the batter just before baking, or fold in a handful toasted walnuts. Add a sprinkle of cardamom, or substitute lemon or grapefruit zest for the orange called for in the recipe.
Serve the cake hot from the oven with creme fraiche and jam (I like rhubarb), or eat it for breakfast with a dollop of yogurt and a drizzle of honey. Feed it to your gluten-free friends, your holiday guests staying through the weekend, or feel free to keep it all to yourself.