Variety Flour Thursday: Chocolate Mashed Potato Cake

April 7, 2011

It all (and by “it all” I mean “this post”) started in the used book basement at the local bookstore, where I spend most of my free time and/or that weird in-between time born of serious procrastination before/after/during errands. This used book basement not only has used fiction and poetry and everything nice, but also has used cookbooks. Do I peruse their selection at least once a week?  Without a doubt.

Sometimes the selection of used cookbooks is not as exciting as you think it’d be, and sometimes it’s downright boring, so I try to go in with my only expectation being to have fun looking at pictures, or just touching spines of used books. I was browsing, not ambitiously, when something shiny caught my eye. It doesn’t take much. Much to my delight, the book was a Ghirardelli chocolate book. There was potential and I got excited, opening the book as soon as I plucked it off the shelf. I’ve been disappointed by shiny cookbooks in the past, but the first recipe I saw in this particular shiny slice o’ heaven was for mashed potato chocolate cake. Boom. Consider the purchase done and the cake made.

It’s Variety Flour Thursday, but since this is my very own part of the vast and crazy interwebs things will slide this week. Consider it a Variety Ingredient Thursday? Mashed potatoes are kind of like flour, right? Starch? Now I’m just stretching it. The cake itself is not as dense as you’d think it would be because of the whipped egg whites, and the crumb is light. Definitely not at all like some fudgy chocolate cakes you encounter. The cinnamon is a really interesting touch because you don’t taste it as such in the finished product but I really believe the chocolate flavor would be less complex if you forgo the spice.

Chocolate Potato Cake

(Recipe adapted from the Ghirardelli Original Chocolate Cookbook)

Yields one 9 by 13 inch or one bundt cake (if you half the recipe, you can use an 8-inch square pan)



1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs, separated

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup mashed potatoes*, room temperature

½ cup chopped walnuts

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup milk

*I had to make some mashed potatoes specifically for the recipe, so mine were just plain potatoes mashed with a potato masher. The recipe simply calls for “leftover mashed potatoes”, leading me to believe you could use any sort of mashed potatoes you have lying around.



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan or bundt pan.

2. In a medium-size mixing bowl, sift or whisk together flour, baking powder, ¼ teaspoon salt, and cinnamon.

3. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, by hand or with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer.

4. Beat in egg yolks one at a time, beating well and scraping the bowl after each addition.

5. Add cocoa powder and mashed potatoes and mix until smooth. Stir in walnuts

6. Starting and ending with flour mixture, add flour mixture to batter in three parts and alternating with 2 additions of milk. Stirring until just incorporated between each addition, making sure to scrap bottom of bowl.

7. Whip egg whites to stiff peaks and carefully fold whites into batter until incorporated.

8. Pour batter evenly into pan and bake in preheated oven 50 to 60 minutes. If halving the recipe and baking cake in an 8 inch square pan, only bake 35 to 40 minutes.

9. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Store cake in an airtight container up to three days or freeze up to a month.

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