Sweet Potato Cakes

Yesterday, I met up with a friend for lunch. It was a nice treat as usually all my friends work during the week and so I just have Fridays to myself to do my ‘baking things’ along with all the self-development and learning I’m taking some time out to appreciate.

I had my Pilates class as usual first thing then met up with my friend late morning. The loveliest thing about it was that she cooked lunch for us both….vegan style.  It was great!

It’s so nice when I can share the way I eat with others and it not feel like they are just accommodating me. I think a lot of that has to do with me still feeling a little self-conscious at times when I’m out with others, when it’s not simply me cooking for myself.  I’ve still only been eating this way for a relatively short amount of time (just over a year) and so habits, routines and assumptions are hard to break and I do still sometimes feel as though I’m ‘putting people out’ when chances are they are more than willing to accommodate. When people get interested and excited to share the way I do things it is a great feeling.

So, Friday’s lunch was sweet potato cakes with spicy beans and tomato. The potato cake recipe recipe was modified to use sweet potato instead of regular potato and then veganised so as to not use the egg and butter that the original recipe called for. The butter was easy to sub with olive oil but the egg was proposed as a glaze to coat the cakes before coating in polenta and frying, however we figured that since the potato cakes were soft and sticky as they were, the egg wasn’t really necessary. For those of you who are not vegan feel free to add the egg.

The polenta coating gives a lovely crisp crunch. I have often used polenta (I use the quick cook variety) as part of my flour mix in my baking to give added crunch to cookies. These chocolate shortbread cookies are a great example.

The potato cakes were served with a spicy bean topping, based on this recipe from way back right at the beginning of this blog! (note- awful photo with my compact camera under the fluorescent kitchen light!). The potato cakes themselves are very versatile and could be used to top a salad, with a variety of different toppings or even mixed with beans and used as burger patties in a bun or pitta bread pocket with salad.

Here you have it… Sweet Potato Cakes, courtesy of Fatima Cassim.

Recipe: Sweet potato cakes


  • 700g sweet potato- peeled and cubed
  • 25g olive oil
  • 1 onion- peeled and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove- peeled and crushed
  • Pinch each of nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste
  • 50g quick cook polenta
  • 2 tbs mild oil


Cook the sweet potato for approx. 15 minutes until soft. Drain and mash well.

Add the olive oil, onion and garlic to a saucepan and cook for 5-10 minutes until soft. Add  the mashed sweet potato to the pan along with the seasoning. Stir together until mixed thoroughly.

Allow to cool before shaping into 4 circular patties approx. 1 inch thick. Coat in a generous, even layer of polenta. Refrigerate for approx. 30 minutes.

Heat a mild oil (such as rapeseed) in a frying pan and cook the potato cakes for 4-5 minutes on each side until golden.

Serve with your desired topping or sides.