Pan de batata is a delicious grated sweet potato pudding with the taste and aroma of the spices we love: cinnamon, cloves, and a touch of ginger. Dense, creamy, chewy, and oh-so-very-flavorful, it is one of my favorite Dominican puddings, and I wish I could have it daily.
By- Last reviewed . Published Nov 26, 2012
Why we ❤️ it
Pan de batata is one of those quintessential Dominican desserts that are the occasional treat.
It's not a dessert commonly made at home, but few would turn their nose at it, on the contrary. We love it. I think people are just intimidated by it, when in reality, making Dominican pan de batata is actually quite easy.
What's pan de batata?
Pan de batata is not bread, as the name (pan) suggests; it's not a cake either. Pan de batata is a dense, spiced pudding made with batata, a type of sweet potato that is easily found in the Dominican Republic.
While very popular, most people buy it at roadside stands and from mom-and-pop shops specializing in this and other Dominican desserts. Aside from batata, Pan de batata contains eggs, coconut, and several spices. The choice of spices will depend on each cook's preferred taste.
Pan de batata and ingredients.
Pan de batata is perfect with the afternoon coffee, but is also sometimes eaten as a snack, afternoon pick-me-up, and even breakfast.
- Picking sweet potatoes: The variety of sweet potato used for this dessert (batata), although common in the Dominican Rep. might be more difficult to find elsewhere.
The potato used for this (called Japanese yam or Oriental sweet potato) is a bright purple one with a greenish flesh and very sweet once cooked. If you can not find this type, you will need to add three tablespoons of cornstarch to the mixture to compensate for the lower amount of starch in other varieties.
- Color: Why is this cake so dark? The answer is: oxidation. Sweet potatoes oxidize very fast in the presence of air; grating it makes it darker as it mixes with air, which gives this dessert its characteristic color. You'll see how it starts to change its color during the preparation, and it's something welcome as it would otherwise result in pan de batata that would be too pale.
- Consistency: This is an unleavened cake, the result is more pudding-like, dense, and a bit chewy. Just in case you've never tried it.
About this recipe
Sweet potato cake is one of those dishes that are very Dominican. With a short list of ingredients, it is easy to make, and full of exotic aromas and spicy flavors. The one in the recipes and pictures are made with Dominican sweet potatoes.
The recipe includes instructions to adapt to other types of sweet potatoes. While this dish is not generally related to Christmas, I find the combination of flavors and spices very apt for this time of the year.
How does your family make pan de batata? Let me know in the comments!
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Pan de Batata [Recipe + Video] Grated Sweet Potato Pudding
- 2 pound [0.9 kg] potatoes
- ⅓ cup coconut oil, , plus extra to grease pan
- 2 egg (medium)
- 1 ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons of grated ginger, (or 4 teaspoon ginger powder)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 teaspoon clove powder
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg (freshly-grated)
- ½ cup finely chopped coconut
1. Make batter
- Peel the sweet potatoes (raw!). Chop and place in a food processor bowl. Grind it to the texture of brown sugar. Add eggs, brown sugar, milk, salt, oil, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg powder. Pulse until you obtain a smooth batter. Mix in the chopped coconut by with a spatula.If you do not have a food processor, grate the sweet potatoes with the least coarse side of your grater, then mix with the rest of the ingredients as instructed above.
- Grease a small bread loaf pan, if your pan tends to stick, line with greased parchment paper and also grease the paper. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake in preheated oven to 350 ºF [175 ºC] until you pinch with a clean knife and it comes out clean (about 35 mins).
- Cool to room temperature before removing from the pan. Serve at room temperature with a hot drink of your choice.
Nutritional information is calculated automatically based on ingredients listed. Please consult your doctor if you need precise nutrition information.
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More batata recipes
Batata, the Dominican sweet potato, is an ancestral ingredient that remains very popular in our cuisine. There are many batata recipes on our site you may like, there are savory ones like Chambre stew, Sopión stew, and Batata frita fries, as well as Domplines de batata dumplings – my own creation.