Sweet Potato Cheesecake + Brown Betty Cookbook Review
Coming up with the menu for the holidays can be a challenge. With holiday potlucks and family gatherings, it’s important to have tasty, go-to recipes in your back pocket. I usually scour Pinterest for recipes when I’m in need of some dessert inspiration, and while Pinterest is a great resource, sometimes the recipes don’t turn out, or just aren’t good. Luckily, my mom is a cookbook collector, so if we are really in a pinch, I can usually find a good recipe in one of her many books.
A few years back, my mom and I were watching one of those “best of” travel food shows. Brown Betty Bakery was one of the restaurants featured. Known for their sweet potato pie and pound cake, the bakery was begun by mother/daughter team Linda Hinton Brown and Norrinda Brown Hayat. The restaurant was named Brown Betty in homage to Linda’s mother (Norrinda’s grandmother) Betty. In fact, all the cakes on the Brown Betty menu were named after influential friends and family members. Because my own mother is a southerner, a fan of southern-style cuisine, and a foodie traveler, we discussed the possibility of visiting the bakery. In the meantime, I gave her The Brown Betty Cookbook as a gift. Unfortunately for our travel plans, the bakery, located in Philadelphia, closed in 2016. Nevertheless, Brown Betty lives on. Their cakes were in such high demand, they moved into the wholesale business. You can now buy their pies and cakes from Walmart under the Pattie LaBelle label.
I’m bummed we never got to visit the brick and mortar location, but we still had the cookbook, so I decided to try out one of the recipes from the book. I try to keep my diet relatively gluten-free, so instead of trying to de-glutenize one of the cakes, as it wouldn’t be the same, I found a recipe for Sweet Potato Cheesecake. As you may remember from our month of sweet potato recipes last November, I’m a fan of the sweet potato, just not so much a fan of anything that adds sugar to a sweet potato recipe. This cheesecake changed my mind. To me, it’s nicely balanced. The potato isn’t overwhelming in flavor. It’s not too sweet. It’s tangy, a little earthy, and, more importantly, the family loved it. If you’re looking for a little southern comfort for your next holiday meal, I would highly recommend this recipe. If you are looking for a fun gift for a friend who loves southern cuisine, the cookbook not only has delicious recipes, it also has interesting anecdotes about the women for whom the cakes are named and how the recipes came to be.