Gluten and Dairy Free Recipe – Sweet Potato Brownies

A few months ago I started going to a local Cake Club, run by the friend of a friend. The idea is once a month we all get together to eat cake and natter. It’s that simple really. Everyone who comes must bring some form (any form) of cake and each month we have a loose theme to inspire us to try a new recipe. I love that part of it. I mean I love making cake, but how easy is it to just fall back on one or two tried and trusted recipes? Having a theme gently guides you to consider bakes you perhaps wouldn’t have done otherwise. This benefits not only the baker, but also the rest of the group. It’s made for some really interesting evenings, and even more delicious cakes to try!

This month’s theme was Vegetables (and Fruit), a cheeky nod to the healthy eating that tends to go on in January. We also welcomed, for the first time, a member who cannot eat gluten. As soon as I heard these two things I knew I had to make my friend Bethany’s Sweet Potato Brownies. Gluten and Dairy Free, I’ve made them once before, when Oscar was eating a GF diet. This time I have tinkered with the recipe ever so slightly and boy do they make the most moist and intensely chocolately morsels. I urge you to give them a go, whether you need a GF recipe or not.

On a side note, I have found these to bake much more evenly than traditional brownies, which I always manage to over or under cook. Always a plus!

Although you can microwave sweet potatoes (like you do jacket potatoes), I have found that baking them from raw, gives a much sweeter result. Prick the potato all over and bake on a foil covered tray at 230/ Gas Mark 8 for an hour, turning half way through. When done, peel, mash and cool before using.

Sweet Potato Brownies

Makes 16

  • 1 large baked sweet potato (approx 180g)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 55g coconut oil. Often bought in it’s solid state, I’ve found it’s easiest to melt in the microwave on short bursts.
  • 110g soft brown sugar
  • 45g cocoa powder
  • 60g ground almonds
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 50g good quality dark chocolate chopped into chucks (or chips)
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C /Gas Mark 5 and line a square (9 x 9) cake tin with grease proof/baking paper
  2. Mix sweet potato, eggs, vanilla and coconut oil in a bowl
  3. Mix sugar, cocoa, ground almonds, baking powder and salt in another bowl
  4. Sieve dry mixture to wet ingredients a third at a time. Mix well after adding each third
  5. When the two mixtures are combined, add the chocolate chunks/chips and stir
  6. Pour batter into lined tin
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean from the middle
  8. Cool in tin for 10 minutes before removing, in greaseproof paper, to cooling rack.
  9. Let cool completely before cutting

These brownies are delicious with a cup of coffee and a sense of smug satisfaction that you’re practically eating one of your five a day.

Sort of 😉

Sweet Potato Brownies – practically a health food 😉


I promise to do my best….

When I was a child I had seemingly boundless energy. One way I had of channeling this was by attending loads of after school clubs and groups. I did all sorts including several years of “Disco” dancing and about the same of drama. I loved it and I hope Oscar gets to enjoy after school activities the way I did. One of the groups I loved dearly in my earlier childhood (in the mid 80’s) was The Brownies, which if you’ve been living under a rock forever (or come from a country without The Brownies) is the part of the Girl Guiding Organisation for 7-10 year old girls. I was an “Imp” (the name of my pack). I only gained two badges, but they’ve stood me in great stead all my life – Hostess and Agility! I serve amazing tea AND I can do a headstand – what more do you need in life?

Yes this is me in my Brownie Uniform, minus the brown bobble hat! The baby is my sister Laura!

Yes this is me in my Brownie Uniform, minus the brown bobble hat! The baby is my sister Laura!

Anyway, that’s by the by. This year The Brownies celebrate their 100th birthday. For 100 years the organisation has been providing a female only environment for girls to undertake various activities. There was a piece about it on the morning news last week talking about the history of The Brownies and what it did today. It was a sweet piece that I was only really half watching. Until they interviewed someone from their head office. They asked her whether a single gender environment was still relevant. The spokesperson said something approximating this (I wrote it down as soon as I heard it):

‘The girls tell us they appreciate this environment; to be themselves and build their confidence, that they wouldn’t always get in a mixed environment.’

Now I’ve done work with female only groups before, YWCA were a client of mine for years and I’ve heard this argument before. But it never confused me, ever, the way it did when I heard it last week.

I have a son. He is a boy. What is it about him that will mean such a young girl can’t be herself, in his presence? I was baffled and to tell the truth a bit hurt. Surely just by the nature of his gender he isn’t going to hold these girls down? And reversely just by the nature of their gender, girls are not going to be held down by boys? Are they? Seriously?

So my first thought was, what can I do? How can I raise a boy that wont do this? Is that the answer? Is it about parenting? I asked a friend for her opinion – she’s not a parent but she is the most card carrying feminist I know. She was able to tell me of studies that have shown that girls don’t speak out in the same way when boys are present, as boys are socialised to be more confident in the value of their opinions than girls. So maybe parenting does have a part to play? Maybe the parents of girls should be working to ensure their daughters know that their opinions are valid regardless of what the media says? She also pointed out that single sex environments don’t always equal “safe” environments. If children are being “socilised” to be a certain type, then this pressure can be applied by your own sex – being a ‘real’ man for example.

It was really interesting to talk it over from a social perspective, as opposed to a parent’s. My first instinct as a parent was to get offended. Why is my son gonna stop your daughter being herself???? That’s the protective mama in me but not particularly helpful in the grand scheme of things.

I still don’t have an answer, if indeed there is just one answer, which I fear may not be the case. It’s such a MASSIVE subject when you start looking, it’s frightening. But the long and the short of it is I don’t want my son to ever be the reason a girl/woman feels she can’t be herself.

Maybe I should talk to Oscar’s grandma and ask her what she did – she seems to have done a real bang up job with Ben. Hmmm, do you know, maybe this wont be as hard as I first thought 😉

I left the Brownies before becoming a Guide, when I became disillusioned with the organisation. I didn’t get promoted to Seconder, despite being the second oldest, because I was off sick the night they promoted. I felt so slighted! Maybe I’ve just never truly forgiven them? 😉