Sheila’s Recipe Corner: Sweet Potato Curry and Tres Leches Coffee Cake

By: Sheila Mullins – June, 2015

Warm weather… aaaaaaaaaah. Perfect! It’s time to think about warm weather ingredients. Of course coconut & rum are part of the ingredients this month. How could one go wrong with that? Seriously? And, what about feeding a crowd? Boy, oh boy! This feeds a CROWD. I’m talking 12-16 people. You will need your largest Dutch oven for this & perhaps something larger even. I have a 6 qt. Dutch oven & it made more than that! WOW! The best part, it’s a 2 pot meal, feeds a crowd, perfect for a pot luck dinner, isn’t expensive, filling, & frankly, rather nutritious, reheats perfectly so one can make it in advance & just reheat & make the rice to serve with it when needed. How’s that for easy? 


3-3.5 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled & cut into 1” cubes
1-28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2.25-2.5 lb. onions, sliced
2 T oil
1-24 oz. bag French sliced green beans
1-24 oz. bag of frozen peas
32 oz. yogurt, regular, low fat or fat free
¾ c ground coriander seed
¼ c curry powder
1-1.5 t cayenne pepper
1 t salt
¾ t black pepper
Brown rice, cooked

Into a Dutch oven over medium heat, place the oil & heat until hot. Add the onions & salt. Stir to coat & stir occasionally. Cook over medium-low heat until caramelized but not burnt. Note: Do not try to rush this step. This takes about 25-30 minutes. Lower heat if onions begin to burn.

Add black pepper, cayenne pepper, curry powder, ground coriander seed, & tomatoes. Place in the sweet potatoes. Add water. Note: I found I needed about 36 oz. water; your water amount will vary. Cover & cook over medium low to low heat stirring every 5 minutes. Add water as necessary. Cook until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.

Add the beans, peas, & yogurt. Heat until beans & peas are cooked. Serve over rice.
My buddy Alex & I frequent Oya Café in Malden. I wish they had Tres Leches cake on the menu. It’s Cuban after all! Maybe I’ll talk to Roberto about that… Anyhow, as I was thinking about this, my mind wandered to the fact that it IS warm out & coconut seems perfect…and rum. And coffee cake. Jerry wanted coffee cake for breakfast, so…Oh come on, coffee cake with rum, coconut, & tres leches? It’s a winner! WARNING: this is RICH. REALLY rich. Although I call this a coffee cake, it would make a fine dessert as well.


1 egg
½ t salt
¾ c sugar
3 T canola oil
1-1/2 c flour
1 T baking powder
1 t vanilla
¾ c milk

Filling & topping:
1 can coconut milk, chilled overnight in the refrigerator
1 can coconut cream, chilled overnight in the refrigerator
½ c whipping cream
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 T vanilla
2 T light rum*
1 t coconut extract
1 cinnamon stick
1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2T c sifted powdered sugar
1 c unsweetened coconut, toasted

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease & flour a 9” cake pan.

In a large mixing bowl, place all cake ingredients & mix with a spoon until combined. Pour into the prepared pan & bake for 25 minutes or until just set. Remove from oven & let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan to plate with a raised edge. Slice cake in half horizontally & set top half aside.

While cake is baking, prepare the filling & topping mixture. Remove the 2 coconut milk/cream cans & separate the liquid from the semi-solid mixture.

Reserve those for another use. Into a larger saucepan, place the coconut cream, coconut milk, rum (if using), vanilla, coconut extract, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, sweetened condensed milk. Cook over medium low heat for 15-20 minutes or until thickened. Remove the cinnamon stick. Remove from heat; pour into a measuring cup & reserve.

In a bowl, place the whipping cream & powdered sugar & beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the filling into whipped cream. Poke holes in top with a fork. Place ½ of filling/topping mixture onto lower half of cake & spread to edges.
Place top layer back on. Top the top layer with the rest of the filling/topping mixture. When ready to serve, sprinkle the toasted coconut on top.

Serves 10-12. This needs to be refrigerated if not being served.

mullinsRecipes are created by Sheila Mullins & taste tested by Jerry & Sheila Mullins. Sheila lives in Newburyport & is a personal cook, among other things. She can be reached at & she looks forward to hearing from you.