Steve Mannino's Chocolate-Potato Cake

Every family’s Thanksgiving table is a little different, and that became even clearer when we asked restaurant people to finish this sentence: It’s not Thanksgiving without my . . . .

By: Anna Spiegel

Chocolate-Potato Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes one bundt cake.

This chocolate cake from Rustico chef Steve Mannino gets its richness from an unusual ingredient: leftover mashed potatoes. Just make sure they're what Mannino calls "plain Jane," meaning there's no garlic, strong cheese, or ranch dressing involved.

Chocolate-Potato Cake
2 cups sugar
2/3 cups butter, softened
2 eggs, separated
1 cup skinless mashed potatoes, such as peeled Idaho potatoes mashed with cream, butter, and salt
1 cup whole milk
½ cup cocoa powder (such as Hershey's)
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)    
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional: 1 cup chopped nuts such as chopped pecans, walnuts, almonds (to be folded into the batter)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Using egg beaters or a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and butter on medium-high speed. Add the egg yolks and beat until incorporated, about a minute. Blend in the potatoes and then the milk until thoroughly mixed. The mixture should have a thin mashed potato consistency at this point.

In another bowl, combine the cocoa, flour, baking soda, and cinnamon (if using). Fold these dry ingredients into the batter. Add more flour if the batter seems too loose—it should be the consistency of regular cake or brownie batter.

Using egg beaters or a stand mixer, beat the egg whites on high speed until they form stiff peaks. Fold into the cake batter. Beat in the vanilla, and then stir in the chopped nuts (if using).

Pour into a greased bundt cake pan and bake approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Stick a toothpick in the cake and if it comes out clean, it's ready to eat. Frost with cream cheese icing.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound butter, softened
4 cups confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter. Gradually add the confectioners sugar until the mixture reaches desired sweetness and smoothness. Mix in the vanilla extract and set aside.