Gateau de Patate

Drop the sweet potatoes into enough lightly salted boiling water to cover them completely and cook briskly until they are soft. While they are cooking, combine all the ingredients in Mix A and Mix B in two separate bowls.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

With a pastry brush spread 1 tablespoon of the softened butter over the bottom and sides of a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.

When the sweet potatoes are cooked, drain them thoroughly. Drop them into a large bowl and let them cool slightly. Add the peeled banana to the sweet potatoes and, with a potato masher or electric mixer, puree the mixture until there are no chunks and it is of a uniform texture.

Beat in the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter or margarine. Add the eggs and mix well. Add all of Mix A and Mix B and beat until the batter is well blended. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake this in the middle of the oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until the top is golden brown and a cake tester or butter knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes (it should begin to pull away from the sides), then turn it out on a wire rack to cool completely (this will take over an hour).

Gateau de patate has a somewhat puddinglike texture. Traditionally it is sliced and served as a dessert or with tea, often with a light topping of glaze or whipped cream.

Yield: Makes one 9-inch cake.

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Chuck Taggart (e-mail chuck)