Malawian Mbatata Cookies with Coconut Cream for #SundaySupper

Posted by on Feb 9, 2014 in #SundaySupper, Desserts | 26 comments

Malawian Mbatata Cookies with Coconut Cream for #SundaySupper

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, this #SundaySupper is all about romantic dishes for two, hosted by Susan of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen. I wanted to get out of my usual ‘chocolate and strawberries’ Valentines rut, so I decided upon a Malawian recipe for Mbatata Cookies with Coconut Cream. 

Mbatata Cookies are a type of sweet potato cake made in Malawi to celebrate special occasions. They are traditionally cut into heart shapes because Malawi is known as ‘the warm heart of Africa’. Isn’t that alone enough to make you want to visit?! 

I made this dish for one of my best friends, who has spent a lot of time in Malawi and has fallen in love with the country. I just hope my Mbatata cookies live up to her expectations!

Malawian Valentine's Dish

My cookies turned out rather more like cakes – because I made two large hearts rather than lots of little ones. You could do either, but the cake-like texture works well for a decadent dessert. The mixture is a simple one – just a bit of mashed sweet potato, a little butter and flour, a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon. You can jazz it up any way you like, so I sought inspiration from Malawi’s tropical fruits and made a caramelised mango filling and coconut cream to drizzle over the top. 

My caramelised mango filling was technically supposed to be mango jam, but I only wanted to make a small amount and so ended up with tiny mango pieces in caramel. Still, it tasted good, so I used it anyway. Hey, it could be a new recipe invention which suddenly takes off, you never know! 

It’s not an overly sweet dessert, and the tropical flavours work really well with the Mbatata base. They are ridiculously filling though, so you may just want to share one between two – or, if you’re anything like me, skip the main course and just feast on this dessert. It’s practically a complete meal; it’s got potato in after all! 

Valentines Dessert

Malawian Mbatata Cookies with Coconut Cream
Serves 2
Sweet potato cakes in the shape of hearts with caramelised mango and coconut cream.
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Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
20 min
  1. For the Mbatata Cookies
  2. 1 medium-sized sweet potato
  3. 1 tbsp butter
  4. 20ml milk
  5. 80g self-raising flour (I used a gluten-free blend)
  6. 1/2 tsp cinammon
  7. 4 tbsps caster sugar
  8. 1/2 a fresh mango, chopped into small pieces
For the Coconut Cream
  1. 2 tbsps Coconut cream
  2. 1 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  3. 1 tbsp Icing sugar
  1. Peel, chop and boil the sweet potato until tender.
  2. Drain and mash with the butter and milk. Leave to cool slightly.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray.
  4. Stir the flour, sugar and cinnamon into the potato mixture until all ingredients are combined.
  5. With lightly floured hands, bring the mixture together into a ball and leave to rest for a few mins.
  6. Meanwhile, make the caramelised mangos by putting the mango pieces in a pan with 3 tbsps caster sugar. Stir sugar until it begins to dissolve. Leave to cook for about 10 minutes until the caramel is just golden. Remove from heat.
  7. Take half the potato mixture at a time and make two heart shapes on the baking tray. Make a heart-shaped indent in the centre of each and spoon in the caramelised mangos.
  8. Bake for 25-30 mins.
  9. Meanwhile, whisk together the coconut cream, Greek yoghurt and icing sugar.
  10. Serve the cakes warm from the oven. Drizzle over the coconut cream just before serving.
  1. The cakes will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge. Heat in the oven before serving.
Happy Baking Days
Mbatata Valentines Cake

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Alluring Appetizers:

Exquisite Entrees:

 Decadent Desserts and Drinks:

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  1. These sound so interesting! I love coconut, and I love sweet potatoes, so I’d imagine these are pretty freaking delicious!
    Shaina recently posted..Funfetti Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle for #SundaySupperMy Profile

    • I think you’d definitely like these, Shaina! Thanks :)

  2. Wow! these cookies sound fabulous. . sweet potato in the flour mixture?! love this and thanks for sharing something so awesome and unique!
    Alice // Hip Foodie Mom recently posted..Fresh Berry Trifle with Crème Anglaise for a Valentine’s #SundaySupperMy Profile

    • Thank you Alice! The sweet potato gives a great texture and taste.

  3. I say it’s a vegetable and that makes it dinner!
    Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious recently posted..Kumquat Vanilla Marmalade for Valentine’s Day #SundaySupperMy Profile

    • I love your thinking, Dorothy!

  4. Be still my sweet potato loving heart and tummy! I was wondering what Mbatata cookies were and I’m so glad to find out. Thanks bunches for sharing this recipe.
    Renee recently posted..Baked Custard for #SundaySupperMy Profile

    • Thank you! I enjoyed discovering them too :)

  5. Your recipe looks delish and so different! I just love it!!
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers recently posted..Cherry Spritzer Ice Cream Float #SundaySupperMy Profile

    • Thank you Jennifer!

  6. Coconut cream??? YUM! Your sweet potato cakes are sure to bring a smile to your friend’s face…as they did mine. Happy Valentine’s Day!

    • Thanks Liz! Happy Valentine’s Day to you too!

  7. Coconut cream with greek yogurt! Looks fantastic!

    • Thank you Jennifer!

  8. This is such a unique and cool recipe! I love anything with sweet potato in it too.
    Laura Dembowski recently posted..White Hot Chocolate #SundaySupperMy Profile

  9. What a very cool and interesting recipe! Thanks so much for sharing, I love finding out more about the sweets of different cultures.
    Shannon R recently posted..German Rose Water Sugar Cookies For Two #SundaySupperMy Profile

  10. What a fabulous and unique dessert, love it!!
    Tara recently posted..Eggs in Purgatory for Valentine’s Day Recipes for Two #SundaySupperMy Profile

  11. I like that this dessert is a cuisine I’m not very familiar with in addition to it not being overly sweet which are the desserts I’m finding I enjoy the most.
    DB-The Foodie Stuntman @ Crazy Foodie Stunts recently posted..Pan Seared Scallops with Lemon-Basil Beurre Blanc, Pancetta, Apple and Fennel for a #SundaySupper Valentine’s Dish for TwoMy Profile

  12. Wow these look fabulous! I love how they aren’t super sweet but look super sweet! Of course I love that the main ingredient is potato…hello genius! I too would choose to skip dinner and go in for the dessert.

  13. The heart of Africa and Katy are definitely on this plate. So thoughtful and clever =) And oh so very good for you with ingredients like sweet potato and Greek yogurt =) Do believe you are giving the gift of health and yumminess on Valentine’s Day!

  14. What a lovely idea! I love recipes from different cultures! There’s always so much to learn!
    Manu recently posted..Chocolate Budino with Strawberry Hearts #SundaySupperMy Profile

  15. Interesting. I’ve never heard of mbatata cookies before, so thanks for the education! Pinning to try someday.
    Carla recently posted..Pistachio Pudding For Two (From Scratch) #SundaySupperMy Profile

  16. Sound like sweet potato and coconut are a winner to me!
    Cindys Recipes and Writings recently posted..Chocolate Marshmallow Duet for #SundaySupper recipes for TwoMy Profile

  17. My father-in-law is right now working in Malawi for 7 months, I wish we could go visit him. These cookies sound wonderful, I am thinking about making them and sharing them with my daughter who misses her Granddad so much.
    Laura recently posted..Almond-Crusted Sole with Mushroom Pilaf for Two #SundaySupperMy Profile

  18. These sound so interesting and look so delicious. I’m fascinated by African cuisines, though I know very little about them. Thanks for posting!
    Julie @ Texan New Yorker recently posted..Pecan-Crusted Coconut Custards with Brandied Banana Sauce #SundaySupperMy Profile

  19. So unique! I love it!
    Sarah Reid, CNP (@jo_jo_ba) recently posted..Pecan Pie GranolaMy Profile