Marlin colombo at Chez Les Pecheurs, Carbet, Martinique
Marlin colombo at Chez Les Pecheurs

My partner and I are what you might call gourmets. We enjoy good food and our grocery bill will attest to the fact. Despite the limited budget being English language assistants provides, we don’t economize on food. Fruits and vegetables, both local and exotic, are most bountiful in our shopping cart. Fresh fish and healthy cuts of meat typically grace our dinner table, though we’ve been known to dabble in vegetarian meals (falafels—yum!). I’m particular about what I eat—having been very overweight a few years ago makes me somewhat discriminatory. He’s particular about how he eats food—so he does most of the cooking.

Even though we prioritize healthy and hearty meals, every now and again we like to spoil ourselves. Rich chocolate, an indulgent ice cream… We both have a sweet tooth. But there’s nothing like the pleasure of baking a cake and enjoying the fruits of your labour. My general culinary style is to throw ingredients into a bowl and hope for the best. This works and tastes delicious nine times out of ten—I like to think I have good culinary intuition… On the other hand, my other half follows recipes and understands the precise chemistry of baking. Soft peaks and rough puff pastries are regularly elucidated for me. For this reason, he baked this particular recipe.

Gâteau Malélevé

gateau maleleve, sweet potato cake
Sweet potato cake


750g sweet potato
200 mL coconut milk
100g cane sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
Zest of 1 lime


  1. Peel, slice, and boil the sweet potatoes for 20 minutes or until soft. Mash the sweet potatoes.
  2. Mix the coconut milk and the potatoes and whip until smooth. Add sugar, eggs, lime zest and cinnamon.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes. In the original recipe, it was recommended to bake the cake for 90 minutes on 180 degrees. However, we have a gas oven so he just kept an eye on the cake.

We learned of this recipe from Prisca, a Martinican food blogger who shares Creole recipes. As I typically avoid gluten and dairy, we thought it would be an excellent recipe to try. The name of this sweet potato based cake, in fact, has a double meaning. Literally translated, “mal élevé” means poorly raised—which is a feature of this cake. No raising agent makes this cake more of a pie. On further investigation, “mal élevé” is more commonly used to describe something or someone who is ill-mannered, or vulgar. This cake is “mal élevé” due to its composition of “patates”, which in Creole is a curse word referring to female private parts. Taking the time to learn how to make interesting food from a country you’re living in gives you a greater appreciation of the culture, especially when an effort is made to understand its origins.

Dinner time!

4 thoughts on “Gâteau Malélevé – Sweet Potato Cake Recipe”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.