Contestant, Wisconsin State Fair, 2013


Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance



Wisconsin State Fair

August 4, 2013





Potato Cake

Michal Riege, Colgate, Wisconsin



Every birthday is a celebration and every birthday is special. My grandmother, Rose Sperber, was born in 1904 and raised in Mequon, WI. Whenever there was a birthday, it was a jouyous occasion and deserved cake. For your brother, your parents, your cousin, your uncle, your neighbor or your friend. When my grandmother was a girl you finished your chores as early as possible, and then walked to the birthday party with your dish to pass. My great grandmother, Elizabeth Liebau, and later, my grandmother frequently made a dessert to share. My grandmother was known for her baking. Whether it was Schaum Torte, Vienna Torte, Blitz Torte, Chocolate cake, Potato cake or pie, my grandmother would bring a dessert. Each birthday was celebrated on the actual day. No waiting until the weekend. As a young girl, my grandmother remembered, some of the parties would last until after midnight. However, you still had to get up the next morning and do your chores. My family continued the tradition of making each person’s birthday special. Each family member had their special request for a certain dessert on their birthday. I have continued the tradition of being the baker in the family. I love to make my great grandmother’s and grandmother’s dessert recipes. As a child, I loved the tiered chocolate cake for my birthday. Now as an adult, I can appreciate the more complex taste of the potato cake. I would guess the Potato Cake recipe has been in our family for more than 100 years. Many of my grandmother’s recipes do not come with directions, only a list of ingredients. The frame includes the Potato Cake recipe written by my great grandmother, my grandmother and myself. Also, there are pictures of Elizabeth, Rose and myself. Please enjoy a piece of our history.




Potato Cake

Michal Riege, Colgate, Wisconsin



2 cup sugar

1 cup butter, softened

4 eggs

1 cup raw potato, grated and squeezed dry

1 cup milk

2 cups + 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour

1/2 bar sweet chocolate, grated

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 handful of chopped almonds (1/3 cup)



1 egg white beaten

1/2  bar sweet chocolate, grated 1

1 1/2  cups powdered sugar

16-20 Sliced almonds



Yields: 12 slices. Preheat oven to 3500.  Grease and flour tube pan.


Cream together butter and sugar in large bowl. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Add potato to mixture; beat 30 seconds. In separate bowl, combine flour, chocolate, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg; gradually blend into egg mixture, alternatively with milk. Stir in almonds.


Pour into pan. Bake for 55-60 minutes, until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool upside down for 15 minutes and then remove from pan. Cool completely. Frosting: In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the egg whites with the chocolate until combined. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined and smooth. (The right consistency to cover cake is when you lift the beater, the ribbon of icing that falls back into the bowl remains on the surface for a few seconds before disappearing.) The icing needs to be used immediately. Frost top of cake allowing icing to drip down the sides. Decorate with sliced almonds along the top outside edge of the cake.


Note: Serve the cake immediately after frosting or refrigerate until ready to serve.