Sylvia's Sweet Potato Cheesecake

Sylvia Woods is perhaps New York's most famous soul food chef. In fact, she's been crowned the "queen of soul food," a cuisine that is not generally known for being low calorie.

The Zagat New York City restaurant survey said that the food at Wood's Harlem restaurant is tasty and comforting, but warned: "Don't tell your doctor what you ate."

That's all changed. Woods has joined forces with Splenda and concocted some delicious, yet light treats.

Sylvia's Sweet Potato Cheesecake

Makes 12 servings

Preparation time: 15 min. Bake time: 55 to 65 min. Chill time: 4 to 6 hrs.


2 cups crushed butter cookies or graham crackers

1 cup chopped pecans

½ cup butter, melted


4 (8-oz.) packages Neufchatel cheese, softened

1 ¾ cups Splenda No Calorie Sweetener, granular

2 cups Sylvia's Canned Yams, mashed*

½ teaspoon salt

1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 large eggs

Crust Directions

Combine crushed cookies, pecans and butter; firmly press mixture evenly in bottom and up sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Set aside.

Filling Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Beat Neufchatel cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add Splenda granular, beating until blended. Add yams, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and vanilla, beating until blended.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Pour mixture into prepared crust.

Bake 55 minutes or until center of cake is almost set. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill 6 hours.

*Cooked mashed sweet potatoes can be substituted for Sylvia's Canned Yams. Cook 2 to 3 large sweet potatoes in boiling water to cover 30 to 45 minutes or until tender; cool to touch. Peel and mash potatoes. For that special favor, look for Sylvia's Canned Yams in your local market or order online.

Nutrition information per serving:

Serving Size: 1 slice

Calories 470

Calories from Fat 300

Total Fat 34g

Saturated Fat 17g

Cholesterol 145mg

Sodium 560mg

Total Carbohydrate 29g

Dietary Fiber 2g

Sugars 8g

Protein 13g

Dietary exchanges:

2 Starch, 1 med fat meat, 5 Fat

This recipe, when compared to a traditional recipe, has a 28 percent reduction in calories, a 47 percent reduction in carbohydrates and a 79 percent reduction in sugars.

Sylvia Woods is a compensated spokeswoman for Splenda Corp.