I developed this bread recipe when I was 13 years old. At that time I filled it with dried fruit and cherries. I braided the loaf and shaped it like a candy cane. My family loved it and it became, and still is, a tradition every Christmas. After I married into a sweet potato farming family I added sweet potatoes and kept working with it until I ended up with this. Everyone loves it. Family and friends. They expect to see it in the kitchen both Christmas and Thanksgiving. Both ways, with fruit and with sweet potatoes.
Heat sour cream just to warm. Stir sour cream, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening and 2 1/2 cups of flour into yeast mixture. Beat until smooth. Mix in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. Turn dough onto lightly floured board, knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place into oiled bowl turning greased side up. Cover, let rise in warm place until double, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Divide dough in half. Roll into a 24x8-inch rectangle. Brush dough with 1/3 c warm orange marmalade to within 1 inch of dough edges. Spread sweet potatoes over dough also to within 1 in. of dough edge. Fold dough loosely from the short side, make about 8 (3") wide folds. Transfer to a lightly greased baking sheet. On one of the long sides make 11 (2 1/2") cuts from the edges toward the center at about 3/4 " intervals. Flip every other strip over to the alternate side. Slightly twist each strip exposing the filling. Cover and let rise in warm place until nearly doubled.
Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until just before done. Mix coconut, pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over loaf, return to oven and bake 5-10 minutes longer, until golden and filling is bubbly. Immediately remove from pan onto serving plate, cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.