This sweet potato cake with cream cheese frosting is EASY to make and is a huge hit with everyone who’s tried it. It’s fall in cake form!
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OK people. Let me tell you about the best way possible to eat your veggies: SWEET POTATO CAKE! I’m all for carrot cake or zucchini bread or pumpkin anything because I like to pretend the addition of vegetables makes them healthy.
But sweet potato cake (with maple cream cheese frosting!) has completely stolen my heart and this glorious dessert is my new go-to for fall.
And, if I’m being honest, it’s going to be my go-to for the rest of the year. You’d better believe I’ll be bringing sweet potato cake to Easter brunch next year 🙂
The flavor profile of this cake is very similar to pumpkin cake because of the warming spices, but the flavor of the sweet potato is very mild and obviously not pumpkin-y.
The cake itself is dense but incredibly tender and the maple cream cheese frosting is simply heavenly. Sweet, maple-y, and totally addictive. It goes beautifully with the spice in the cake layers.
Why you’ll love this sweet potato cake:
- It’s really easy—all you need to make it is one mixing bowl and a hand-held mixer!
- It’s a great fall-themed alternative for people who don’t like pumpkin
- The ingredients are all easy to find and you probably have most on hand right now
Sweet potato cake layers, step by step
The first thing to do is bake your potatoes. I made the cake both with sweet potatoes I’d baked in the oven and with sweet potatoes I baked in the microwave and didn’t notice a difference in taste, so use whichever method you prefer.
Once the potatoes are nice and tender, mash them and discard the peel; you need 1 1/2 cups of mashed sweet potato (from about 14 to 16 ounces of potatoes).
When I said this cake is easy, I meant it—just take a look.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer to combine, then add the remaining ingredients.
Beat the batter until the mixture is smooth, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula every now and then.
Baker’s tip: Make sure your sweet potatoes are mashed really well before you add them to the cake batter; this batter is thick and you don’t want your mixer to work any harder than it needs to.
Divide the batter between your prepared cake pans and use an offset spatula to smooth the top and spread the batter all the way to the edges of the pan. Don’t skip this step! The batter is very thick and doesn’t spread out very much on its own. (I think an offset spatula does a better job than a regular one but use what you have.)
See? It’s as simple as it gets without using a boxed cake mix!
Maple cream cheese frosting, step by step
Combine the room temperature butter and cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl and beat until they’re very smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and beat on low to combine, then turn mixer to medium and beat until the frosting is smooth.
Note: If you don’t care for maple you can substitute 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract for the maple flavor.
Assembling your sweet potato cake
Place one cake layer on a cardboard cake circle or a cake stand and spread about 3/4 cup of frosting over the top. Top with a second cake layer and use the remaining frosting to frost your cake.
I pressed chopped walnuts into the side of my cake but you could use chopped pecans or just leave it plain.
I used this large star tip to pipe extra frosting around the perimeter of the cake. Cream cheese frosting can be difficult to pipe because it doesn’t always hold its shape; if you have trouble piping it, pop the frosting in the fridge to stiffen up a bit.
Sweet potato cake is absolutely the best of what fall has to offer: cozy flavors, warming spices, sweet maple. . .and I’m totally making another one this weekend—and probably all weekends in the foreseeable future. But hey, the vegetables make it a health food right? 😉
More cakes for fall (in case you’re hungry)
Chocolate Pumpkin Cake
Black Velvet Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Layer Cake
Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer Cake
Did you make this sweet potato cake? Hooray! Let me know what you think with a comment and a rating below. And post a pic on Instagram too! Tag @theitsybitsykitchen so I can see your creations!
This sweet potato cake with maple cream cheese frosting is fall on a plate!
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups mashed baked sweet potato from about 14 to 16 ounces potatoes
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 6 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons maple flavor or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 to 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
- 1 cup chopped walnuts for garnish if desired
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper and spray the parchment with cooking spray. Lightly dust the pans with flour and set pans aside.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer set to low until well mixed.
Add the remaining ingredients and beat on low until combined, then turn mixer to medium and beat 3 to 4 minutes, until smooth. Batter will be very thick.
Divide batter between the prepared pans and smooth the top. Bake 34 to 38 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake layers comes out clean. Cool in pans set on wire racks for 20 minutes, then carefully invert onto the rack to cool completely.
Beat the butter and cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl until smooth. Add the maple flavor, salt, 4 cups powdered sugar, and 1 tablespoon of milk. Beat on low to combine, then turn mixer to medium and beat until frosting is very smooth. Add additional milk or powdered sugar if necessary to achieve a spreadable consistency.
Trim your cake layers if they have domed. Set one cake layer on a cake stand or cardboard cake circle and top with about 3/4 cup of frosting. Top with the second cake layer and frost with remaining frosting. If desired, press chopped walnuts into the sides of the cake. Serve.
- You can bake your sweet potatoes in either the microwave or the oven; it doesn't make a difference.
- Be sure your sweet potatoes are mashed well before you add them to the batter.
Cake layers adapted from Betty Crocker Sheet Pan Desserts