With an easy stir-together method and a naturally sweet flavor, this delicious Sweet Potato Cake is perfect for a first birthday, a festive holiday dessert, or a treat to share on a day that needs it!
Healthy Sweet Potato Cake
Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and have all of my first birthday cakes developed so I could have made them for all of my babies—but alas, at least I get to share them with you now! This simple Sweet Potato Cake is easy to stir together, perfect to make ahead, and is sweetened with mashed sweet potato and maple syrup so is an ideal first birthday cake.
TIP: I love these flavors so we often have this in the fall as a seasonal dessert to share with the whole family.
Ingredients in Sweet Potato Baby Cake
To make this baby cake you’ll need:
- mashed sweet potato puree
- vegetable oil
- maple syrup
- vanilla extract
- all-purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
- baking powder
- baking soda
- Cream Cheese Frosting
TIP: To make the frosting you’ll need cream cheese, maple syrup, and vanilla. To make it stiffer and easy to pipe into shapes, you’ll want to add some powdered sugar.
What kind of sweet potato puree is best for this?
To make the mashed sweet potato, you can make Mashed Roasted Sweet Potato or Crockpot Sweet Potatoes. Do this step ahead of time (even up to three days ahead if you store it in an airtight container in the fridge) so that the sweet potato is cool when you are ready to make the cake. You can also just do it an hour or two before you plan to bake.
How to Make Sweet Potato Cake Step-by-Step
Here’s a look at the process involved in making this birthday cake. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the full recipe.
- Stir the wet ingredients together in a large bowl. (photo 1)
- Gently stir in the dry ingredients. (photo 2)
- Line the cake pans with circles of parchment paper and divide the batter into the pans.
- Let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Make the frosting and frost.
TIP: Trace the cake pans onto parchment paper, then cut out just inside the lines to make rounds that fit into the pans. This is a foolproof way to line pans that prevent all potential sticking.
Can I make this first birthday cake ahead of time?
Yes! You can make the cakes the day ahead, let cool, and store in airtight containers at room temperature. Or you can even frost the whole thing and wrap carefully with plastic wrap and store in the fridge up to 24 hours ahead. It can be hard to wrap it tightly without messing up the frosting, so I usually wait to frost it, but if you have a cake carrier, that could work too!
Sweet Potato Smash Cake
If you’re looking for a smash cake for the kids, this sweet potato cake is great since it’s 6 inches and is super soft and easy to smash. (You can also check out my Vanilla Oat Smash Cake and my Blueberry Banana Cake.)
Tips for Making the Best Sweet Potato Baby Cake
- Top with sprinkles if desired. These naturally colored ones are pretty!
- The cake can be made 24 hours before you plan to frost it. Let cool completely on a wire rack then store in an airtight container at room temperature. (It’s probably also fine to frost it the day before if you can carefully wrap it in plastic wrap in the fridge to keep it fresh.)
- Store leftovers in the fridge once frosted for up to 3-5 days in an airtight container or wrapped with plastic.
- Gluten-free: Use cup for cup gluten free flour.
- Egg-free: Increase the baking soda to 1 teaspoon, omit the egg, and add 2 tablespoons milk.
- The whole wheat pastry flour will create a slightly denser cake.
- Use the batter to make 24 mini cupcakes, using about 1 tablespoon batter in each and baking for 12-14 minutes.
I’d love to hear your feedback on this cake if you make it, so please rate and comment below. And pretty please send me birthday photos if you make it for a first birthday!
This post was originally published May 2015. Here’s the Sweet Potato Apple Cake it linked to.Print
Plan to make the sweet potato at least two hours (and up to 3 days) before you want to make the cake so it has time to cool before you make the cake.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease 2 6-inch cake pans and line with a round of parchment paper cut to fit the inside of each pan. (Use the pan to trace the pan onto the paper, then cut out just inside the line.) Coat the top of the paper with nonstick spray too.
- Whisk together the sweet potato, oil, maple syrup, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl.
- Stir in the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to just combine.
- Divide the batter among the prepared pans, using about a heaping cup in each. Smooth to spread the batter evenly.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out cleanly.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes, then gently invert onto a wire rack to remove from pans and cool completely.
- Place one cake on a cake stand or plate. Frost with 1/2 of the Cream Cheese Frosting. Place the second cake on top and add the remaining frosting. Spread evenly and add sprinkles if desired. later.
Cream Cheese Frosting: Let 8 ounces cream cheese soften at room temperature for at least an hour. (It should be soft when you poke it with your finger.) Add to a medium bowl with 2 tablespoons maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix together with a whisk. (If this is hard to do due to the temperature of your cream cheese, you can use an electric hand held mixer.) Spread about half on top of one cake, add the second, then top with the remaining frosting, spreading smooth. Add sprinkles if desired.
The cake can be made 24 hours before you plan to frost it. Let cool completely on a wire rack then store in an airtight container at room temperature. (It’s probably also fine to frost it the day before if you can carefully wrap it in plastic wrap in the fridge to keep it fresh.)
Store leftovers in the fridge once frosted for up to 3-5 days in an airtight container or wrapped with plastic.
Gluten-free: Use cup for cup gluten free flour.
Egg-free: Increase the baking soda to 1 teaspoon, omit the egg, and add 2 tablespoons milk.
The whole wheat pastry flour will create a slightly denser cake.
Use the batter to make 24 mini cupcakes, using about 1 tablespoon batter in each and baking for 12-14 minutes.