With an easy stir-together method and a naturally sweet flavor, this delicious Sweet Potato Cake is perfect baby cake for a first birthday, a festive holiday dessert, or a treat to share on a day that needs it!

sweet potato cake with sprinkles

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 and healthy baby 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.

I love these flavors so we often have this in the fall as a seasonal dessert to share with the whole family.

Baby Cake

While I love this cake myself, it is a great first birthday cake. It’s super soft, has nice flavor, and is lightly sweetened with maple syrup. It’s such a fun smash cake, especially if you have a baby who loves sweet potato!

ingredients-in-sweet-potato-cake

Ingredients You Need

To make this baby cake you’ll need:

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.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • You can use pumpkin puree in place of the sweet potato if you prefer.
  • If you’d prefer to use whole wheat pastry flour in place of the all purpose, you can do that.
  • Use honey instead of maple syrup if desired.
  • Gluten-free: Use a 1:1 style of gluten-free baking mix.
sweet-potato-puree-in-white-bowl

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 baby cake step by step

Step-by-Step Instructions

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.

  1. Stir the wet ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Gently stir in the dry ingredients.
  3. Line the cake pans with circles of parchment paper.
  4. Divide the batter into the pans and bake!
  5. Make the frosting
  6. Top one layer with some of the frosting and spread evenly. Add the second layer and frost to the edges.

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.

frosting sweet potato baby cake

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. It also is a nice blend of nutritious ingredients in a really festive form.

It also has a lightly sweet flavor, so it’s perfect for babies turning one. And the cream cheese frosting simply needs to be stirred together and spread on. Nothing fussy there!

Other Smash Cakes You Might Like

You can also check out my:

slice of sweet potato cake

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 cake with colored plates

How to Store

Store leftovers in the fridge once frosted for up to 3-5 days in an airtight container or wrapped with plastic.

Best Tips for Success

  • 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.)
  • Use as a smash cake for a baby or to share with the whole family
  • 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!

This post was originally published May 2015. 

sweet-potato-baby-cake-on-cake-plate

Sweet Potato Baby Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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.
4.82 from 16 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Calories 226kcal
Servings 8

Ingredients

Sweet Potato Cake

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (softened at room temperature for at least an hour—it should be soft when you poke it with your finger)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon  vanilla extract

Instructions

To 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.

To make the frosting:

  • Add the cream cheese to a medium bowl with maple syrup and vanilla extract. Mix together with a whisk until fluffy. (If this is hard to do due to the temperature of your cream cheese, you can use an electric hand held mixer.)

To assemble the cake:

  • Place one cake on a cake stand or plate. Frost with ½ of the frosting. Place the second cake on top and add the remaining frosting. Spread evenly and add sprinkles if desired.  later.
  • Spread about half of the frosting on top of one cake, add the second, then top with the remaining frosting, spreading smooth.
  • Add sprinkles if desired.

Video

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 226kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 212mg, Potassium: 104mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 2389IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 52mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

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Comments

  1. Hi Amy!

    I just made this as practice for the real version I need this Saturday for my daughter’s first birthday party. It’s completely cooled but broke apart very easily when transferred from wire rack to a plate. I made it with AP flour and the egg substitute for an egg allergy. Any thoughts on how to get my Saturday version to hold together better? I appreciate that it’s so moist but don’t want it to be a mess before it’s even served. Thanks!

    1. Hi- I’m sorry to hear that that happened. If you have the option to use half whole wheat, that might help. You could also add 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed. (I haven’t had this happen so I am trying to offer ways that might firm up the batter for you.)

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve made this cake about 5 times. It is delicious! It is so good; it doesn’t even need icing. I used canned pumpkin every time instead of the sweet potato because it was convenient. As written it makes a just sweet enough cake. You can cut the maple syrup in half without any problems. Then it tastes like pumpkin bread instead of cake, but it is still really good. My baby can’t have wheat, so I tried making it with oat flour. You need to use 1 and 1/3 cup of oat flour instead of 1 cup of regular flour. When made with just oat flour, the texture is less cake like, but it is still really good flavor wise. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

  3. 5 stars
    This is the kind of cake I was looking for to make for my soon to be 1 year old’s birthday. I’m not ready to introduce sugar, or at least the taste of sugar. This cake is very moist and flavorful but mild in the sweet department, without the frosting. My baby is also not a fan of sweet foods so I may modify the frosting or use something different. I would make this in mini muffin size for an anytime snack.

    1. I am sure that would work, though I haven’t tested it that way so I’m not sure if the baking time would be different. Let me know if you try it!

  4. 5 stars
    Used this recipe to make 12 cupcakes for my sons 1st birthday. The cupcakes were far more delicious than I anticipated and so perfectly moist. Thank you so much for this recipe!! My one and three year old gobbled them up so fast!

    1. If you mix it, put it in the piping bag and chill it for a bit, I bet it would work pretty well since cream cheese is fairly firm when it’s cold.

  5. 5 stars
    Hi Amy,
    I love your recipes! Tried this one for my daughter’s first birthday today since she loves sweet potatoes. I made a 9” cake, cooked for close to 40 minutes (cake tester came out clean). I prepped the sweet potatoes using your crockpot sweet potatoes recipe the night before I made the cake. After the cake cooled, I wrapped it in plastic wrap overnight. When I served it the next day, it tasted GREAT! But I noticed some small green spots. Any idea what that is?

    1. Hi- I honestly don’t know, but the only thing I can think of is that there was an unusual reaction with the sweet potato and the baking soda. I’ve not ever had that happen this this and I’m glad it tasted food. I hope you had a great day!

    1. I haven’t tested it that way, but I think it might be okay. They’d be thinner than shown in the post and the baking time might be lower at 14-16 minutes. Let me know if you try it that way!

  6. 5 stars
    Made this today for my baby’s first birthday, it was delicious. We all loved it, especially baby. We didn’t have maple syrup so we used half a cup of granulated sugar and still came out super super moist, and just the right amount of sweetness. Will definitely be making again.

  7. I’m going to make this for my sons 2nd birthday but only have canola oil, no vegetable oil. Would that work? If not, what can I use instead of vegetable oil? Thank you very much!

    1. Hi- You could use a lightly flavored olive oil or melted and slighted cooled butter if either of those are options you have. Happy birthday to your little one!

  8. 4 stars
    Just made this yesterday. The cake tastes amazing, but it’s still very moist inside. Do you have any suggestions for drying it out just a bit more? I also found it took way longer to cook, think I had it in for 40mins before the top browned and it felt ready. This is definitely a keeper thou, thank you 🙂

    1. Hi- Is it possible that the baking soda wasn’t fresh? That would be the most likely cause of this. You could bake it longer on a lower temperature setting with the top covered in foil if you want to try drying it out a bit more. I’d try 325 or 350 I think.

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