With an easy stir-together method and a naturally sweet flavor, this delicious Sweet Potato Cake is the 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 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 sweetened with mashed sweet potato and maple syrup so it’s an ideal first birthday cake.

We often have this in the fall as a seasonal dessert to share with the whole family.

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Baby Cake

While I love this cake myself, it is especially great for a first birthday cake. It is 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:

  • Mashed sweet potato puree: This is easy to make, but you’ll want to plan to make it ahead of baking. You can also use canned unsweetened sweet potato puree.
  • Vegetable oil: This helps to keep the cake nice and moist.
  • Maple syrup: We use this as the sweetener in this recipe. You can also use honey for kids over age 1 if you prefer.
  • Egg: This helps bind the ingredients together.
  • Vanilla extract: Adding a bit of vanilla extract helps give the cake a yummy flavor.
  • All-purpose flour: This helps the cake stay light and fluffy.
  • Baking powder and baking soda: These help ensure the cake rises and bakes through evenly.
  • Cinnamon: This adds that classic sweet potato cake flavor.
  • Cream Cheese Frosting: This is a simple mix of cream cheese, butter, honey, vanilla, and 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 for kids over 1 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 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.

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.

how to make baby cake step by step
  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 cream cheese 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 to prevent 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 super soft and easy to smash. It also is a nice blend of nutritious ingredients in a really festive form.

It has a lightly sweet flavor, so it’s perfect for babies turning 1. 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 a day ahead, let cool, and store in airtight containers at room temperature. 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 also fine to frost it the day before if you can carefully wrap it in plastic wrap and store 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.
  • The batter makes 24 mini cupcakes, using about 1 tablespoon batter in each and baking for 12-14 minutes.

Related Recipes


I’d love to hear your feedback on this cake if you make it, so please rate and comment below!

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

Sweet Potato Baby Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Plan to make the cake at least 2 hours (and up to 3 days) before you want to enjoy the cake so it has time to cool.
4.96 from 61 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
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Instructions

To make the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease two
    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, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon 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 clean.
  • 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 handheld mixer.)

To assemble the cake:

  • Place one cake on a cake stand or plate.
  • 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 also fine to frost it the day before if you can carefully wrap it in plastic wrap and store 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.
  • The batter makes 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!

This post was originally published May 2015. 

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hey there! I’m wondering about substituting vegetable oil for coconut oil or applesauce. Any thoughts? We are using this recipe for our baby’s first birthday. I’m excited to have found it as I don’t want her eating sugar yet & she loves sweet potatoes. I also am planning to do 2 or 3 small round cake pans (4 or 5 inch). Would I need to double the recipe? Thanks for your time!

    1. Hi- I wouldn’t use applesauce for the oil since that will add a different type of moisture and I am not sure the cake will bake through the same way. It’s really good with the oil (or you can use melted butter too). For the cakes, I don’t think you need to double the recipe. If you make 2 4 or 5 inch, the layers will be thicker so the baking time to get the center cooked through will likely be longer. If you do 3 4-inch, I still think you’ll have enough batter. The cakes won’t be super thick, but I think it will work just fine. (I just made this over the weekend and it’s so yummy!)

  2. Could you use apple sauce in place of honey or maple syrup? Or would that be too much moisture? I am looking to do this in a cup cake form.
    Thank you!

    1. I haven’t tried it that way and it might be too much moisture. You could probably leave it out and add 2 tbsp milk if you’re looking to make it added sugar free though.

  3. Can I make this and freeze it for a couple months before baby’s birthday? Messaging March 27 for a may 24 bday.

    1. Sure, I’d bake the cakes and let cool fully, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place into a freezer bag to freeze. Thaw at room temperature and frost.

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