With an easy stir-together method and a naturally sweet flavor, this delicious sweet potato baby cake is the perfect cake for a first birthday. It’s easy, flavorful, and delicious for baby…and grown ups! (It also makes a festive holiday dessert!)

sweet potato cake with sprinkles

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.

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 sweet potato baby food!

We also often have this in the fall as a seasonal dessert to share with the whole family. It’s a great kid-friendly Thanksgiving recipe or a fall kids birthday cake recipe.

(You may also like my First Birthday Smash Cake, One-Year-Old Birthday Cake, Blueberry Smash Cake, and Healthy Banana Cake.)

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Ingredients You Need

To make this baby cake you’ll need to have the following ingredients on hand and ready to go.

ingredients in sweet potato baby cake on counter.
  • Mashed sweet potato: You can use any type of mashed sweet potato including Crockpot Sweet Potato, Sweet Potato Baby Food, or 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. You can also use melted unsalted butter or avocado oil if you prefer.
  • 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 sweetener. And is the perfect pair with sweet potato cake.

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 all purpose flour.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a look at the process involved in making this baby cake. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the full recipe, including the amounts and timing.

sweet potato cake wet ingredients in glass bowl with whisk.

Step 1. Stir the wet ingredients together in a large bowl.

sweet potato cake batter in glass bowl with whisk.

Step 2. Gently stir in the dry ingredients.

Baking pans lined with parchment paper for sweet potato cake.

Step 3. Line the cake pans with circles of parchment paper.

Sweet potato cake in baking pan.

Step 4. Divide the batter into the pans and bake!

Cream cheese frosting in glass bowl with whisk.

Step 5. Make the cream cheese frosting.

Topping sweet potato baby cake with cream cheese frosting.

Step 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 the baby cakes from sticking.

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!

slice of sweet potato cake

Make-Ahead Tips

You can make the baby 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 leftover baby cake in the fridge once frosted for up to 3-5 days in an airtight container or wrapped with plastic.

Best Tips for Success

  • Top baby cake with sprinkles if desired. These naturally colored ones are pretty!
  • If making the sweet potato puree, plan to do that 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.
  • The baby 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.

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 an easy stir-together method and a naturally sweet flavor, this delicious sweet potato baby cake is the perfect cake for a first birthday. And as a sweet potato cake with cream cheese frosting, it's also a festive holiday dessert, or a treat to share on a day that needs it! (Plan to make the cake at least 1 hour before you want to eat it so it has time to cool.)
4.96 from 64 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
  • ½ 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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4.96 from 64 votes (45 ratings without comment)

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Comments

  1. Hi there, could I use date syrup instead of maple syrup?

    Planning to use 3x 4inch cake pans to make a baby cake and roughly 6 cupcakes.
    Should I double the recipe?

    1. I think yes to date syrup. For the amounts, I think you would need to use the recipe as written to make the three layers, then additional batter to make cupcakes.

  2. 5 stars
    If I could give this more stars I would! Seriously impressed with this recipe. I’ve tried several no processed sugar cakes and this beats the rest by far. It’s so soft and light and has such a lovely flavour. I think this is my new favourite cake. Not just for the kids but for me as well!

  3. Good morning! Haha! My kids are:
    36, 34, 32, 28!
    But, this sounds like the way I like to bake.!!!!!
    Would you mind giving me the pan size for the 3x recipe?
    Would that be the amount of batter for say a Bundt pan? Baking times? Or toothpick test?
    2x recipe would be for 2-9” rounds?

    1. So I poked around King Arthur’s website and they say 6 cups of batter is what you want for most bundt pans. This recipe, the 1x, makes 2 cups, so you’d want to triple it. I am guessing that the baking time might be around 45 minutes at 350 F. I hope that helps!

    1. No, they are not great 1:1 subs for wheat flour since they absorb liquids so differently. You can use an all purpose gluten-free flour blend though.

  4. 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!)

  5. 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.

  6. 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.