Sweet Potato Cake with cream cheese frosting | Nik Snacks

This sweet potato cake is enriched with warm spices and layered with fluffy cream cheese frosting. It's perfect for people who don't care for pie and love both cake and sweet potatoes equally.

a test slice of sweet potato cake with fluffy cream cream frosting

I've made 3 cakes in 2020 and this one tops them all. I started the pandemic by making a coconut cake for Easter and followed that up with a strawberry cake for my birthday. This sweet potato cake is topped with the simplest frosting and is definitely 300% tastier and better-looking than the other two (and those cakes were and still are super fantastic). The entire time I was making this cake, I was worried about my layers being even and questioning if it was a good decision to frost the entire cake (because "naked" cakes are on trend right now) and I don't know why I had doubts because this bad boy is BEAUTIFUL.

Garnished with roasted pumpkin seeds and toasted coconut, I generally don't like garnishing cakes with things that aren't inside of the cake, but there are exceptions to every rule and I made one here. And it just looks so pretty, I didn't care much. And neither will you, I'm sure.

Other garnishment ideas:

Candied orange or other cirtus peel

Colored sprinkles

Sprinkled spices such as cinnamon or ginger

Colored or granulated sugar

Edible flowers and leaves

I am a HUGE fan of cake. Given a choice, I choose cake every single time. I am also a HUGE fan of sweet potatoes. I prefer them savory, but if I have to have them sweet, I don't want them to get anywhere close to a marshmallow. This cake is similar to carrot cake, but without the addition of nuts, raisins or shredded coconut (all of which would be welcome to this cake for variation). 


Don't have a fancy cake tester to make sure your cake is done? That's okay: use a spaghetti or other long pasta noodle instead.

My secret weapon for layered cake success starts with dusting my cake pans with butter and granulated sugar and not butter (or oil) and flour. Not only does the cake turn out beautifully, the sugar caramelizes on the bottom and sides of the cake adding to the flavor. Not only are the cake layers are easier to frost with this thin lace of sugar coating the outside, they hold up better under refrigeration, freezing and sitting at room temperatures.

Sweet Potato Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Sweet Potato Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 10
Author: Nikki Miller-Ka of Nik Snacks
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 20 MinTotal time: 50 Min
The best part of this cake is the sweet potato flavor shines through while the sugar-crusted exterior makes it easy to frost and even more delightful to eat.


Sweet Potato Cake
  • 12 oz sweet potatoes (typically 2 medium-sized), scrubbed, peeled chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp oil (for pans)
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar (or more, for pans)
  • 1½ cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Chinese 5-spice
  • ½ tsp. ground cardamom
  • ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cups light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ stick salted butter, melted, slightly cooled
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 8-oz. package full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ stick salted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


Instructions for cake
  1. Cook sweet potatoes in a small pot of boiling water, stirring occasionally, until a tester inserted into centers meets no resistance, 10–15 minutes. Drain and transfer flesh to a food processor or medium bowl. Add orange juice and process or mash with a potato masher or fork until smooth. Let cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 2 8"-diameter cake pans with oil, dust pans with sugar, tap around until there’s an even coating, then toss the excess.
  3. Sift baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, 5-spice powder, and cake flour into a large bowl (or simply whisk to remove lumps). Combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, butter, oil, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until light, fluffy, and no lumps remain, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add eggs one at a time to the sugar mixture. Next, add sweet potato purée and mix until well combined, scraping down the bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low and with motor running, gradually add dry ingredients; mix just until incorporated. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake until cakes have slightly risen, tops are set, and a tester inserted into the centers comes out clean, 15-20 minutes.
  5. Transfer pans to a wire rack and let cakes cool in pans for 5 minutes. Run a small knife around the edges of cakes and turn out onto racks. Let cool completely (rounded side down).
Instructions for cream cheese frosting and assembly
  1. Beat cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, beat on low speed to prevent clouds of sugar puffing in your face. Increase speed to high and beat the frosting for 2 minutes until thick and creamy.
  2. Place a cake, right side up, on a large plate or cake stand. Spread one half of frosting on top. Set another cake on top and frost with half of the remaining frosting. Repeat the process with the remaining cake and frosting. For the cleanest slices, chill 1 hour before slicing.
Please consult a healthcare professional or dietician about nutritional needs for your diet. I am a communications professional, not a physician.
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Created using The Recipes Generator

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About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

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