Sweet Potato Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Color. My life is dictated by color these days. I feel like ever since I started this blog, I have begun to see colors and light differently. The way the red in a napkin reminds me of cranberries. The brilliant color hidden within a sweet potato’s dull skin. The way the light coming from the window falls on my robe hook. Spending my days sharing here with you has heightened my awareness of life’s color palette. And that, I like. Color is beautiful.

But color is something I also dread. I was staring blankly at my calendar the other day. Everything is color-coded, rainbow-hued and full. I like your color-coded calendar, mama. Even my son knows what a color-coded calendar is, and he’s five! The month of October barely started and I am already feeling a little tired just looking at what’s ahead.

But busy schedules can’t keep me out of the kitchen. So if it means that I have to bake a cake that has been haunting me for weeks at ten o’clock at night, then I must.

I was on the phone with my sister the other night and I found myself telling her about this cake I have been wanting to bake. How does a Kamote Cake sound to you? I asked. Kamote is Tagalog for Sweet Potato, and the idea of a Sweet Potato Cake was so exciting to both of us, I had to get started right away. It might have been late at night, but it was the only time I had to bake, and I was feeling inspired.

I wish my sister were here to share this cake with me. If you don’t know any better, you would think it were a carrot cake. Moist and dense, fragrant from cinnamon and balanced by a light cream cheese frosting, Sweet Potato Cake is nostalgic and new at the same time.

As I set about plating and photographing the cake to share with you, my eyes were pacified by the subdued colors on the table. The vibrant orange sweet potato had calmed to a warmer shade of copper, with flecks of green. These colors are ones I would happily stare at all day.

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Sweet Potato Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: Makes one 9 inch round cake or a 13x9 rectangular cake. Please see baking notes when selecting which size/shape to bake.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups canola oil
  • 3 cups grated sweet potato (about two sweet potatoes)

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 8 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Preheat the oven 350°F. Prepare your baking pan by coating with cooking spray or butter. If using a round springform pan, use parchment paper on the sides of the pan, if desired.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until light and frothy. Beat in the oil. Add the flour mixture in two additions, until just incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Stir in the sweet potato.

Pour the batter into the pan and place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, then check. If using a 13x9 pan, bake up to 45-50 minutes total time, or until the cake is springy and a toothpick comes clean. If using a springform pan, lower the temperature to 325°F and bake up to 45-50 minutes total time, or until a toothpick comes clean.

When the cake is baked, remove from oven. Let it sit cool completely. If using a springform pan,remove sides and trip the top of the cake with a serrated knife for a flat surface. Invert onto your wire rack or serving plate. Remove bottom of springform pan if using. Wrap the cake well and refrigerate until ready to frost. This can be done a day or two in advance.

Make the frosting by whipping together the butter and cream cheese. Add the vanilla. Slowly add the powdered sugar and whisk well. Frost the cake and refrigerate.

Remove the cake from the refrigerator about 10-15 minutes prior to serving.

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by Liren Baker on October 1, 2011

40 Responses to “Sweet Potato Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. Patty October 1, 2011 @ 9:16 am (#
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    Hi Liren!
    I love colors too but what I find particularly striking here is the contrast between dark and light in your photos, also this cake is looking scrumptious;-)

  2. Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet } October 1, 2011 @ 10:00 am (#
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    Happy Saturday Liren! I have not eaten breakfast yet and I just wish I had a slice of this beautiful cake in front of me. Pretty, pretty photos!! :-)

  3. Belinda @zomppa October 1, 2011 @ 10:59 am (#
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    What a splendid color – and naturally sweet!

  4. Susie October 1, 2011 @ 2:06 pm (#
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    I have never had a sweet potato cake it looks and sounds delicious.

  5. Tracey@Tangled Noodle October 1, 2011 @ 5:04 pm (#
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    I do not need to be convinced that sweet potato anything is one of the most delicious food in the world – fries, pies and now cakes! As far as colors, I find that the tastiest kamotes here are pale-fleshed, but the flavor is just as fantastic. 8-)

  6. Ann October 1, 2011 @ 8:27 pm (#
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    The cake looks stunning…I know how busy life can get – make sure you take time for yourself as well!

  7. Heidi Leon October 2, 2011 @ 5:05 am (#
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    Do you know that in Spanish we say Camote?. Funny, right?.

    This cake looks delish, I would love to give it a try and bake it at home, just one question: grated sweet potato is raw or cooked?. I assume it should be raw to be truly grated but would love your confirmation on this. Thanks.

    • Liren replied: — October 2nd, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

      Hi Heidi! Yes, I do know that you say camote in Spanish! Tagalog and Spanish share so many words, and the c is often changed to k.

      I hope you do give the cake a try – grate the camote raw. I was going to try roasting the sweet potato first, but was feeling on the lazy side. I imagine that would taste very good, too.

      Good luck, hope you like it!

  8. Katrina October 2, 2011 @ 5:44 am (#
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    This is so pretty! What a fantastic cake!

  9. Beth Michelle October 2, 2011 @ 6:18 am (#
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    Your cake looks so beautiful. I love the sound of a sweet potato cake. Then again I love the sound of anything with sweet potatoes. I can only imagine how moist the addition of it must have made the cake!

  10. Lindsey@Lindselicious October 2, 2011 @ 4:08 pm (#
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    Your photos are amazing and the cake looks super moist and delish. I am bookmarking this to try later. YUM!

  11. Kita October 2, 2011 @ 7:12 pm (#
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    Ok, novice question here – but what is the magic you used to remove the paper from under the cake between the frosting picture and finished photo?
    This cake does sound wonderful – and perfect for the weather. I don’t have a color coded calendar (though maybe I should try it) but I can already feel the days slipping away faster and more and more needing to be done. Thanksgiving and holiday plans are already being talked about. It’s craziness. Lol, it’s 10:12 PM, maybe I need to go bake a cake ;)

    • Liren replied: — October 3rd, 2011 @ 11:18 am

      Hi Kita! No magic involved :) I cut strips of parchment paper and slipped those in between the cake and the cake stand. After frosting the cake, all I had to do was remove the strips – no messy stand!

      Hope you got some baking done last night ;)

  12. L October 3, 2011 @ 9:21 am (#
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    Perfect! I was just thinking about making some sweet potato muffins. I am not a big baker so am leery of changing this sort of recipe. Do you think the recipe would work as a muffin/ cupcake?

    • Liren replied: — October 3rd, 2011 @ 11:20 am

      This will work really well as a muffin or cupcake! My kids actually prefer it without frosting (but that is just their general preference overall). Just be aware of the baking time – try it at 350 and check on them after 17-20 minutes. They may or may not need a little more time to bake through. Good luck!!

  13. Joy October 4, 2011 @ 2:11 pm (#
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    OMG that looks just wonderful.

  14. Cristina, from BA to Paris October 5, 2011 @ 5:10 am (#
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    Woww!! so original! I love it AND I love the dish too!

  15. Pingback: a serious sweet tooth « rhino + wren

  16. N October 17, 2011 @ 3:05 pm (#
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    What is the texture of this cake? Moist and light? Or dense like a pound cake?

    • Liren replied: — October 17th, 2011 @ 3:15 pm

      Hello! The cake is very similar to a carrot or banana cake – it’s very moist but hearty. Not as dense as a pound cake which just sits in your stomach like a brick, but perhaps somewhere in between. I personally just love it. Hope you try it and enjoy it, too!

      • N replied: — October 17th, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

        Thanks for the quick response!

  17. Kasey October 19, 2011 @ 12:04 pm (#
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    Gorgeous cake, Liren. I’ve not tried making cake out of sweet potatoes, but I can imagine it would be just as delicious as carrot cake (and probably a little healthier, too). It’s so impressive to see how you juggle being a mom and everything that’s involved in creating, photographing and writing about the recipes. Kudos!

  18. Norma October 20, 2011 @ 7:37 am (#
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    Oh Liren thsi is so fantastic. I cannot wait for my next party to spring this cake on my guests.

  19. Morgan November 11, 2011 @ 8:11 am (#
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    Argh! I made this cake today and it didn’t turn out at all! It all spilled over into my oven and was still a goopy mess 50 minutes later. Don’t know what I did! Made it in a 9 inch springform pan and my oven thermometer said 350. So frusterating! I’ll have to try again sometime.

  20. Pingback: Sweet Potato Breakfast Cake

  21. Sue/the view from great island November 22, 2011 @ 3:15 pm (#
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    I love what you say about color, I completely agree. Often what I decide to cook on a given day is inspired by a color. I love the restrained use of color in your photographs, too.

  22. rebecca November 25, 2011 @ 5:51 am (#
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    Thank you for this recipe. I made it for Thanksgiving and it disappeared fast…no one touched the pies. My family asked me to bake it for Christmas. I made the frosting different though. I made a brown sugar maple cream cheese frosting and sprinkled pecans on it. Thanks again, it was fabulous!

    • Liren replied: — November 26th, 2011 @ 6:03 pm

      Hi Rebecca, I am so pleased that your family enjoyed the cake, thank you so much for stopping back to let me know! Your frosting sounds amazing – I will have to try that next time.

  23. Joy November 28, 2011 @ 9:02 am (#
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    I made it for Thanksgiving and my family loved it!! My brother was initially disappointed when I told him that I’d make the sweet potato cake instead of sweet potato pie, but he loved it once he tasted it. It was super moist and delicious!!

    • liren replied: — July 8th, 2012 @ 10:51 am

      Joy, this is a very belated reply to your comment, my apologies. But I am pleased that you enjoyed this cake last Thanksgiving! I am looking forward to making it again soon, I have a few sweet potatoes in my pantry right now :)

  24. Mercedes July 7, 2012 @ 6:50 pm (#
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    this might be a dumb question but do you need to cook the sweet potato first? or just grate a raw sweet potato? thanks:)

    • liren replied: — July 8th, 2012 @ 10:50 am

      Hi Mercedes, not a dumb question at all. Grate the sweet potato raw. Good luck, I hope you love it!

  25. Pingback: Sweet Potato Cake with Cream Cheese Icing « Chocolate & Co

  26. Jill January 8, 2013 @ 6:36 am (#
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    I made this cake on Christmas day. Unfortunately, I had to throw the first one out. I followed the directions exactly, pouring the entire batter into one 9 inch cake pan. Baked it for 30 minutes. When I took it out of the over it was obviously not done. So I put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes, then another 10, then another 10. Still the middle was completely uncooked. After cutting the top off to take a look and trying to bake it again for another 10-15 minutes I gave up and threw it away.

    Luckily I had enough ingredients to try it again (good thing because I didn’t have a dessert back-up… yikes!). This time I split the batter between two 9-inch pans. Baked them for 40 minutes and they came out perfect. My family loved the cake in the end.

    So either cut the recipe in half for one 9 inch cake or divide the entire recipe between two 9 inch pans for a layer cake. You can also make 24 regular size cupcakes by baking at 350*F for 14-18 minutes.

  27. Sharon Needles March 8, 2013 @ 8:44 am (#
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    Liren- Could I bake this cake as a sheet cake, in a pan that is 10 x 15 x 1 inch?
    Thanks!

    • Liren replied: — March 8th, 2013 @ 1:49 pm

      That’s a good question, Sharon. When it comes to pan sizes and equivalents, I often use this as a general reference. According to this, you could, but you would have excess batter. Perhaps the extra can be used in a few muffins? Hope this helps, good luck!

  28. Sharon Needles March 15, 2013 @ 8:07 am (#
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    Thank you so much Liren! I want to make a sheet cake for work, and have plenty of cake for everyone. I’ll let you know if it works.

  29. Cassady November 25, 2013 @ 5:50 am (#
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    Hi Liren!
    I have been wanting to make this cake since originally finding it on Pinterest and have decided to make it for Thanksgiving this year! It looks so delicious. One question though- do you think I could substitute unsweetened applesauce, plain yogurt, or sour cream for the canola oil? I am leaning towards the applesauce but thought you might have a good suggestion having baked the cake before. Thanks so much for your help!

    • Liren replied: — November 25th, 2013 @ 9:20 am

      Hi Cassady! This is one of my favorite cakes, and I was planning on making it again for my family this week while they are in from out of town. I have yet to try it with a substitute for canola oil, but if I were, I would try the applesauce. I hope that works out, let me know if you do try it with the substitute! Happy Thanksgiving!

  30. Lisa July 13, 2014 @ 9:27 am (#
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    Hi Liren!
    I made the cake and it is D E L I S H!! I had enough batter to make a 3 layer cake. My question is about the small green pieces throughout the cake. I noticed they’re in the pic you posted as well. What is it – pieces of sweet potatoe?? I’ve tried tasting it and I think that’s what it is – just not sure why it’s green.

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