Sweet Potato Cake with Chocolate Coconut Frosting is generously spiced with cinnamon and ultra soft and tender thanks to the addition of sweet potato. It’s topped with a creamy, dairy-free coconut whip to make it the ultimate vegan snack cake!
Hey friends! So, after a flurry of fresh salads and cozy soups in January, I have a few healthier sweet treats lined up to share during February, starting with this spiced sweet potato cake.
I’m going to be honest. I’ve probably enjoyed this cake a little too much over the last few weeks.
During Snowmageddon 2020 (which is what us Newfoundlanders are affectionately calling the winter storm that brought our city to a standstill a few weeks ago), I baked a lot! It was so nice to have the time to just bake for fun. There were brownies, there were cookies and there was cake. A lot of cake.
This dairy-free cake with sweet potatoes to be exact.
This recipe came about as a result of having leftover mashed sweet potato, a hankering for something sweet and limited ingredients for baking. (The grocery stores were closed for 4 full days!)
While I enjoyed this cake as a bedtime snack with a cup of tea (no judgement, please, we were snowed in!), it also makes a wonderful dinner party dessert or afternoon snack. The coconut whip topping is optional, but totally worth it for an extra special treat.
Why you’ll love this sweet potato cake recipe
- You need just 11 ingredients (and that includes the frosting).
- Besides preparing the sweet potato, the cake comes together in one bowl with a whisk.
- It’s a great way to use up any leftover cooked sweet potato.
- It’s on the healthier side with whole wheat flour and coconut sugar as the main ingredients.
- You can forgo the frosting for an even simpler snack cake.
What you’ll need
- Whole wheat flour
- Coconut sugar
- Baking soda
- Nut milk
- Mashed sweet potato
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coconut milk
- Maple syrup
How to make vegan sweet potato cake
- Start by preparing your sweet potato. I find the quickest way to make mashed sweet potatoes is to peel and cut them up into small pieces, and then boil the pieces in water until fork tender. Once cooked, drain, mash and set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients. Stir in the cooled sweet potato, milk and oil until well incorporated.
- Pour into a 9-inch pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 24-26 minutes on 350F. Let the cake cool.
- For the frosting, add your solidified coconut milk (more on this in the recipe card), maple syrup and cocoa to an electric mixer and beat on high until light and creamy. Spread over top of the cake. Sprinkle on some chocolate shavings if you’re feeling fancy!
Frequently asked questions
- What does a sweet potato cake taste like? This cake tastes like a classic spice cake with lots of cinnamon. Sweet potatoes have a sweet taste so they work well in baked goods. This cake, however, only contains half a cup, so you can’t really taste the sweet potato. It’s added more for texture than taste.
- Do you need to refrigerate a cake made with sweet potatoes? The sweet potato is baked into the cake, so you don’t need to refrigerate it, unless you’ve frosted it. Any dessert with a coconut milk whipped topping should be refrigerated.
- How do you store this cake? If it’s unfrosted, you can cut the cake into pieces, place in an airtight container and store at room temperature. You can also wrap the un-cut cake and keep it at room temperature for a few days. If it’s frosted, the cake should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- How long will this cake last? The unfrosted cake will last at room temperature for about 4-5 days. The frosted cake is best enjoyed the day it’s made, but it will last for 1-2 days stored in the refrigerator. The coconut whip will firm up a bit so the frosting won’t be as light and fluffy on the second day.
- Can you freeze it? I don’t recommend freezing the cake with the frosting, but the unfrosted cake freezes well. Just let the cake cool completely and then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. It should last in the freezer for up to 3 months. To defrost, keep the cake in the plastic wrap and defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
Additional tips and substitutions
- You’ll need half a cup of mashed sweet potato (about 1 medium-sized potato), so I usually just cook a little extra when I’m preparing them for a meal.
- Make sure your sweet potato is mashed really well. You don’t want any lumps of potato in the cake.
- For the nut milk, I normally use cashew or almond milk, but if you don’t need this cake to be dairy-free, you can use dairy milk.
- While I bake a lot with coconut sugar as it’s less processed, I’ve also tried this cake with granulated and cane sugar, and both work well.
- The batter for this cake is thick. Make sure you spread it out evenly in the pan, and tap the bottom of the pan on the counter to help level out the batter. This will create an even cake with a smooth top.
- The recipe calls for a 9-inch square pan but you can also use an 8-inch. Just increase the bake time by about 5 minutes as it will be a thicker cake. Test for doneness with a toothpick.
Other vegan cake recipes
- Vegan Chai Cake with orange cardamom frosting
- Apple Spice Cake with buttercream frosting
- Banana Snack Cake
- Easy Chocolate Sheet Cake
- Pumpkin Snack Cake
- Orange Spice Cake with cream cheese frosting
If you give this Sweet Potato Cake a try, I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!
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Sweet Potato Cake with Chocolate Coconut Frosting
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours
- Yield: 16 pieces
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
Sweet Potato Cake with Chocolate Coconut Frosting is ultra soft and tender, spiced with cinnamon and topped with a creamy, dairy-free coconut whip.
For the cake:
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup unsweetened nut milk
- 1/2 cup mashed sweet potato (about 1 medium potato)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the coconut whip:
- 2 cans (400 ml) full fat coconut milk, refrigerated (see note)
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
- Pre-heat oven to 350F and line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Add in the milk, sweet potato and oil, and stir until well combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 24-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let cake cool slightly. Use the edges of the parchment paper to lift the cake out of the pan and onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Scoop out the solidified coconut milk into a deep mixing bowl (discard or reserve the coconut water for another recipe). Using an electric mixer, beat the coconut milk on high for about a minute. Scrape down the sides and add the maple syrup and cocoa. Mix on high for a few minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy. Spread the frosting onto the cooled cake.
- Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy within 1-2 days.
- Total recipe time includes time to cook the sweet potato and for the cake to cool before frosting.
- To make the frosting, the coconut milk needs to be refrigerated overnight or preferably for 24 hours to allow the coconut milk solids to separate and solidify. If you’re not sure if they are fully solidified, you can pop the cans in the freezer for a few minutes but be careful they don’t freeze.
- Be sure to read the Tips and Substitutions section above for more detailed tips and suggestions for variations on the recipe.
Keywords: vegan snack cake, sweet potato snack cake
Hi, can I make this recipe gluten free by substituting the Whole wheat flour with gluten free cake flour?
Hi Maggie. Sorry but I haven’t tested this recipe with gluten-free cake flour so I’m not sure how it will turn out. If you decide to give it a try, please let me know how it goes. Thanks!
I just love sweet potato anything, and it’s always so delicious in desserts. This cake looks so fluffy and delicious, and that chocolate frosting sounds like the perfect topper!
Thank you Marcie! Sweet potato adds such a great texture to baked goods!
Katerina | Once a Foodie says
I love the inclusion of sweet potato in this (and the coconut sugar), Leanne. And the coconut whip sounds absolutely delightful! I am glad to hear that the Snowmageddon is over now – but despite everything, it must have been nice to have some time to bake!
Thanks Katerina! It was nice to have a forced break, and the baking time was much appreciated!
Haylie / Our Balanced Bowl says
Pretty sure that I could eat the frosting with a spoon! So whipped and yummy! I bet the sweet potato makes the cake SO moist and cozy and flavorful! Absolutely love this, Leanne! Btw, no judgement at all about eating the cake in bed with tea! BEEN THERE 🙂
Haha! Thanks Haylie! Glad I’m not alone 😉
Matt - Total Feasts says
Love the sound of this dessert, also glad that Snowmageddon is over for you all!
Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen says
Sweet potatoes are so good in baked treats! I need to try this cake–it sounds wonderful!
Tasia ~ two sugar bugs says
I love that you’ve snuck something nutritious into this cake Leanne!! We LOVE spice cake so I know this one won’t last long with us. I bet it was so nice having time to just bake for fun, not to mention I so enjoy being in the kitchen with a warm oven on cold days!
It definitely felt cozy, and we enjoyed the forced break. Thanks Tasia!
Alexandra @ It's Not Complicated Recipes says
It looks amazing, Leanne!
I am loving the look of that frosting too. Definitely a must try!
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen says
What an awesome idea to use sweet potatoes Leanne! And that frosting? I’m so in. This looks totally delish!
Thanks Mary Ann!
This recipe looks delicious ! I would never think to use sweet potato in a dessert …cant wait to try it.
I can’t imagine the grocery stores here being shut down for 4 days because of a storm, crazy!
Thanks Terry! It was definitely unprecedented. I was happy we were well stocked on the essentials!
Your chocolate bars look SOOOOOO AMAZING LEANNE! I love that ultra soft frosting!
Katherine | Love In My Oven says
Snowmageddon, haha! I love that you made a cake using sweet potato!! So awesome Leanne! I would love a giant piece of it. I’m a big fan of spice cake so I just know I’d be all over this one too. We’re all thankful you had so much time to bake and experiment during your forced “staycation” 😉
Thanks Katherine! Many folks reaped the benefits of my kitchen time! 😉
Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers says
I make a sweet potato loaf that I just love, so I know I would love this cake! Looks lovely and moist and perfect with that coconut whip!
Thanks Jennifer! I’m all about the coconut whip frosting!