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Sweet-Potato Cake (with cream-cheese frosting)


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  • Cream-cheese frosting:
  • 5 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
  • 1 2/3 cups canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted and pureed sweet potatoes (or 3 4-ounce jars Stage 2 sweet-potato baby food)
  • 2 cups finely chopped pecans (optional)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 16-ounce box confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk (optional)



Step 1

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees and adjust rack to middle of oven. Grease and flour three 9-inch cake pans. Add eggs and all other ingredients except pecans to mixing bowl in order listed. Stir (or mix on low) for 30 seconds until blended. Stop to scrape bowl and then beat on medium speed for 3 minutes (no longer). Stir in 1 cup pecans, if desired, reserving 1 cup for garnish. Spread batter equally across the prepared pans. Place one pan in the refrigerator and bake other two pans for 23 to 27 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes before inverting onto baking rack to cool completely (about 1 hour). Bake third layer for 30 minutes, test for doneness and cooling as for first two layers. (See Note.)

2. While cakes are cooling, prepare frosting. Beat cream cheese and butter on medium speed until creamy and well blended (with no yellow streaks). With mixer on low speed, slowly add in confectioners’ sugar until just blended. Stop to scrape bowl, add vanilla and then beat on medium speed for 20 to 30 seconds or until creamy (and all sugar has been fully incorporated). If desired, add milk to thin frosting out to a (more) spreadable consistency. Use immediately.

3. To assemble cake, place one layer on cake plate and cover top with ¼ of frosting. Repeat with second layer and another ¼ of frosting. Top with final layer and use remaining frosting to cover sides and top of cake. For garnish, press 1 cup pecans around side of cake, if desired.

Note: Johns Lindsay likes to bake the cake layers in two batches to ensure that that layers bake evenly. The time for the third layer is a bit longer because it has been chilled a bit in the refrigerator. It is possible to bake all three layers at once if space in the oven permits; if placing them on two different racks, rotate the layers halfway through.

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