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1-Layer Maple Sweet Potato Cake

October 26, 2023
Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea

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Put those extra sweet potatoes to delicious use with this mouthwateringly tender 1-Layer Maple Sweet Potato Cake--Brimming with the delightful essence of sweet potato, perfect for embracing the flavors of fall.

1-Layer Maple Sweet Potato Cake

This 1-Layer Maple Sweet Potato Cake recipe is like a warm, cozy hug packed with fall spices and rich, sweet potato goodness-- all topped off with a delicious maple-infused dairy-free glaze. This vegan cake's got all the cozy flavors of fall, and it's the perfect go-to, whether you're celebrating something special or just want a comforting treat. Plus, it's a fun recipe for getting the kids in on the kitchen action and a tasty way to use up any leftover sweet potatoes. Completely Dairy-free, Vegan! Gluten-free + Make-ahead option!

Cake on a plate sliced with a fork and slices of cake in the background.

Why 1-Layer Maple Sweet Potato Cake?

This 1-Layer Maple Sweet Potato Cake is all about tenderness, heartwarming spices, and an explosion of flavor. In every delightful bite, you'll find a magical blend of buttery richness and the sweet embrace of sweet potatoes. This vegan sweet potato cake, taking inspiration from my beloved Sweet Potato Bundt Cake started as a mission to rescue Thanksgiving leftovers but quickly earned its permanent place in my year-round recipe collection.

I'm all about embracing seasonal ingredients, and Fall graces us with an abundance of sweet potatoes--Whether I'm whipping up sweet indulgences like the Best Vegan Sweet Potato Pie, Vegan Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls, or Vegan Sweet Potato Crumble Bread, or diving into more savory delights like Crispy Cajun Sweet Potato Fries or Flaky Sweet Potato Biscuits, these sweet spuds are my absolute faves. When it comes to this Blender Maple Sweet Potato Pie, it is smooth, velvety, full of sweet potato + spices flavor and is housed with a buttery, flaky crust.

Y'all, when it's Thanksgiving food time, you can count on me for everything-- I've got all your favorites covered, from beloved side dishes like Mac + cheese and Southern Maple Sweet Potato Casserole to mouthwatering stuffing and pies. And the grand finale – the 1-Layer Maple Sweet Potato Cake. (Carbs? Absolutely, pile 'em on! Haha)

Jump to:

You are in for a treat with this one-- This sweet potato cake recipe is a breeze to make – it's a single-layer wonder! Plus it embraces all those fantastic cozy seasonal flavors. It's the ultimate dessert for your holiday feast or any excuse to indulge, really. Plus, it's a real crowd-pleaser with a vegan-friendly twist that welcomes all eaters– and guess what? You can even get ahead of the game and prep it in advance. It's the fall dessert hero we all need!

Ingredients including sweet potato puree, vanilla, milk, spices, etc.

How To Make Maple Sweet Potato Cake

We kick things off by crafting our very own dairy-free buttermilk-- AKA the secret to infusing this vegan cake with a touch of moisture and tenderness. Then, we mix all the wonderful ingredients together and let the oven work its magic. And here comes the grand finale – a luscious drizzle of maple glaze to elevate this vegan cake to a whole new level of deliciousness

Ingredients

Cake:

  • Organic All-Purpose Flour: I use organic flour from Bob’s Red Mill. 
  • Organic Cane Sugar: Adds sweetness and helps with the texture.
  • Baking Powder: Acts as a leavening agent to make the cake rise.
  • Sweet Potato Puree: Provides moisture and a rich, earthy flavor. You can buy this canned or make your own by roasting a sweet potato until totally tender and pureeing it in a blender or food processor. (See below for how to make from scratch)
  • Vegetable Oil: Adds moisture and richness.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract. I find the brand Nielsen-Massey to be amazing and of such good quality!
  • Dairy-free "Buttermilk". Almond Milk + Apple Cider Vinegar --Enhances moisture and tenderness.
  • Spices. Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Allspice create a warming sweet flavor!

Maple Glaze:

  • Organic Powdered Sugar (sifted): Forms the base for a sweet and smooth glaze.
  • Vegan Butter. (softened at room temp) Adds richness and creaminess to the glaze. I love using the brand Earth Balance.
  • Pure Maple Syrup: Infuses the glaze with a delightful, natural sweetness.
  • Almond Milk (if needed): Use to adjust the glaze's consistency to your liking, make it thicker or thinner as desired. Learn how to make homemade almond milk!

SHOP MY FAVORITE TOOLS FOR BAKING, ESPECIALLY FOR THIS CAKE!

Here, I’ve curated a list of baking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baked goods, especially with this 1-Layer Maple Sweet Potato Cake. Everything from my fave loaf pan, wooden spoons, parchment paper, and more. SEE THEM HERE!

Cake batter in a large bowl with wooden spoon.

How To Make Sweet Potato Puree From Scratch

Making your own sweet potato puree is easy, but if you're short on time, you can also use canned varieties just make sure there is no added sugar.
Here's how to easily make your own for all your sweet potato recipes like this 1-Layer Maple Sweet Potato Cake:

The Oven Method

Scrub and Prick the Potatoes

Give your sweet potatoes a good scrub under running water to remove any dirt. Then, take a fork and gently prick the potatoes a few times. It's like giving them tiny air holes to breathe while they bake.

Bake The Beauties

Lay the clean, pricked sweet potatoes directly on your oven rack or on a baking sheet lined with foil. They're going into that hot oven for about 45-60 minutes. It's like letting them get all cozy and soft on the inside. You'll know they're done when you can easily pierce them with a fork.

Cool + Peel

Once they're out of the oven, give them a little time to cool down. Then, you can easily peel off the skin. It should come off like a jacket on a warm day! Haha.

Mash It Up

Now, get out a trusty fork, potato masher, or food processor. Mash those sweet potatoes until they turn into a velvety, smooth puree. It's like transforming them into delicious, orange gold!

The Boiling Method

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the peeled and cubed sweet potatoes, and let them simmer until they're tender. This typically takes about 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of the potato pieces. Once they're soft enough, be sure to drain them thoroughly before pureeing.

How To Use Sweet Potato Puree

Besides using it in this delicious vegan cake recipe, here are a few more ideas for using sweet potato puree-

Sliced sweet potato cake with a scoop of ice cream on top.

5 Reasons Why You Will LOVE 1-Layer Maple Sweet Potato Cake

  • Ready in 1 hour & WORTH THE WAIT.
  • Warm and comforting with every bite.
  • Perfect fall vibes---thanks to the sweet potato + warming spices!
  • Makes for the perfect sweet treat for the entire family
  • Vegan + comes with a gluten-free option for everyone to enjoy!

Perfect Occasions For A Slice Of Maple Sweet Potato Cake 

These events are a great excuse to eat cake!

  • Thanksgiving
  • Anniversaries
  • Barbecues
  • Potlucks
  • Kids Sleepovers
  • Holiday Gatherings
  • Dinner Parties
  • Actually, any time is a good time for cake, right? Bake away for a little weekday pep-up!
Sweet potato cake on a platter with a bottle of milk in the background.

Tips For Making The PERFECT Sweet Potato Cake

Tip #1:

One thing that I’ve learned about baking a cake is having the right tools. As a basic—-you should have a cake stand (preferably one that has a turnstile table), spatulas (big + small), piping bags + tips, correct baking pans, and parchment paper.

Tip #2:

One of the essential ingredient combos for a light, silky cake texture is baking soda/baking powder and acid ingredient. When acid and baking soda/baking powder reacts, it creates bubbles and helps to create a nice rise for your baked goods, leaving an airy texture.

Tip #3:

One of my latest tricks to a perfect cake has been to ensure that ALL of my dry ingredients are sifted. Trust me, ya’ll—-this works! Making all the dry ingredients fully sifted makes things airy, as you’ve guessed it and allows everything to combine faster.

Tip #4:

Never Over-mix! When creating a cake, it’s so important to add the dry ingredients and wet ingredients alternately and as soon as everything is combined very well, THAT’S IT! Over-mixing creates a more dense cake.

Cake Flour vs. All-Purpose Flour

When it comes to the main ingredient of this entire vegan sweet potato cake recipe—-the flour, I enjoy using Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour, which is ideal for all kinds of baking, including this one.

However, I do occasionally use Super-Fine Cake Flour which adds a nice airiness and fluffiness to your cakes as well.

Sliced sweet potato cake on a wood plate with a fork and scoop of ice cream on top.

How To Make Dairy-Free Butter Milk?

In a bowl or measuring cup, add together your favorite vegan plant-based milk (I use unsweetened Almond milk) and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, stirring and allowing it to sit for 5-10 minutes until it thickens. For a regular option, just substitute milk with regular cow's milk or heavy cream.

Can I Use Other Types of Milk?

Absolutely! If you’d like to switch things up with the type of plant-based milk that you use—–that’s totally fine! The world of plant-based milk is constantly expanding. From the classics like coconut milkcashew milk, soy milk and almond milk, we now have delicious options like oat milk, and even potato and quinoa milk.

1- Layer Maple Sweet Potato Cake Q + A's

How to Store

Keep cake leftovers stored for up to 4-5 days in the fridge. Keep it in an airtight container to keep the cake from drying out. You can also freeze the cake tightly wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 3 months. Before serving, defrost the cake on the counter.

How To Make This Sweet Potato Cake Gluten Free?

To make this cake entirely gluten-free, simply substitute the flour with a great Gluten-Free flour option like Bob's Red Mill's GF 1-to-1 baking flour or All-purpose flour. If using any other flour, ensure that it has Xanthan Gum included or add 1 teaspoon in with any flour that doesn't. For the remaining ingredients, just make sure that they are GF-friendly and you use arrowroot starch which is very GF-friendly.

Can I make this Sweet potato Cake recipe ahead of time?

Absolutely! You can always bake this cake the night or day before and let it cool, tightly wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use. When ready to serve, let cake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour, whip together maple glaze, add your favorite topping, and serve each slice

Why Didn't My Sweet Potato Cake Come Out Of The Pan Clean?

This issue can occur for TWO reasons: the first being that you didn't allow the cake to cool enough before removing it. I always recommend letting it cool for at least 20-30 minutes before removing it and letting it cool completely on a cooling rack. Secondly, the issue could be that the pan wasn't greased well. I like to grease + add cake pan parchment paper to the bottom.

Can I make cupcakes instead?

This recipe yields about 30 cupcakes which will be more cakey and fluffy. Simply bake for 18-20 minutes instead, until centers come out clean. 

Can I use regular buttermilk?

Absolutely, you can use regular buttermilk if you're not going for a dairy-free option. It will bring a unique touch to the cake, imparting a lovely, tangy flavor that pairs beautifully with the sweet potato and maple. So, feel free to go with what suits your taste buds best!

Love Cake? Try These Sweet Creations Next!

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you tried my 1-Layer Maple Sweet Potato Cake recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. I love hearing from you.

Sliced cake with a scoop of ice cream on top.

1-Layer Maple Sweet Potato Cake

October 26, 2023
5 from 2 votes
This 1-Layer Maple Sweet Potato Cake recipe is like a warm, cozy hug packed with fall spices and rich, sweet potato goodness-- all topped off with a delicious maple-infused dairy-free glaze. This cake's got all the cozy flavors of fall, and it's the perfect go-to, whether you're celebrating something special or just want a comforting treat. Completely Dairy-free, Vegan! Gluten-free + Make-ahead option!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Serves: 8 servings

Ingredients

CAKE:

  • 3 cups organic all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups organic cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree (See Post for more info!)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Dairy-free "Buttermilk" (1 cup Almond milk + 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice)

MAPLE GLAZE:

  • 2 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tbsps vegan butter, softened at room temp.
  • 4 Tbsps pure maple syrup
  • 1-2 Tbsps Almond milk, if needed**

Instructions

TO MAKE THE 'BUTTERMILK':

  • If making a dairy-free version: In a bowl or measuring cup, add together your favorite plant-based milk (I use unsweetened Almond milk) and 1 Tablespoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, stirring and allowing it to sit for 5-10 minutes until it thickens. For a regular option, just substitute milk with regular cow's milk or heavy cream.

TO MAKE THE SWEET POTATO CAKE:

  • Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease (w/ butter or spray) and line the bottom with parchment paper of a 9-inch round cake pan. NOTE: For greater ease, you can use a 8 to 9-inch springform pan as well so that you can remove it more easily once baked.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and sea salt until combined. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add together the sugar and vegetable oil, mixing by using a hand-mixer on medium-high speed, until combined and "sand-like", about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add in the vanilla, sweet potato puree, and the 'buttermilk', followed by the dry ingredients, mixing everything together until well combined, smooth, and lump-free, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour/scoop batter into prepared pan, spreading everything around for a perfect evenness.

BAKE THE CAKE:

  • Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until the center of the cake comes out clean when tested with a toothpick or butter knife.
  • Once done, remove the cake from the oven and let cool completely (about 1-2 hours) before carefully lifting it from the pan. NOTE: To best remove, I recommend gently turning your cake over and "shake" out of pan, flipping it back right side up once until cake stand or platter.

TO MAKE THE MAPLE GLAZE:

  • In a bowl, beat the softened butter until pale and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and maple syrup, whisking everything together until the glaze is smooth and thick. NOTE: Add 1-2 Tbsps of milk at this point, if needed. Glaze should be thick, but able to slowly run off whisk.
  • Once the cake has cooled completely and is on the cake stand or dish of your choice, generously drizzle maple glaze atop.
  • To serve, slice cake and top with your favorite dairy-free ice cream or coconut whipped cream and enjoy!
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: Keep leftover cake tightly wrapped using plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 5 days. To store frozen (frosted or unfrosted), simply tightly wrap and cover cake and freeze for up to 2-3 months. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bring to room temperature.
  • SWEET POTATO CUPCAKES: This recipe yields about 30 cupcakes which will be more cakey and fluffy. Simply bake for 18-20 minutes instead, until centers come out clean. 
  • PLANT-BASED BUTTERMILK: Add 1 cup of Almond milk (or your fave plant-based milk) + 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar) and let sit for 10 minutes, until it slightly thickens. For regular buttermilk, you can use regular cow's milk + the lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. 
  • FLOUR: You can always just use cake flour for this recipe.
  • MAKE AHEAD: You can always bake this cake the night or day before and let it cool, tightly wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use. When ready to serve, let cake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour, whip together maple glaze, add your favorite topping, and serve each slice!

Nutrition

Calories: 441kcal | Carbohydrates: 115g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 376mg | Potassium: 294mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 6778IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 160mg | Iron: 3mg

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  1. I noticed once you said to mix everything that my cake was dry and there was no direction on when to put in the sweet potatoes. Its missing that in the instructions

    • Hi Lynnie! My apologies for any errors and confusion! I've gone ahead and updated the measurements for the "buttermilk"---you can use 1 Tbsp of either lemon juice or acv! Also, you'll add the sweet potato in with the vanilla right before the dry ingredients. I hope that this helps! 🙂

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