Southern Sweet Potato Cake Recipe
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This delicious Southern Sweet Potato Cake Recipe is perfect to serve for any occasion, or any time you’re in the mood for baking. The cake is made layers of slightly spiced sweet potato cake and a honey cinnamon buttercream for a lovely combination that has been a palate pleaser over the years, and has become one of our most popular cake recipes.
For years we’ve enjoyed dining at Brick Street Cafe. Not only do they have a lovely, eclectic atmosphere but the menu, particularly the dessert menu is fabulous. The dessert selection alone is worth a visit. It’s like a tour of the South in dessert form!
A good plan when dining at Brick Street Cafe is to have a light salad for supper to save up room for cake because the cake serving size is crazy huge. One of the cakes they are famous for is their Sweet Potato Cake. It’s a lightly spiced cake, similar to carrot cake, but made with sweet potatoes and oh so moist.
For many years I had been wanting to recreate the Southern Sweet Potato Cake, so a few years back I set out to conquer it. A few renditions later and I settled on a cake that we are delighted with. It’s a moist cake with just the right amount of spice to compliment the sweet potato.
And yes, there is real sweet potato in this cake, about 4-5 of them to be exact. Just to push this Sweet Potato Cake over the top, I then paired it with a fluffy Cinnamon Honey Buttercream Frosting. Sweet potatoes, cinnamon, and honey always make a good team, don’t they?
It’s a cake worthy of a special occasion or even just an ordinary day you’d like to make special. I hope you enjoy this cake as much as we have! Happy baking, y’all!
A few Sweet Potato Cake recipe notes:
- I’ve made this cake with and without freezing the cake layers. It is delicious either way but I do think freezing the cake layers (separately) creates a lovely dense and more moist cake. To freeze cake layers, wrap cooled layers (separately) in 2 layers of plastic wrap, then insert each wrapped layer in a zip-top plastic bag. Freeze for up to 2 months. Don’t forget to label and date your cake!
- For the mashed sweet potatoes, I used my Quick Baked Potatoes method. It takes only 30 minutes! The potato halves can be easily peeled, then mashed. If you’re planning on baked potatoes for supper, bake some sweet potatoes while you’re at it to have on hand for cake making.
- Try my Cinnamon Honey Buttercream Frosting Recipe with this cake for a delectable combo.
More delicious baking recipes:
Strawberry Upside Down Cake
Chocolate Hazelnut Torte
Homemade Gingerbread Loaf
Easy Blueberry Pie
Southern Sweet Potato Cake Recipe
Southern Sweet Potato Cake Recipe
A delicious cake for any day or holiday, made with sweet potatoes, cinnamon and ginger. Topped with Honey Cinnamon Buttercream for a perfect combination.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes, cooled (about 4-5 sweet potatoes)
- 1 cup whole buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with baking parchment and butter the top of those too.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a mixer, beat together butter and sugar on medium-high for 4-5 minutes until creamy, stopping to scrape down bowl at least twice. Gradually add beaten eggs. Beat on medium-high for 1-2 minutes until fluffy, scraping down bowl as needed. Add vanilla and sweet potatoes and beat until smooth, scraping down bowl as needed (scraping down the bowl is important stuff, y’all).
- Add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture in thirds, alternating with buttermilk. Beat on low speed until just incorporated, scraping down bowl as needed.
- Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake at 350-degrees F for 35-45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then invert onto cooling rack to cool completely.
This recipe makes a 2-layer 9-inch cake.Pair this cake with Cinnamon Honey Buttercream Frosting for a delicious combination.
Originally published September 18, 2o15. Last updated July 18, 2021.
I don’t have parchment paper ,do I really need it?
This is a very moist cake so parchment works best. You could generously butter and flour the pans, but I cannot guarantee how it will turn out.
dollar tree , if you have one near you sells wonderful parchment paper, for a dollar
I was wondering if I could make this into a cupcake instead and how long do I bake it for
I’m sure it would work well for cupcakes. Unfortunately, I have never made cupcakes with this batter to know how long it would take. Maybe you could test a single cupcake to see. Let me know if you try it. Happy baking!
Does this cake taste like pumpkin or sweet potatoes?
Hi, I can’t wait to try this sweet potato cake recipe this week for Thanksgiving but I wondered what if I substituted light brown sugar instead if the white sugar?
Let me know how it turns out if you try it.
If I freeze the cake layers tonight, can I frost it on Thursday morning and it defrost in time to enjoy at Thanksgiving Dinner? When do you suggest frosting it.
I do apologize for just now responding. For some reason your comment was held in moderation. I hope you had good results with the cake recipe. In the future I would remove cake layers from the freezer the morning of and allow to sit at room temperature for a few hours to defrost before frosting.
I tried the sweet potato recipe for Thanksgivings. It had a good flavor.
It was kinda heavy and the cake came out gummy on the bottom part of the cake. The top half of the cake was good. Did I need to sift the flour? ? What could be the cause of that gummy, chewy texture? I would like to try it again.
Your oven may require a longer cook time. I always test cakes for doneness before removing from the oven.
Do you have to use buttermilk..can you substitute with Almondmilk?
I do not recommend using almond milk.
I first made this cake last November for Thanksgiving my niece loved the one that was offered at a local Cafe in Greenville S. C . She told me if I wanted to impress her since I have been baking for some years to make a sweet potato like the one they make. I made it and she and my family loved it I made another this Thanksgiving and for Christmas too I did add a little nutmeg to the recipe and it was wonderful.
Can I use a tube pan instead of 2 layer pan
While I have not personally tried this cake recipe in a tube pan, I have had friends try it. I don’t know how long they cooked it, but I imagine cook time will have to be adjusted quite a bit until cake is done.
Bored with the harsh cold over the weekend, my daughter and I decided to try this lovely cake since sweet potatoes are a favorite in our home.
It came out fantastic!
A few bakers posted about parchment paper and substitute for the buttermilk.
I did not use parchment but we heavily greased the pans and floured. The cakes turned out of the pans without incident.
We couldn’t get ahold of buttermilk so we subbed a plain Kefir yogurt, which is tart/sour like buttermilk.
We used a cream cheese frosting from Amy’s carrot cake recipe and it all worked beautifully.
This cake is really special. Thank you, Amy!
Amazing recipe. I was asked to make it with dairy free milk.. I also used canned sweet potatoes that I rinsed off then mashed.
So I mixed 1/2 cup of coconut milk yogurt with 1/2 cup of coconut milk and replaced the buttermilk with that and it came out amazing.
Thank you so much for sharing the substitutions, Elizabeth.
Can you make a bundt cake with this recipe or a 9×13 casserole dish cake?
I have a friend who has made it in a bundt cake. I do not know how they adjusted cook time.
im short a sweet potato for this recipe, what else can i use? A can of carrots, a can of beets, fresh carrots?
I have not tried substituting any of those ingredients so I do not know how it would turn out.
Can you use cake flour instead of all purpose? Or even go half and half cake/all purpose?
can you use canned yams in the sweet potato cake
I do not know. I’ve never made this cake with canned yams so I cannot tell you how it would turn out.
I was wondering if you could make this cake into a 9 x13 dish instead of around 9 inch cake pans
Of course, you can, just make sure to adjust cook time accordingly, baking until done. I have not baked it in that size pan so I cannot tell you what the cook time should be. Let me know if you try it. It’s a delicious cake whatever shape it is baked in!
I’ve never baked with sweet potatoes before but gave this cake a try and it’s fab. It’s very different to the cakes we have in England. We only use sweet potatoes in savoury dishes. Thank you so much for the recipe.
I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed it, Lizzie. It continues to be one of our favorites.