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A spiced sweet potato cake with bourbon salted caramel frosting. It’s similar to carrot cake with a moist and tender crumb filled with chunks of sweet potato and walnuts. You’ll love every bite!
Easy Sweet Potato Cake
My grandmother’s carrot cake is by far one of my favorite cakes, and if you love carrot cake, then you will absolutely love this sweet potato cake. It’s loaded with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, shredded sweet potatoes and chunky walnuts. The cake itself is so good, my mom and I ate a whole layer without the frosting.
However, the bourbon salted caramel frosting also happens to be one of my favorite frosting recipes, so when paired with this cake, it’s a match made in heaven. I’m still swooning over here.
I originally posted this in 2014 but recently redid the recipe with some minor tweaks and an all-new frosting recipe. I seriously can’t wait for you to try this frosting.
- Sweet potatoes: Peeled and grated. The easiest way to prepare these is to use a food processor. Peel them, cut them into pieces and then grind them up. You could use a cheese grater but that would take awhile!
- Granulated sugar
- Vegetable oil: there’s a whole cup of oil in this cake which makes it nice and tender, and helps keep this cake moist
- Bourbon: I love pairing bourbon with sweet potatoes but if you want to omit it, you can either substitute it with vanilla or leave it out.
- Dry ingredients: All-purpose flour, baking soda and salt
- Spices: ground cinnamon and nutmeg
- Walnuts: I prefer roughly chopped walnuts, but pecans would also work well. Nuts are always optional but I love the texture that they add.
How to Make Sweet Potato Cake
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 350°. Prepare two 8-inch round baking pans (affiliate link), line the bottom with parchment paper and grease the sides and lightly dust with flour.
- Sweet potatoes: Peel the sweet potatoes and use a grater or food processor to shred the sweet potatoes. Set aside.
- Beat the wet ingredients & sugar: Beat the eggs until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat on low speed until well combined. Then add the oil and bourbon and continue beating until well mixed.
- Add the dry ingredients: In a medium bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry ingredients to wet ingredients and beat until incorporated. Fold in walnuts and sweet potatoes.
- Bake: Pour the batter into the prepared pans, dividing evenly. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes. Allow cake to cool completely.
Make ahead and storage suggestions: The cake layers can be made up to 2 days in advance. Cool completely and wrap tightly in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container. Once frosted, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator such as a cake carrier. Serve at room temperature for best results.
Bourbon Salted Caramel Frosting
This is a cross between a traditional American buttercream and a cream cheese frosting. I absolutely love my cream cheese frosting recipe (which would also go great with this cake), but I wanted something a little thicker than that. So I used a recipe that is 3 parts butter and 1 part cream cheese. This way you still get the taste of the cream cheese, but with the consistency of traditional buttercream.
This frosting has the absolute best flavor: a touch of vanilla, plenty of salted caramel and then I decided to add a little bourbon to the frosting and it was the best decision ever. It pairs perfectly with the spices in this cake, and I can definitely just eat it with a spoon.
Tips for the Perfect Frosting Consistency
The secret to getting the perfect consistency for the frosting is to start with cold ingredients. I know that’s probably the opposite of everything you’ve learned about frosting, but trust me. I use this method for nearly all my frosting recipes and readers agree, it’s a game-changer.
You’ll need to spend some time whipping the cold butter in the very beginning until it reaches a light, fluffy whipped texture. Then you’ll add the cold cream cheese and do the same thing.
This frosting should be thick but easily spreadable, it won’t be quite as soft as a cream cheese frosting. If your frosting seems too thin, add additional powdered sugar. Or if your frosting is too thick, add additional cream. If your frosting becomes too soft when applying and decorating the cake, stick it in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
How to Decorate This Cake
I just love how this cake is decorated, and if you saw the original version I posted in 2014, this is what I call a major glow-up. You can certainly decorate this any way you’d like using additional salted caramel sauce or garnish with nuts, however, the frosting recipe makes more than enough, so you have plenty left to decorate with.
Be sure to add a crumb coating to the cake prior to frosting it. This helps pick up any loose crumbs and gives you a nice, even surface to frost. Once your crumb cake is applied, stick it in the freezer for 5-10 minutes max, or in the fridge for 15 minutes. It’s just long enough for the frosting to get cold.
When using multiple piping tips, I like to place my frosting in a large piping bag, and then use a smaller piping bag that I can use with the various piping tips, and swap them out as I decorate.
This cake is decorated using a variety of piping tips including (affiliate links) 1M tip, French tip: Ateco 866 and Wilton 199. Open star tip 21. First I pipe the 1M roses and the large rosettes with the 866, then I fill in with the smaller piping tips. I used a similar technique on my buttercream flower cake, so if you’re looking for a more in depth tutorial, check out that post. The sprinkles are from Sweetapolita sprinkles.
How to Store a Frosted Cake
Generally speaking, this can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days. If you live in a warm or humid environment, then I would recommend refrigerating this cake due to the frosting. This cake will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Can I freeze this cake?
Individual cake layers can be frozen once they’ve been baked and cooled, but I do not recommend freezing a frosted cake due to the frosting. To freeze cake layers, place themPrint
Sweet Potato Cake
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 12-15 slices
A spiced sweet potato cake with a bourbon salted caramel frosting. It’s similar to carrot cake with a moist and tender crumb filled with chunk of sweet potato and walnuts.
For the cake
- 3 cups grated sweet potatoes, raw (about 2 medium sized)
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups (380g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (236ml) vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon (30ml) Bourbon (optional)
- 2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons (5g) ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons (8.5g) baking soda
- 1 teaspoon (5g) salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup (116g) walnuts, chopped (optional)
For the frosting
- 1 1/2 cups (339g) unsalted butter, cold
- 8 ounces (226g) full fat cream cheese, cold
- 7 cups (911g) powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) pure vanilla extract
- 1–2 tablespoons (15-30ml) Bourbon (optional)
- 2 teaspoons (9ml) heavy whipping cream or milk
- 3 heaping tablespoons (65g) salted caramel sauce
- 1/8–1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
For the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Prepare two 8-inch round baking pans, line the bottom with parchment paper and grease the sides, lightly dust with flour.
- Peel the sweet potatoes and use a grater or food processor to shred the sweet potatoes. Set aside.
- Beat the eggs until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat on low speed until smooth. Then add the oil and bourbon and continue beating on low speed until well mixed.
- In a medium bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry ingredients to wet ingredients and beat until incorporated. Fold in walnuts and sweet potatoes.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans, dividing evenly. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes. Use a toothpick or knife to check the center of the cake. If your toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done. Allow the cake to cool completely.
For the frosting:
- Cut the butter into pieces, about 1 tablespoon size. Using the paddle attachment, whip butter for 3-5 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally until the butter is light and fluffy.
- Then add the cream cheese and cream together with the butter for 2-3 minutes until they are whipped and free of lumps, scape down the bowl occasionally.
- Slowly add confectionary sugar, 2-3 cups at a time, alternating with the liquid (vanilla extract, heavy cream, bourbon, salted caramel) and beat until desired consistency is reached. Add salt if desired.
To assemble the cake:
- Level off the cakes by removing any domes. Place a dollop of frosting on your cake board and place the bottom layer of cake centered on a cake board.
- Pipe a layer of frosting in circles working outside edge to the middle. Spread evenly with an offset spatula. Add the second layer of cake, inverted. Apply a crumb coat the cake and put in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Remove from freezer and add remaining frosting to the side and top of the cake. Decorate and serve.
- Storage and make ahead: The cake layers can be made up to 2 days in advance. Cool completely and wrap tightly in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container. Once frosted, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator such as a cake carrier. Serve at room temperature for best results.
- Alcohol substitutions: If you don’t want to use bourbon, just omit it from the cake and the frosting. If additional liquid is needed for the frosting to reach your desired consistency, add additional heavy cream.
- Frosting consistency: This frosting should be thick but easily spreadable, it won’t be quite as soft as a cream cheese frosting. If your frosting seems too thin, add additional powdered sugar. Or if your frosting is too thick, add additional cream. The secret to the best frosting is to really whip the butter before adding any additional ingredients. If your frosting because too soft when applying and decorating the cake, stick it in the fridge for 20-30 minutes
- Decorating this cake: This cake is decorated using a variety of piping tips including 1M, French tip: Ateco 866 and Wilton 199. Open star tip 21 and Sweetapolita sprinkles.
- Category: Cake
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Cream cheese frosting, Cake recipe, Sweet Potato Cake
Can you make the frosting ahead of time
Yes. So ahead and prepare 24-48 hours in advance and keep refrigerated in an airtight container. You can remove it from the fridge 30-60 minutes before you need to frost the cake and you may want to rewhip it in the mixer for a minute or two.
I have 6 inch and 9 inch pans. How should I adjust the recipe?
Hi Kym, For a 6 inch cake, if you half the recipe it will make a smaller cake. For the 9 inch pans, you would have to fill them to see how full they would be. It would likely work with two 9inch pans but I have not specifically test this recipe
Can this be made in a 9×13 pan ? Thx
I have not tried it with this particular recipe
Hi! I just realized I only have 9 1/2” pans that are about 1 1/2” deep. Would I just cut the bake time?
Yes you’ll adjust the baking time, I always check my cakes around 20 minutes and then adjust from there.
Thank you. Then I will stick to your original recipe!
Could I use half white and half dark brown sugar?
Hi Rita, I have not tested it that way. The results won’t be the same, but I can’t say whether or not it will work, just because I have not tried it.
Oh and BTW, I made this in a 15×18 inch half sheet pan only because this was the size of cake I needed today. I just frosted with a traditional cream cheese frosting with a little lemon zest. It was fabulous but I do look forward making the cake exactly, exactly 🙂 the way the recipe states. Thank you, the staff loved it!
Great to know this worked in that size pan! Thank you!