a slice of sweet potato spice cake with cream cheese frosting and chopped pecans on top.

Sweet Potato Spice Cake

Yield: 12 servings 1x
Prep: 25 minutesCook: 1 hour 30 minutesTotal: 2 hours 30 minutes

This incredibly moist and rich Sweet Potato Spice Cake is full of cozy spices and covered with decadent orange flavored cream cheese frosting. It’s make-ahead friendly and perfect for Fall gatherings or weekend baking!



For the spice cake:

  • 2 small-medium sweet potatoes (for 1 1/2 cups mashed)
  • 1 1/3 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • zest of 1 orange, divided

For the frosting:

  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • zest of 1/4 orange
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped


  1. Bake the potatoes: Preheat the oven 400F. Line a small baking tray with foil. Use a fork to poke a few holes in the sweet potatoes so steam can escape. Optional for flavor: coat the sweet potatoes in a thin layer of olive oil. Place the sweet potatoes on the baking tray and bake for about 45 minutes, or until juices are bubbling from the holes and you can easily pierce the potatoes with a fork. 
  2. Mash the potatoes: Carefully remove the skins and place the cooked potatoes into a bowl. Use a fork or potato masher to briefly mash the potatoes so that you can measure out 1 1/2 cups for the cake batter. Any leftover sweet potato can be enjoyed with some brown sugar or mixed into yogurt. 
  3. Prep baking tin: Reduce the oven temperature to 325F. Grease an 8×8 inch deep square metal baking dish with butter or prep it with cooking spray. Line the bottom with a square of baking parchment. 
  4. Make the batter: In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to combine the mashed sweet potato, brown sugar, vegetable oil and eggs. Set aside. In another small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, the spices and the salt. Pour the dry mixture into the wet, and whisk until combined. Whisk in 3/4 of the orange zest. 
  5. Bake the cake: Scrape the batter into the prepared baking tin and level the top with a rubber spatula. Drop the tin down on the countertop several times to knock out any large air bubbles. Bake for 45-55 minutes until the center does not jiggle and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Cool the cake: Leave the cake to cool for about 15 minutes until the tin is cool enough to handle. The cake should have pulled back from the tin a little around the edges: if this has not happened in places, run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake to release it from the tin before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Make the frosting: Using a hand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar until you have a spreadable frosting. Beat in the remaining orange zest.
  8. Frost the cake: Once the cake is completely cool, remove the paper and transfer to a flat serving dish. Using an offset spatula, spread and swirl the frosting across the top of the cake. Sprinkle over the chopped pecans, cut and serve. Store leftover cake covered on the counter for 1-2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.


Lime vs orange: The zest of 2 limes can be substituted for the orange in the cake, but don’t beat the lime zest into the batter as with some brands of cream cheese it may cause the frosting to split. Instead, sprinkle the zest of 1/2 lime over the top of the finished cake.

Frosting: Orange buttercream would make a good swap if you don’t like cream cheese frosting, but you’ll want to up the amount of orange zest to make up for the lack of tang. Chopped walnuts would also be delicious on top of the cake if you can’t find any pecans.

Nutrition information estimated with My Fitness Pal. Total time includes estimated cooling time for the cake.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 1 piece
  • Calories: 434
  • Fat: 25g
  • Carbohydrates: 51g
  • Protein: 4g
© Author: Danielle
Cuisine: American Method: Baked
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