Sunday, February 8, 2015

Kitchen adventure: sweet potato cake

This month has been cold and dreary so baking is one of those comforting activities that I enjoy to keep warm inside.  I've been experimenting with more vegan baking, and have had some good successes along with a few less than stellar results.  My husband's birthday is in February and he likes carrot cake.   I decided to bake a sweet potato cake to honor the day.  It's a similar twist to his favorite with lots of fragrant, warm spices and a soft, but dense texture.  There's plenty of nutrition packed in this sweet treat with lots whole grains (wheat and flax), nuts and apples as well as the sweet potatoes.

I was inspired by this recipe from Sweet Potato Soul.  I met Jenné in NYC when she taught a segment at the Main Street Vegan Academy which included her teaching us and making tacos for lunch - amazing!  Check out her many recipes and videos for more inspiration in vegan cooking.

Sweet potato cake with coconut cashew cream icing

2 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp flax seed meal
3/4 cup warm water
1 1/4 cup sugar 
1 apple, grated (or used 1/2 cup crushed pineapple)
1 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla
2 cup shredded sweet potato
1 cup nuts, chopped
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

14-oz can of full fat coconut milk - put in refrigerator upside down
1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water and drained
2 tsp vanilla extract or 2 in piece of vanilla bean
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp lemon or orange juice (juice of 1/2 of lemon)


  • Open the can of coconut milk right side up and scoop out the thick cream layer, leaving the liquid in the can. Place the coconut cream into a high speed blender.
  • Add in the soaked cashews, vanilla, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup.
  • Blend until smooth using some of the coconut milk to thin as necessary
  • Put the icing in the refrigerator to firm up until the cake is ready. 


  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Oil a tube pan 
  • In a small bowl, sift together dry ingredients (flour through salt) and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flax seed meal and water and let sit a few minutes until thick. 
  • Add the sugar, oil, vinegar and vanilla and beat well.
  • Add the grated sweet potato and apple and  and mix until combined.
  • Add dry mix and stir until moistened, but do not over mix.  This is a very thick batter, but if the mixture is too dry, add a few spoonfuls of almond milk or orange juice.
  • Fold in nuts and coconut.
  • Pour into prepared pan.
  • Bake for 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Let cool in pan 10 minutes.
  • Use a knife to loosen edges of cake from pans.
  • Let cool fully on a wire rack.
  • Once the cake has cooled completely, frost and serve.
  • Store cake in the fridge to keep the icing nice and firm.

I hope you'll make this cake for a special occasion.  It's worth the effort.

Thanks for reading!

Cooling racks on baking day