Sweet Potato Spice Cake With A Caramel Frosting
I love a quick and easy cake that comes together quickly and is very low stress or low maintenance but tastes fantastic. Can you get all that in a cake? Absolutely! Snack cakes make that happen. They usually require just a bowl and whisk to make them with, regular pantry ingredients, and are always delicious. It’s a great cake to make if your a beginner when it comes to baking but also great for someone who loves to bake but doesn’t have the time to spend a full day in the kitchen baking.
My hubby loves spiced cakes and cookies so Im always keeping my eyes pealed for new recipes for spiced things. I came across one recipe that I really liked from Fine cooking with a streusel topping and what really peaked my curiosity was that it was made with sweet potatoes. I love sweet potatoes and I always have them around and knew I had to try it! I wanted to spice it up a bit further so I changed the spices up a little bit and added slightly more as I wasn’t making the streusel with it which packed a lot of extra spice on it. I also chose to add the chocolate and pecans to the recipe. I decided to frost the cake instead as I came across a caramel frosting that I thought would be perfect with it from NYT cooking. The frosting on their site was paired with and apple spiced cake and I thought naturally it would be great with this one too.
They were all very good choices. And now you know the process of my recipe development. The cake actually came from three different recipes and I used 2 different recipes to guide me with the caramel frosting. The reason being is that the original one called for melting caramel candies. I thought it was just easier to use store bought sauce or just use some homemade sauce that I had leftover from another recipe. Please look up the recipe on NYT cooking for the caramel candy version if you would prefer that one. They didn’t have a conversion ratio for the amount of caramel sauce you would yield with the candy so I used another recipe to guide the amount of sauce to use that is why I put ¼ cup to a ⅓. Between those to measures is perfectly fine without influencing the thickness of the frosting. It’s a lot of work this recipe development thing ya know - but it is fun and my family loves it cause they get to taste everything along the way.
I tested this recipe and brought it to a friend’s gathering and it was well received and loved by all and so that made the recipe a win and landed itself a place on the blog. I know for sure that you will love it too. I’m also pretty sure you might have some sweet potatoes around that you are dying to throw into a cake so this cake is just begging to be made. You will thank me later and this is a frosting you will definitely be using on other cakes and cupcakes - at least know I will be.
More fall cake recipes you will love:
For the cake
- ¾ cup vegetable oil; more for greasing pan
- 1½ cups very firmly packed light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup mashed sweet potato or sweet potato purée
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp molasses
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp of ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- ⅛ tsp freshly grated nutmeg or ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1⅔ cups all-purpose flour
- 1-½ tsp baking soda
- ½ cup pecans, chopped and lightly toasted (optional)
- ½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips or large chocolate bar, chopped into large chunks (optional)
For the caramel frosting
- ¾ cup unsalted butter (1½ sticks), at room temperature.
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar/powdered sugar
- ¼ cup of store bought or homemade caramel plus more for drizzling (Homemade recipe linked and below)
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream.
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract.
- Flaky sea salt, as needed, for finishing.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Lightly oil /grease and flour a 8 or 9-inch-square baking pan; tap out excess flour. Or alternatively line your baking pan with parchment paper going across both lengths of pan (2 pieces) making it easier to lift out of pan and transfer.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together the oil, brown sugar, and eggs and, stir until the mixture is smooth and the sugar begins to dissolve, 30 to 60 seconds. If the sugar forms lumps, break them up with your fingers.
- Whisk in the sweet potato, molasses, and vanilla
- In a separate bowl wisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg and then sift it onto the batter.
- Using a whisk or rubber spatula, combine the ingredients until well blended and almost smooth.
- Stir in the toasted pecans and chocolate chips if using.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly with the spatula and bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out with only moist crumbs clinging to it, about 35-45 min.
- Set the pan on a rack to cool for 15 min. Run a knife around the edge of the pan. Let cool completely before frosting and then cut into squares and serve from the pan, or wrap well in plastic and refrigerate if making ahead and frost just before serving.(see recipe notes)
For the Frosting
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. (A handheld mixer is fine to use as well)
- Add the caramel and mix on medium speed until incorporated. Scrape the bowl well.
- Add the cream and vanilla and mix to combine. The frosting should be smooth and very soft.
- Scoop the frosting onto the cooled cake, and spread into an even layer. Drizzle extra caramel sauce over it - optional.
- Garnish with flaky salt just before serving.
- TO BAKE POTATOES: bake on baking sheet at 400°F for 1 hour. Potatoes should be soft and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
- SERVE: Unfrosted sweet potato Cake can be left at room temperature for up to 3 days but with cream cheese frosting, you want to refrigerate it after 2 hours.
- STORE: Cover cake pan with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 1 week. Bring cake to room temperature before serving or enjoy it straight out the fridge
- FREEZE: Cool cake completely and cover Pumpkin Cake with plastic wrap and then aluminium foil, or transfer cake to sealed container. Freeze for up to 3 months and thaw in the refrigerator before serving. Thaw in the fridge overnight or on the counter. Frosted cake freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature or serve cold.
- ALTERNATIVE ingredients: use gf all purpose flour to make it gluten free, make this cake with pumpkin purée instead for pumpkin version