Spiced Zucchini Sweet Potato Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Gluten free sweet potato cake packed with zucchini and cozy spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice! This healthy sweet potato cake is naturally sweetened with pure maple syrup and frosted with a yummy orange & cinnamon infused cream cheese frosting that’s easily dairy free! Don’t forget the delicious almond butter caramel glaze either.
Welcome to the last day of Zucchini Week. What do you think? Was this the best one yet?
I think so! Especially after this zucchini sweet potato cake…
Over the past year or so, I’ve kind of fallen in love with making cake! Grain free and gluten free cake to be more specific. But… why?
Well, not only do I love the challenge of getting a gluten free cake right in both texture and flavor (it proves to be more difficult than regular cakes), but I also really enjoy making cake a little better for you! This means I’m usually using a healthier gluten free flour blend, naturally sweetening the cakes as best as I can, and using more wholesome ingredients.
After baking my paleo chocolate cake, tahini chocolate chip cookie cake, the beloved gluten free healthy carrot cake and now this sweet potato cake, I’ve realized that I really do love using a mix of both almond flour and coconut flours to create the perfect crumb, flavor and texture. It’s just so good!
Zucchini sweet potato cake ingredients
You’ll need a few ingredients to make this sweet potato cake including ZUCCHINI! So if you find yourself with a ton of zucchini in your garden, then it’s time to get your bake on. This cake is super simple to throw together and results in the perfect cake for birthdays, parties or if you’re looking for a great way to sneak some veggies into dessert! Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- Almond flour: I recommend using fine blanched almond flour. Make sure you pack the almond flour like you similar to brown sugar.
- Coconut flour: this is a great gluten free flour to help absorb moisture in recipes and also add fiber and nutrition. No need to pack the coconut flour though!
- Spices: we’re not calling this a spiced sweet potato cake for nothing! This sweet potato cake tastes very similar to both carrot cake and pumpkin cake thanks to the addition of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice.
- Zucchini: this recipe calls for 2 cups of shredded zucchini, which you won’t even be able to taste. You want to make sure that the zucchini is completely squeezed of excess moisture with a paper towel before you measure it.
- Mashed sweet potato: you’ll need about a cup of mashed sweet potato in this recipe. See my notes below on how to roast sweet potatoes!
- Eggs: this recipe uses four eggs to help with consistency and texture. I’ve added some notes below if you’re interested in making this vegan.
- Pure maple syrup: WOW is all I can say. The maple syrup is just a nice touch to this recipe and adds so much flavor and additional moisture. Just make sure it’s the REAL stuff, not Aunt Jemima or whatever.
- Almond butter: trust me when I say that you’re going to want to use almond butter in this recipe! Please choose an almond butter with just almonds (or almonds and salt) as the ingredients.
- Coconut oil: If you don’t want to use coconut oil, you can always use melted butter, but we’re only using 1 tablespoon total.
- Vanilla extract: just an essential!
- Optional ingredients include both pecans or walnuts. Optional, but honestly very delicious!
FAQ’s on substitutions
- Can I make it vegan? I haven’t tested it, but I think 4 flax eggs would work well.
- Can I use all purpose flour? Unfortunately, no, I would not recommend substituting the flour in this recipe.
- Can I use a different nut butter? I think an all natural cashew butter or tahini would work out well, but I would avoid using peanut butter.
What does sweet potato cake taste like?
This sweet potato cake tastes like a cross between carrot cake and pumpkin cake! It’s deliciously moist, perfectly sweet and full of yummy spices.
How to roast a sweet potato in the oven
Since you’ll need mashed sweet potato for this cake, you might as well, learn how to properly roast a sweet potato.
- First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Poke a sweet potato all over with a fork and place on a baking sheet.
- Roast for 45 minutes-1 hour until the sweet potato is fork tender.
- Allow the sweet potato to cool completely, then remove the skin, place in a bowl and mash with a fork like you would a banana.
- Finally, use 1 cup of mashed sweet potato in this recipe.
The delicious details on the cream cheese frosting
The cream cheese frosting is pretty classic, but also easily dairy free! All you need is:
- Butter (or a vegan buttery stick)
- Cream cheese (dairy free cream cheese)
- Powdered sugar
- Orange juice and zest — for a sweet citrus punch
Whip it up and spread it on for a deliciously creamy, addicting frosting you’ll want to put on EVERYTHING!
Don’t forget about the almond butter caramel drip!
Of course, we can’t forget about the gorgeous ALMOND BUTTER CARAMEL DRIP on this sweet potato cake. It was a last-minute decision of mine, but one I’m so happy to have made. You’ll only need 3 ingredients for the almond butter caramel to work beautifully together: almond butter maple syrup and coconut oil. To make it:
- Warm up the maple syrup and coconut oil.
- Stir in the almond butter, and salt if you like a little bit of sweet and salty.
- Pour it over the cooled, frosted cake, and use an inverted spatula or spoon to help get the drizzle look.
- Place the cake in the fridge to help solidify the caramel!
The almond butter caramel is simple to make, and a recipe you’ll come back to again and again. Personally, I love dipping apples in it, so I thought, why not throw it on a cake?
Storing & freezing tips
One of the best parts about this healthy zucchini sweet potato cake is that you can make it 1-2 days ahead of time. I like to make the cakes ahead of time and keep them in the fridge for easy assemble, but you can also store it after you’ve frosted the cake, too!
- To store: I recommend storing the cake covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- To freeze: feel free to freeze this sweet potato cake either frosted or unfrosted for up to 2 months. I recommend freezing it unfrosted in individual layers for the best results. First, wrap each individual layer in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil and then place the cakes in a zip-top freezer bag. When you’re ready to serve it, simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and then let the cake come to room temperature before serving.
Check out all of our favorite kitchen essentials here.
More cake recipes you’ll love
- Healthy Birthday Cake
- Inside Out Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake
- Damn Good Peanut Butter Banana Cake (gluten free, grain free)
- Lemon Blueberry Zucchini Cake with Lemon Frosting
- The Best Healthy Carrot Cake You’ll Ever Eat (gluten free & paleo-friendly!)
Get all of our amazing cake recipes here!
I hope you love this zucchini sweet potato cake as much as we did! If you make it, be sure to leave a comment below and rate the recipe. xo!
Spiced Zucchini Sweet Potato Cake
- Dry ingredients:
- 2 cups packed super fine blanched almond flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
- ½ cup coconut flour (do not pack)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Wet ingredients:
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
- ½ cup natural creamy almond butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup mashed cooked sweet potato (from 1 large roasted sweet potato)
- 2 cups shredded zucchini, that’s been squeezed of ALL excess moisture with a paper towel
- 1 tablespoon melted and cooled coconut oil
- ¾ cup chopped pecans (or sub walnuts)
- For the frosting:
- ½ cup salted butter, at room temperature (or sub vegan buttery stick)
- 8 ounces plain cream cheese, at room temperature (or sub dairy free cream cheese)
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- Zest from 1 orange
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- For the salted caramel drip topping:
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 3-4 tablespoons natural creamy almond butter
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Line the bottom of three 6-inch round cake pans or two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper rounds. Spray parchment paper and sides of pan with nonstick cooking spray. YOU SHOULD USE PARCHMENT PAPER or the cake is likely to stick. Please do not forget.
In a large bowl, whisk the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and salt together. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, pure maple syrup, almond butter, vanilla extract until smooth. Then stir in the mashed sweet potato and shredded zucchini. Finally stir in the melted and cooled coconut oil until it’s well incorporated. Note: It is important that your eggs are at room temperature otherwise the coconut oil with coagulate. The coconut oil should be melted but not HOT, but rather closer to room temp.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until well combined. Stir in pecans, if using.
Divide batter evenly between pans and spread out with a spatula to smooth the tops. Bake for 22-32 minutes if using two 8-inch pans and 30-40 minutes for three 6-inch pans. Cakes are done when a tester comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Allow cake to cool completely before frosting or removing from the pans. The cake should be room temperature or cold when you frost it. This is very important. Cakes can be made a day ahead and stored in the fridge if you’d like!
Make your frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the softened butter and cream cheese and whip on high until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, orange juice, orange zest and cinnamon and beat for 2 minutes more.
Now it’s time to frost the cake: place about 1-2 tablespoons down onto the cake stand and spread out. Invert 1 cake onto the cake stand, add about ½ heaping cup frosting between each layer, repeat with each cake, then frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. If you’d like, you can do a crumb coat for the frosting first (to avoid crumbs in the frosting by doing the following: Frost the layers as you normally would and then coat the outside of the cake with a very thin layer of frosting and place in fridge for 10-15 minutes before you finish frosting. This is so that the crumbs stick to this layer of frosting and not your main layer.
After you are finished frosting, place cake in the fridge and then make your caramel layer: in a medium microwave safe bowl or glass mason jar, add maple syrup and coconut oil. Microwave for 30 seconds-1 minute until warm and coconut oil is melted. Stir in almond butter and salt. I like to start with 3 tablespoons of almond butter, but depending on how thick your almond butter is you may need to use more to get a caramel-like consistency.
Pour over the top of the cake. It should naturally start to drip down the sides but if it doesn’t, you can use an inverted spatula or a spoon to gently spread the caramel towards the sides to create a drip look. Immediately place cake in the fridge to help solidify the caramel.
Cake will stay good for 5-7 days in the fridge, and should be covered to ensure freshness. Serves 16.
To make dairy free: use vegan butter (I recommend Earth Balance) and a dairy free cream cheese such as Kite Hill. You may also need to use a paleo powdered sugar. You can also use Simple Mills Frosting as an alternative.
To make vegan: I haven't tried making this cake vegan, but if you want to try you can use 4 flax eggs (4 tablespoons flaxseed meal + 12 tablespoons water).
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
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