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!
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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.
- 6 inch cake pans
- Parchment paper
- Offset spatula for the frosting
- Mixing bowls
- A nice cake stand
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, and my zucchini 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
What do you replace 4 eggs with to make this vegan? I have not been successful replacing more than 3 eggs in any baking recipe
I haven’t tried making this vegan but would recommend using 4 flax eggs if you do try it! I’ve added instructions in the “notes” section. Let me know if you give it a try!
Hi there! Would you recommend or have you tried using pumpkin as a sub for the sweet potato? Looks yummy!
Hi! I haven’t tried it yet, it may be too moist/wet as pumpkin tends to be a little more watery compared to sweet potato. You could probably do 1/2 cup pumpkin puree with success. Let me know if you try it!
Any substations to the almond flour and almond flour? Can’t have nuts.
I have only tested the recipe as written, I’m sorry! For grain free recipes, it’s really difficult to provide accurate and reliable substitutions that I know will work.
This is really beautiful! I have been scared of layer cakes, but I really want to make an explosion cake for my daughter’s birthday. Luckily I have 6 months to work on it.
Thank you! I know they seem intimidating, but they’re easier than you think 🙂 An explosion cake sounds awesome!
I’m also curious about the vegan option, didn’t find it in the post. I imagine flax meal or another egg replacer?
This looks wonderful! My mom is sensitive to sweet potato, and she loves them;-( so I’d need to substitute with maybe a 50/50 carrot and pumpkin?
Hi Jen! I haven’t given it a try yet, but I suggest trying it with flax eggs. I’ve added notes to the “notes” section of the recipe. As far as a sweet potato swap – yes that would be great 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup shredded carrots should be perfect.
Just made this one-its so yummy! Kids love it and I will definately making this cake for my garden party 😆
So happy to hear that! This would be perfect for a garden party.
I made it vegan using the flax eggs and it turned out amazing! The cake was totally devoured by my family in one day and I made a second one by request two days later!
Amazing! So happy the flax eggs worked out (and that this one was a hit!)
Could you make this in a bundt pan instead of into two or three smaller cakes?
Of course! I’m not sure on timing though, but the recipe should work well in a variety of pans 🙂
This looks delicious! Would you be able to provide the nutrition info for this cake recipe?
One of my favorites! I don’t typically calculate nutrition for my cake recipes like this as they’re meant to be more of an indulgent treat 🙂
Just finished eating a piece of this cake….OMG….We loved this cake!
Usually I find gluten free cakes kinda of dry , sometimes the texture isn’t so great
But this cake is moist and if you didn’t know it was gluten free you would never guess.
I will make this one again.
Thank you for a really good cake recipe
So happy you loved this one, Debbie! I have some other incredible gluten free cakes here, too – you’ll have to try this one next if you like chocolate 🙂
Absolutely delish! I did have to bake my 6 in pans for about 10-12 min longer than recommended, but maybe it was an oven problem. The frosting is amazing!
Hmmm it may have been an oven issue, but I’m glad you loved this regardless! One of my favorite frostings too 🙂
I am trying this recipe out for Thanksgiving this week! Quick question – did you peel the zucchini before you shred it?
Love it! And nope, no need to peel it.
I made this as a birthday cake for someone. I highly recommend it, looked amazing and tasted amazing.
Love it! So happy to hear that.
My favorite recipe from AK to date!!! This cake was SO delicious I plan on making it so many more times in the future. I definitely recommend adding both pecans + walnuts as they make for a fabulous texture!
Amazing! So happy to hear that, Sam 🙂
I am a huge fan of Monique’s recipes! I have been following her recipes for about a year now (I make something at least once a week) and I have not been disappointed yet, not an exaggeration. This cake is no exception, it is absolutely delicious! I am actually surprised that I was able to make it (I am not a cake expert). It is in my top 3 favorite desserts and I highly recommend it. While I will make this cake plenty of times between now and then, it’s definitely on my list for Thanksgiving desserts to share with our family. The subtle warm spice with the hint of orange in the frosting is gorgeous. Can’t say enough, love it!
Amazing! So happy to hear that, Elizabeth 🙂 glad you’ve been finding recipes here that you love!
This recipe looks amazing! I haven’t made it yet, but would like to. My husband is type 1 diabetic. Is there anything I can replace the maple syrup with? Or could I possibly leave it out? I was hoping to replace the powdered sugar with coconut sugar. I would appreciate your feedback. Thanks! 🙂
You can use monkfruit sweetener for the maple syrup; for the frosting—sugar is sugar so I’d probably recommend a sugar free powdered sugar!
This came out SO good!! Wow I was a little concerned it was going to come out too moist because I had just made the AK grain free zucchini bread with protein powder and I guess I didn’t get out enough of the water from the zucchini. However I did with this cake apparently because I love the texture. I didn’t have quite enough almond flour so I subbed in oat flour- no issue! Thank you:-)
Amazing! I’m so glad it worked out well. Such a great treat (and hope you get a chance to try the zucchini bread again!)
Can you make this into cupcakes? I want to be able to portion it out for easy distribution! Thanks 🙂
Absolutely! That would be fabulous.
YES! Love this cake so much! It’s so moist and have so much insanely good flavors 😍
And the frosting, OMG to die for! It reminds me of an orange dreamsicle. You won’t go wrong by choosing this recipe!
So happy you love this one! And YES to the orange dreamsicle – yum.
can I use flax egg substitutes in this recipe??? I only have 2 eggs on stock and didn’t realize.
I think that should work okay! Report back if you give it a try.
I am very impressed with the recipe for zucchini sweet potato cake. My daughter is gluten free and it has been difficult to find deserts that she can have. I am looking forward to making this one. Thank you, I like your blog and the explanations about the directions. Paula Dunn
So happy you found this one! Check out all of my gluten free desserts here 🙂
LOVED THIS! And i even changed it into muffins and added chocolate chips and powder! Hit for the whole family even the picky ones!
One of the layers to my carrot / veggie birthday cake and it was BOMB! huge hit! and the kiddos at the party did not even notice the amount of veggies they had sneaked in their cake – WIN WIN
Thank you Monique!!!
Amazing! Such a great dessert 🙂
Can sweet potato be replaced by pumpkin in this recipe? Thanks!
nutritional information ???????????
We haven’t calculated it for this recipe, sorry! Feel free to paste the ingredients into an online nutrition calculator 🙂
This looks amazing but my family too small to eat a whole cake do you think I could do this in a 8 by 8 square pan and half the recipe?
Hi, Kate! I think that should work well 🙂 Let me know if it does!
Are the 2 cups of zucchini 2 cups before squeezed or 2 cups after squeezed?
Good question, and sorry for the confusion! Measure 2 cups of zucchini before squeezing the moisture out 🙂
Absolutely love this recipe, I made it awhile ago and just found it again and really want to make it again! I am lazy and not very creatively talented enough to decorate a cake so made as cupcakes with the fabulous icing and the caramel drizzle(which is crazy simple to make) makes it so decadent and delicious!
BEST CAKE EVER! My sister made this for me a few months ago for Mother’s Day. She used flax eggs in the cake and blood orange and sugar free powdered sugar in the frosting. Have yet to find a better cake recipe! Flavorful, great texture, and insanely moist!
Oooh the blood orange is such a good idea! I’m so happy you loved it!
Wow!!! I skipped the glaze due to time. This was amazing! I doubled the recipe and made mini loafs for a bake sale! Can’t wait to hear the response. My husband loved it! The fresh orange in the frosting is divine. Worth the effort always!
I am not an expert baker. I followed the directions to the tee. Absolutely amazing! Everyone loved it & said it was literally one of the best cakes ever. This cake made me seem like I knew what it was doing:). We all loved it. So moist. The flavors were amazing. The orange cream cheese frosting was incredible. Thank you!
Perfect! I am so glad this recipe is a hit and everyone is loving it! ❤️