Incredible Chocolate Sweet Potato Cake

  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes one 9-inch round cake
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You’d never guess that orange sweet potatoes are the secret ingredient behind this lusciously moist vegan chocolate cake. The tasty tubers lend their creamy texture and subtle sweetness to both the cake and the frosting to create an undeniably delicious dessert sans dairy. Nut butter makes the decadent frosting extra smooth while the batter delivers a one-two punch of chocolate goodness thanks to both cocoa powder and vegan chocolate chips, which get tantalizingly gooey as it bakes. This sweet potato cake would be great topped with fresh berries, edible flowers, or a light dusting of powdered sugar—with or without the frosting. So what are you waiting for? Get out a fork and satisfy your sweet tooth!

Tip: Orange sweet potato is ideal for this cake because it is a little sweeter and looser than yellow sweet potato. It’s best to use a blender or food processor (versus a stand mixer) to ensure the sweet potato in the batter and frosting become deliciously smooth.

Adapted from

For more chocolate vegan desserts, check out these tasty ideas:

By Dreena Burton,



  • 1 cup peeled, cooked, and cooled orange sweet potato (see tip in intro)
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup cashew butter or almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons plant-based milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt


  • ¾ cup peeled, cooked, and cooled orange sweet potato
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole grain spelt flour
  • ⅓ cup coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup miniature or regular nondairy chocolate chips
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon regular or sodium-free baking powder
  • 1 scant teaspoon baking soda


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch round or 8-inch square silicone or other nonstick cake pan with parchment paper.
  • For frosting, in a blender or food processor combine sweet potato, coconut sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, cashew butter or almond butter, plant-based milk, vanilla extract, and sea salt. Cover and blend until very smooth, scraping sides as needed. If necessary, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of milk and 1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar to make desired consistency and sweetness. Cover and chill until ready to use.
  • For cake, in a blender combine sweet potato, maple syrup, vinegar, vanilla, and ½ cup water; cover and blend until completely smooth.
  • In a large bowl stir together flour, coconut sugar, chocolate chips, and salt. Sift in cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda. Add sweet potato mixture to flour mixture. Use 1 tablespoon water to rinse blender to remove any remaining puree and add to flour mixture. Mix just until well incorporated. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
  • Bake 21 to 23 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Remove cake from pan and top with frosting.

Comments (80)

(5 from 29 votes)

Recipe Rating

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I made this today for Father’s Day and oh my gosh…it is sooo good!! Nobody could tell it was a plant based recipe. Thank you!


This cake is truly incredible. I swap the nut butter for pb2 and a little extra plant milk to make it less fat.

Holly U

I did a chocolate cake comparison bake off with other WFPB chocolate cakes. This one was the winner for both ominivore family & friends. That being said, this cake does take advanced preparation, like if u haven’t batch cooked & cooked the sweet potato. The runner up & quick prep chocolate cake was Jane & Ann Esselstyn’s chocolate cake & tofu icing from their book Be A Plant Based Woman Warrior. I make both these chocolate cakes depending on the time I have to make them. Hope this review helps :)


Is it supposed to be fully cooked inside after 23 minutes? I used a toothpick in the center and it came out gooey so I baked it an extra 10 minutes.

Janet Gadd

Su-b for peanut/nut ingredients? Severe allergies.

Lisa, Forks Over Knives Support

Hi Janet! You could try using sunflower seed butter in place of the cashew butter, though we haven't tested this. Or you could simply leave off the frosting and serve as is or topped with fresh berries.


Hi I’d like to try this recipe but am trying to avoid processed sweeteners—can I substitute dates for the sugar and syrup? Approximately how much?

Lisa, Forks Over Knives Support

Hi Natalie! Thanks for your interest in this recipe. Dates might work well here as a substitute, but as we haven't tested it it's hard to say how much, and because you're trying to substitute two ingredients, it gets tricky! Have you tried the Outrageously Healthy Brownies? They are made with oats, black beans, cocoa powder, and date syrup, and are delicious!

Lola Lee Duke

I don't want to use coconut sugar or white sugar. Can I use extra maple syrup, and if so, how much?

Lisa, Forks Over Knives Support

Hi Lola Lee. The frosting is likely to be a simple enough substitution, perhaps just drop back some of the liquid. (You could also serve the cake without the frosting) As for the cake itself, getting the right combination of dry and wet ingredients so a cake will rise and taste yummy is a bit more of a science. Have you tried this brownie recipe, which uses date syrup to sweeten: These raspberry brownies use maple syrup Happy baking!


This recipe turned out to be faster and easier than my usual go-to dairy/processed chocolate cake. I made a double batch for a 2 layer 6 inch round and had nice thick layers and way more frosting than I needed. I used roasted almond butter for the frosting which overpowered the flavor a bit so I think I'll try cashew butter next time. The frosting is super forgiving though and SO easy to get smooth on the cake. Overall a winner!


Delicious cake even without the frosting…that’s too much sugar for me. It’s moist, not dry. I just made it a second time but substituted mashed banana for the sweet potato. I haven’t tasted it yet but it smells great!


Delicious! I put everything in blender without separating dry from wet for bot cake and frosting, omitted choc chips and instead of balsamic vinegar used apple cider vinegar. I didn't have more than a spoon of almond butter for frosting but I added more almond milk. All these alterations and it was still the best vegan cake ever!


Wowzers! This is amazing and quite decadent! I opted for purple sweet potatoes cooked in the instant pot. Turned out perfectly moist. Lots of leftover frosting, which is great coz I'm gonna put it on all the things! I will say, I find the order in which the chocolate chips are added to the mix felt off. They were honestly just in the way and I had to work harder to mix the dry ingredients together. Gonna move them later down the line next time. And oh yes, there will be a next time.

Lori L.

This recipe is divine! I am making it again tomorrow for family to see their reaction. I used oat flour & peanut butter in the cake as it was what I had. I omitted the choc chips. I also used dates in lieu of the coconut sugar in the frosting. It turned out delicious. The frosting is thick, rich and creamy; oh so good. Thank you for the lovely recipe!

Lisa Cox

This cake and frosting combo is amazing. I agree with whoever below said the cake is good, but the frosting is great. You could serve it to anyone and not tell them it’s plant based and they would never know. I followed the recipe exactly, and it turned out really good. Clearly this is not an every day thing, but it’s great for a special occasion.

Deborah Weisblatt

Can this cake/frosting be frozen?


What’s the best way to prepare the sweet potatoes? I always roast them for eating but wonder if that loses the moisture? Thanks!

Lisa, Forks Over Knives Support

Hi Julia, I think your instincts on this are correct. I'd be inclined to boil or steam the sweet potato, resulting in a more moist preparation. I noticed another reviewer roasted the veggies and ended up with an overly dense cake. If you decide to try this, let us know how it goes!

Bonnie Jean

Can you use all purpose white or wheat flour? Or bread flour?

Lisa, Forks Over Knives Support

Hi Bonnie, While we haven't tested this, we think this would be a good substitution. Let us know if you decide to try it!


Hi Dreena! Questions please, would I be able to substitute date sugar for the coconut sugar, date syrup for maple syrup, and grounded organic oats for the whole grain spelt flower. Thank you and I hope to hear from from you. Jamila

Pam Christen

I tried to make the frosting in the smoothie canister of my Ninja blender. Works much better just using the bigger canister. Love the frosting in this cake recipe. The cake was good but the frosting is great! I followed the recipe as printed.

Elizabeth E

Excellent flavour. Not too sweet, beautiful brownie-like texture. I served mine without the icing and we all loved it, but the icing would be nice if you were serving this for a special occasion (birthday) and wanted a little extra-special touch.


Can you substitute purple sweet potatoes?

Lisa, Forks Over Knives Support

Hi Lorrie, We think purple sweet potatoes should work just fine. If you decide to try them, let us know how it goes! Thanks, Lisa Forks Over Knives Support

Stacey M

This is SO good and moist and tasty! I love it. My son loved it. He had no idea he was eating sweet potatoes 😂. Very good! I made it exactly as recipe is only I used stone ground whole wheat flour as the store I was at didn’t have the spelt flour. Turned out wonderful!


Wow! Made it for our New Year’s Eve dessert. My husband isn’t plant based and couldn’t believe how good it was. Very moist and delicious. Had to add a little more water to thin out the frosting a tad but other than that, the recipe was spot on. Will definitely make it again.

Andrea E

I used BRM gluten-free flour and some almond flour. "Cake" was very dense; more like a brownie. The frosting saved it (and followed the tip about Chef AJ - kept icing simpler).


Can you sub pumpkin for the sweet potato? Thanks!


What can substitute for the cashew or almond butter? I have peanut butter and raw tahini at home; can I use one of these?


Delicious. But very very rich. I used whole wheat pastry flour, doubled the recipe and baked in 3 inch ramekins and a tray of 2 x4 inch rectangular cakes. Also used expresso powder in the icing. Mine were about 3 inches high so cut in half and iced, to serve as halves not as layers because so rich. Baked for about 35 minutes. I think I wouldn't use chocolate chips or would use more. And I might add nuts.

Linda Maran

How long can I keep this cake out? I let it cool about 3 hours, then put it in the fridge. Not sure if this can be left out overnight due to the sweet potatoes. Thanks.

Linda Maran

Can I use half carob powder and half cocoa powder? Caffeine really affects me negatively.


The cake was great. The icing tasted just a little weird. I didn't love it but the cake I'd definitely make again. I subbed 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour for the spelt flour and it came out just fine.


I didn’t see the 1/2 cup of water in the instructions because I was adding the ingredients from the list, so my cake came out dry and crumbly. Please add the water to the ingredients list! The frosting was very good though.


What can I sub for spelt flour? I’m gluten free


Delicious, but it's the most chewy cake I've ever eaten. The batter was very thick and sticky. (yes, I added the 1/2 c water) I'm guessing that it makes a difference how the sweet potatoes are cooked. If they were boiled or steamed, they would have more moisture; mine were baked. The frosting is awesome!


For the icing, Chef AJ would just use the sweet potato, vanilla bean powder, and date paste.


These 51 sweet potato recipes are brought to us as free from processed ingredients. I find that rather misleading as I don't consider cocoa, vanilla extract, maple syrup, spelt foour and coconut sugar UNPROCESSED foods. I can also wonder how healthy this dessert truly is.

Marcey Siegel

Looks good. I see someone made it with GF flour and it worked. I need GF as well as Whole Food Plant Based, oil free. In general, I do wish that ForksoverKnives would have a GF option listed in all of their recipes. I'm finding this problem in the Forks over Knives magazine recipes and it is frustrating to purchase the magazine and then find so many recipes without a GF option or direction.


EPIC CAKE! This is not only delicious but far better than any regular cake recipes with butter, eggs, oil. My kids inhaled this amazing cake. This is a 10 star out of 5 winner!


I have had success with Brown Rice or Oat flours as substitutes. I usually use 1/2 the amount Brown Rice and 1/2 Oat flour. You may need to add more liquid.


Hi. Do you need to use a blender to mix?


I used a food processor and it turned out beautifully. I only have a Vitamix, and felt that processing it in that would be overkill and potentially make it soupy. The food processor was definitely the best choice for me.


Great recipe - I had to bake it for 35 min, but I used a smaller pan to get a thicker cake layer. The frosting was too liquid so I used almond flour to thicken it, worked beautifully.


I made this recipe and it was delicious! One commentor said, they didn’t make the frosting because the cake by itself was fabulous and I agree. The only thing I did different was I purchased an organic can of sweet potato purée, and it worked very well. The next day, I still had a portion of the canned sweet potato, so I went ahead and made the frosting and ate it by itself, and it was heavenly as well!


So good! I subbed millet flour for spelt and it worked great. This is now my go-to birthday cake recipe. Yum!!


Wow this cake is delicious I’ve made it twice and it’s a hit with my husband and friends.


Amazing! Perfect for a crazy PMS craving for chocolate. It’s my Grandmother’s in law heavenly birthday too so a good day for cake.

Juliette Jacques

This is the best cake I’ve ever tasted! Love the sweet potato moisture- consistency of brownies- -baked it in cupcake pan 2nd time around. Easy to find ingredients at Whole Foods . Really chocolate-y not too seeet!


I've made this cake multiple times. Definitely a favorite. I've done it in silicone cupcake liners as well. Worked great. I just double the recipe to make it a layer cake. For Christmas, I added some peppermint essential oil to the frosting and crushed a few little candy canes to sprinkle on the top.


I baked it 22 minutes but the inside is still completely raw and runny!


I recommend only using cooking times in recipes as guidelines - all ovens are slightly different, and sometimes variations in batter depth can make big differences. When I made this I ended up baking it for nearly 50 minutes before it reached "doneness" via the toothpick test.


Would you be able to supply the nutritional breakdown? I made this today using regular flour and granulated sugar. It is super moist and delicious.


Can I sub date sugar for coconut sugar?

Courtney Davison

Hi JCB, yes, you can substitute date sugar for the coconut sugar. Thank you, Courtney Editor, Forks Over Knives


Could I sub date paste for the coconut sugar??

Courtney Davison

Hi LouAnn, In general, it’s always good to substitute dry sweetener for dry sweetener. Date sugar would probably make a better substitute here than date paste, since date paste would add moisture. If you do try using date paste, please let us know how it goes! Thank you, Courtney Editor, Forks Over Knives

Hera Lauritsen

This cake is AMAZING!!! So moist and delicious!


Great texture, but has an odd taste. Not quite sweet enough for me. I had to add way more liquid to the frosting to get it to blend.


The cake is moist and somewhat heavy. It has a nice chocolatey flavor. Next time I may add a little cinnamon and a few grains of cayenne. The frosting was somewhat disappointing. I used almond butter and almond milk. The consistency was glossy and thick, but the taste was off-putting. Perhaps the combo of almond and sweet potato? At any rate, I will not use the frosting, and will enjoy the cake with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and raspberries.


1/2 cup of water. Not mentioned in the ingredients list.

Ella ODonnell

I used walnut butter and chocolate almond malk for the frosting…it is delicious!


This cake is incredible. I used Robin Hood gluten free flour, and lowered the sugar a tiny bit in the cake and frosting by a tablespoon each. Delicious. I skipped the 2 tblsp of almond milk in the frosting, and it turned out like ganache in the food processor. The frosting alone would make a great pudding dessert for two. Sooo good. Really rich and luxurious cake. Don’t overmix the cake batter not to get rid of the air in the sifted flour.


Is there a diabetic version of this recipe? Suggestions? Thanks

Gladys Caddy

Can whole wheat pastry flour be used instead of spelt flour? Also is there any liquid in the making of the cake? Thank you.

Courtney Davison

Hi Gladys, We checked with Dreena Burton, the chef behind this recipe, for her advice on substituting whole wheat pastry flour for spelt. She says that her general substitution for spelt to whole wheat pastry is to use slightly less. So for a 1 cup measure of spelt, she'd use 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour minus about 1 to 1.5 Tbsp. A scant 1 cup measure also works. Regarding whether there's liquid in the recipe, the cooked sweet potato, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar provide enough moisture. Hope this is helpful. Thank you, Courtney Davison Editor, Forks Over Knives


There is water in the recipe .5 cup in the instructions but was left off of the ingredient list

Lisl Bove

This recipe is delicious! Very moist. Almost like a brownie. I have already made it twice!


Os it possible to use butternut instead of sweet potato?


This was too good! I subbed Japanese sweet potatoes because I already had some baked & ready to go. The directions have 1/2 cup of water for the batter, but it's not listed in the ingredients. Just FYI. Will definitely make again & again.


I will add. I didn't have the flour so used regular flour. But not eating GF.


Made the cake as cupcakes. It doesn't need frosting. Very good.

Sheri Huff

How long did you bake the cupcakes? Regular or mini size?


I made this as it was written. An absolutely gorgeous chocolate cake that everyone loved! I grated dark chocolate over the top so it looked even fancier. Definitely a make again, I think I will have fun and experiment with throwing a shot of espresso in the batter and/or some cinnamon or even better, cayenne in the icing. What a brilliant dessert, thank-you!

Silvia ferro

Is there a gluten free flour you’d recommend instead of spelt flour?


I was going to ask the same thing. Yes, a GF flour needed please.

Megan Edwards

Hi Silvia, We recommend Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour. While it's not perfectly whole grain, it's pretty close, and will give you a nice texture. Let us know how it goes!


Used a scant cup of rice flour iso spelt flour and doubled the amount of water to rinse the blender in step 4 - turned out just perfect!! Thx for this great recipe for a fluffy chocolate cake!!!

About the Author

Headshot of Dreena Burton

About the Author

Dreena Burton

Dreena Burton has written six cookbooks charting her journey as a plant-powered cook and at-home mother of three. Always passionate about creating nutritious recipes, she is an advocate of using the “vegan basics” (beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables) to create dishes that are healthy but also very satisfying and delicious! For more on her plant-powered recipes and newest cookbook, Dreena’s Kind Kitchen: 100+ Whole-Foods Vegan Recipes to Enjoy Every Day, visit, and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
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