This simple vegan sweet potato cake is perfect for a special occasion, spiced with cinnamon, fennel, pumpkin pie spice, and ground ginger. Drizzled with golden syrup sauce & aromatic flaked almonds.
Disclosure: This recipe post is part of a paid collaboration with Lyle's.
Why I LOVE This Cake
If you’ve never had a sweet potato cake, then get ready to have your mind blown.
This is why I love it:
- Easy to customise: Can be made as a loaf cake, round cake, muffins, cupcakes, or bundt cake*. Plus, you can swap out some of the ingredients (more about that below).
- The wonderful flavour: You won’t be able to taste the sweet potato much, but it’s absolutely PACKED with flavour thanks to my PERFECT combination of spices.
- Step-by-step photos: I know baking cakes can be intimidating so I prepared a step-by-step guide including photos, & expert tips.
*Tip: If you’re a beginner or want the simplest version of this recipe I recommend baking it in a loaf tin. This way it takes less time and the batter is easier to mix.
Both US Cups and grams measurements are available in the recipe card below.
Simply choose either US or Metric under the ingredients list.
Here’s what you’ll need to make your delicious sweet potato cake.
All-purpose/plain flour: do not use strong bread flour.
Almond milk: can be swapped for other plant milk like soy or oat. Avoid coconut milk due to its strong flavour.
Spices: I used cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice (mixed spice in the UK), ground ginner, and fennel.
Golden syrup: I used the brilliant Lyle’s Golden Syrup which you can find in many of my recipes. It adds so much depth of flavour to the glaze, balancing out the subtly sweet cake.
If golden syrup not available in your location, replace it with maple syrup, agave nectar, or a different liquid sweetener.
Making the Puree
This recipe works with both canned or homemade puree.
If you can’t get your hands on the canned stuff, here’s how you can make it yourself. It’s super quick and easy!
- Peel and cut sweet potato into small chunks.
- Add to a large pan and cover with boiling hot water. Let boil for about 15 minutes (until soft).
- Remove the water and blend with a hand mixer until smooth.
Then simply leave it on a cold surface (not a hot stove) without a lid to let it cool. Told you it was so simple!
No blender? You can mash the puree using a potato masher or a fork. However, for best results, I strongly recommend blending it.
Here’s a quick visual overview! Don’t forget to watch the video if you get stuck.
Detailed instructions & exact ingredients are waiting for you at the bottom of this post.
- Combine all your dry ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, combine all your wet ingredients plus sugar.
- Combine your wet and dry mixtures.
- Bake at 160°C/320°F (fan oven setting) for 1 hour 45 minutes.
- In the meantime, make your glaze.
- Remove cake from the oven. Add the glaze and decorate with toasted almonds
Tip: If you’re using a bundt tin, make sure to grease it very well with plenty of (vegan) butter. Use your fingers to spread the butter well, covering every single bit of the surface. Then add a small handful of flour and shake it around the tin. This is a good tutorial.
My Best Tips
- Weigh The Ingredients
While I do provide measurements in cups for all my American readers, I do recommend measuring everything out with kitchen scales.
Virtually all baking experts agree that weighing out your ingredients is by far the best way to bake. It’s far more accurate than cups and will bring the most consistent results.
Cups vary in size between different countries and brands. For example, 1 cup of flour can be quite significantly smaller or larger depending on the product you’re using.
Grams never change so you’ll never have to worry you’ve measured it wrong. Easy, peasy!
I also find it removes the guesswork - if you weigh the ingredients correctly, you’ll be absolutely certain the amount you’re adding is the same as stated in the recipe. This might not be the case with cups. !
- Do Not Overmix
It’s really important you don’t overmix the cake batter.
The more you mix, the more gluten will start to develop in the batter. In turn, you will be left with something that resembles bread dough, rather than cake dough.
If you’ve ever made bread, you’ll know it needs a lot of kneading. Well, a cake is exactly the opposite - the less mixing, the better!
We want our cakes light, airy & fluffy. This is why it’s crucial to mix it just enough, but not too much.
Extra tip: If you notice the top of your cake is starting to brown too quickly, simply remove it from the oven and cover it with a layer of aluminum foil. Then return to the oven & continue baking.
FAQ + Troubleshooting
This usually happens if you’ve added too much puree or liquids. It could also be that you’ve overmixed the batter.
The most common reason is underbaking.
If you’re baking it as a bundt cake, this is particularly common as it takes very long to bake.
It’s crucial that you test the cake before turning off the oven (see how below).
Use a long toothpick or a very thin knife.
Insert it into the cake, making sure it goes all the way to the bottom.
When you remove the toothpick/knife it should come out clean or with just a few crumbs here and there.
Storing & Freezing
To store - Place the individual slices in an airtight container. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
To freeze - Again, place the slices in an airtight container.
Freeze for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to serve it, simply remove it the night before and let it thaw at room temperature.
Alternatively, you can use your microwave’s defrost function (it’s a pretty standard function and only takes a couple of minutes to defrost a slice).
You might think this cake looks super fancy, but it’s actually SO easy to decorate.
I made a simple syrup glaze and drizzled it all over the edges.
Then I toasted a handful of shaved almonds in a dry pan for about 2 minutes. I let them cool down slightly and sprinkled them on top of the cake.
The aroma this brings is unbelievable!
Loaf Cake or Cupcakes
To make things quicker & slightly easier you could bake the batter in a loaf or cupcakes tin.
Loaf tin - simply divide the ingredients by 3. Or reduce the number of servings in the recipe card to 4 instead of 12 and the measurements will automatically adjust.
Then remember to adjust the baking time too - the smaller the cake, the shorter the baking time. I baked the loaf cake for 45 minutes at 160°C/320°F.
Cupcakes - This recipe will make roughly 12 muffins/cupcakes. Feel free to adjust the servings. The exact number will depend on the size of your tin.
These take about 20 minutes to bake. Always perform the toothpick test as every oven varies slightly.
Vegan Sweet Potato Cake
- Loaf/bundt/cupcake tin
- Measuring cups or kitchen scales
- ¾ cups (200 g) sweet potato puree
- 2 cups (450 ml) almond milk or other plant milk
- 4.5 teaspoon orange juice
- ⅔ cup (170 ml) olive oil or other oil
- 2 tablespoon (1.5 tbsp ) vanilla extract
- 1⅓ cups (270 g) granulated sugar
- 4¾ cups (600 g) all-purpose flour
- 4.5 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 3 teaspoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1.5 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice or mixed spice
- 1.5 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoon fennel cut into very small pieces
- 1 cup (230 ml) golden syrup
- 2 tablespoon orange juice
- 2 tablespoon water
- ½ tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or other spice of your choice (cinnamon, ginger, etc)
- 1 teaspoon dairy-free butter optional
Greasing the pan
- dairy-free butter & flour
- To a large bowl, add sweet potato puree, almond milk, orange juice, oil, vanilla & sugar. Mix well.
- In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, salt, and all the spices (pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, ground ginger, fennel).
- Combine your wet and dry mixtures. Scatter the dry mixture on top of your wet mixture. Stir until just combined (do not overmix).
- If you’re using a bundt tin, grease it very well with plenty of butter. Use your fingers to spread the butter well, covering every single bit of the surface.
- If you're using a loaf tin, line it with a sheet of baking paper.
- Pour the batter into the pan.
- Bake at 160°C/320°F (fan oven setting) for 1 hour 25 minutes (or 45 minutes if you're making a loaf cake).
- In the meantime, make your glaze (instructions below).
- When it's baked remove the cake from the oven and let cool.
- Then add the glaze and decorate with toasted almonds.
- Add golden syrup, water and orange juice to a small saucepan.
- Bring to simmer, then add in cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoon of water. This will help thicken the glaze.
- Add in pumpkin pie spice (or other spices of your choice).
- Simmer until it reaches a thick consistency (see photos/video for reference).
- Once it's thickened and it's still hot, add butter. Stir until dissolved.
Tip 4: If you notice the top of your cake is browning too quickly, cover it with a layer of aluminum foil and continue baking. To store - Place the individual slices in an airtight container. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days. To freeze - Freeze individual slices in the airtight container for up to 2 months.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information above is calculated automatically. The author of this post cannot guarantee 100% accuracy of this data.