Chocolate Sweet Potato Spice Cake

Chocolate cake reminds me of my mother, who in my humble opinion, baked the best chocolate cake on earth.  It was coated in a creamy, buttery frosting that wasn’t too awfully sweet.  This cake is a single-layer, dim tribute to her shining, multi-tiered one – but it is rich, moist, and bursting with warm, complex flavors from the orange and spices.  The sweet potato replaces butter/oil and the frosting couldn’t be easier: melted chocolate chips sprinkled with chopped nuts (toasted coconut would be nice, too).

I shared this recipe on Healthy Vegan Friday over at The Veggie Nook and at Virtual Vegan Potluck 18.

Chocolate Sweet Potato Spice Cake


  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tbsp. Cafix (herbal coffee substitute)
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. cardamom
  • pinch allspice
  • 2 tsp. powdered stevia
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup roasted sweet potato
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup xylitol (or equivalent amount of sugar)
  • 1 cup walnuts, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips, divided


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly spray a 10″ springform pan with oil.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, Cafix, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, stevia and orange zest.  Set aside.
  3. In a food processor, combine the non-dairy milk, orange juice, sweet potato, vanilla extract, applesauce, and xylitol. Process until smooth.  Pour mixture into dry ingredients and stir until well-combined.  Stir in 1/2 cup of the walnuts and 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Put the pan on a cooling rack and sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of chocolate chips over the top of the hot cake.  Let sit for a few minutes to melt and then spread the chocolate evenly over the cake.  Sprinkle on the walnuts and gently press them into the melted chocolate.  After about 15 minutes, remove the outer ring of the pan and let the cake cool completely before slicing.

Slice of Chocolate Sweet Potato Spice Cake

51 thoughts on “Chocolate Sweet Potato Spice Cake

  1. biggsis

    This sounds so good Annie! Have you attempted a cake with a GF flour? I have some Bob’s Red Mill which is predominantly fava bean flour…. and I simply have to make this cake, but would love my husband to be able to eat some as well. Just wondered if you think a GF would be able to replace WW pastry?

  2. narf77

    I could have done with a large wedge of this gorgeousness yesterday. We spent 5 hours finishing off a HUGE fully enclosed veggie garden and a slab of heaven like this would have given me back a bit of energy. Pinning it right now so that any other penniless student hippies in need of something gorgeous in their lives can home in on it with impunity :)

  3. Angela @ Canned Time

    Oh yea, and you just had an awful time eating that piece after the pics, didn’t you?
    My Mom’s specialty was German Chocolate cake but I prefer to spice the cake, like your’s, and have my icing too ;) Looks awfully good to me!

  4. coconutandberries

    Chocolate cake was never really my thing. I’m more of a vanilla girl. But this cake looks so much better than the chocolate cakes I’ve had- I bet the orange juice, sweet potato, spices and nuts make for a lovely complex flavour.

  5. Becky

    Aw, I think your cake looks lovely! My Nani Dorothy used to make a great chocolate cake, and I wish I knew where the recipe was now. I do remember that her secret ingredient was mayonnaise, which disgusted me as a kid but didn’t stop me from asking for seconds.

  6. Nikki Spigner

    Gorgeous! I’ve been looking at a few things which put chocolate and pumpkin together. I think this is the one!

      1. thehippiegypsy

        Great! I make pumpkin chocolate cherry cupcakes a lot and this made me think of doing a whole one in a more Mexican chocolate cake style with cinnamon and maybe a dash of chile with cherry juice instead of the whole cherries I put in the cupcake center. I will send you a link when I make it! Thanks!

  7. Sophie33

    Yesterday, I made this divine sweet potato spice cake & used coconut sugar instead of what you used. It was divine!
    I had my parents over for dinner & we ate this as a nice & lovely special dessert & we all loved it immensely, dear Anne! xxx :)

    1. An Unrefined Vegan

      Absolutely – it’s got a little hint of cinnamon to it – and if you have chocolate lovers in the house, they’ll be very happy. But I’ve got a recipe coming up on the 21st which would make a really good Thanksgiving Day dessert :-) – also with sweet potato.

  8. Vildan Ayvalik

    Looks sooooooooo delicious. I was wondering how much of coconut sugar I can use instead and what if I also skip the Cafix. Can I use instant coffee? Thanks much in advance!!!

    1. An Unrefined Vegan

      Thank you :-)! Instant coffee should work just fine and as for the coconut sugar, I’d use the same amount as the xylitol – I believe the sweetness is about the same. You might want to taste the batter to make sure.

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