The Best Sweet Potato Cake is Entirely Gluten-Free

November  2, 2015

Got sweet potatoes? Then why make pie when you can have cake? And why not also ditch the all-purpose flour for something more interesting?

As it happens, a combination of rice and oat flours makes the world’s best carrot cake—really—so why shouldn’t the same combo of flours and spices make an amazing sweet potato cake?

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The question was answered when Flavor Flours co-author, Maya Klein, came up with the following encore to her already amazing carrot cake. You may never use wheat flour again for either cake agaim—I know I won’t.  

Jewel or garnet yams work well in this recipe, but there is no reason not to try it with the paler-fleshed sweet potatoes, I just haven’t gotten around to it. I might try pumpkin or squash next, or maybe parsnips. I believe in making a good recipe work as hard and produce as much pleasure as possible.  

If you're intrigued with the rice flour oat flour combination, there are plenty more recipes that use it in Flavor Flours, including a not-to-be-missed and indispensible chocolate fudge cake

Sweet Potato Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

From Flavor Flours (Artisan 2014)

Serves 12

For the cake:

1 1/4 cups flavorless vegetable oil (such as soybean, corn, or safflower)
2 cups (400 grams) sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon (240 grams) white rice flour or 2 1/3 cups (240 grams) Thai white rice flour
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 grams) oat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups (340 grams) lightly packed peeled and shredded sweet potatoes
1 cup (100 grams) coarsely chopped walnuts

For the cream cheese frosting:

8 ounces (225 grams) cream cheese
8 tablespoons (1 stick/115 grams) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups (170 grams) confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom

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  • Lyssa Paull
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My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).


Lyssa P. February 24, 2018
I have the misfortune of not being able to tolerate wheat, rice, olive oil, and I am replacing egg to see if that is a problem. Flax causes me other trouble, how about chia instead of egg? Or would applesauce work better?
Green R. November 16, 2015
Flax seed meal is a great substitute for eggs.
Helen M. November 10, 2015
I would like to try do this recipe, but replace the eggs. Since I don't know the texture of the cake, I can't tell what purpose they serve (leavening, binding, etc.) - could you tell me so that I can come up with an appropriate substitute. It looks like a moist, dense cake from the images, so the eggs may be pretty simple to replace.
Carla A. November 9, 2015
Please let me know if I am to use orange coloured, purple or white (Hawaiian) Sweet potatoes, these having purple flesh inside and are extremely dense. Each time I cook the white skinned/purple interior sweet potatoes I think how great it would be to use them in baking a cake ... here it is! Looking forward to your reply - I will make the cake this week!
andshecookstoo November 8, 2015
Could you use canned pumpkin instead of grated sweet potato?
David L. November 3, 2015
When do you add in the sweet potatoes?
Sarah J. November 3, 2015
You add them with the flour!
Margaret November 2, 2015
If I use regular flour would the amount (240 grams) be the same?
bj November 2, 2015
how about quantity for unbleached whole wheat flour also please?