Sweet Potato/Yam

You Will Never Guess What's in This Beaut of a Chocolate Cake

August 31, 2017

This article originally ran in October 2016, but as we move into the tail-end of zucchini season, we know you're itching for new ways to use up your harvest.

Tra-la-la, it's The Fall Cookbook Cake Parade: a new cake from a new cookbook every single day. Are your costumes cake pans ready?

Today: A chocolate cake with (delicious, vegetal) secrets from Better Baking.

Would you just look at this chocolate cake! The swoop! The swirl! You might just want to lie down in that frosting. Would you still want to do so if I told you it was not a buttercream, but a brilliant combination of dark chocolate and—seriously—sweet potato purée? Watch how it's made here:

Genevieve Ko, whose book Better Baking includes this recipe, doesn't believe in sneaking in vegetables. So she'd want me to tell you. She'd also want me to tell you that there's zucchini in the cake, too. For a cake that might seem secretive, it's not sneaky:

When I bring treats to my girls’ school parties, I don’t want them to be mortified by their mom’s weird food—nor do I want to turn their classmates into hyperactive rascals with empty calories. That means something that looks familiar but tastes better than the original. Enter this easy sheet cake. Zucchini keeps the cocoa–chocolate chip cake extra moist, and sweet potato swirls into a frosting as creamy as that canned stuff, with far more flavor (and no added sugar). Dark chocolate—semisweet or a lower-percentage bittersweet—makes the cake luxurious and sophisticated enough for adults. Kids may ask about the bits of green zucchini in the cake. I’m not a believer in sneaking in veggies, so I tell them. Even if they balk, they still gobble up the cake once they take a bite or hear their friends raving. Party on!

See? Not a secret. Now, go tell everyone you know.

Recipe gratefully reprinted from Better Baking.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • FrugalCat
  • Alexandra
  • Carla Lima
    Carla Lima
  • Nicole F. Scalissi
    Nicole F. Scalissi
  • Lola Bellouere
    Lola Bellouere
Writing and cooking in Brooklyn.


FrugalCat September 6, 2017
I guessed either mayonnaise or zucchini.
Alexandra September 6, 2017
Out of morbid curiosity, have your analysts noticed a tendency for your readers to skip straight to your recipe section? I can't speak for anyone else, but Food52's shift towards Buzzfeed-style clickbait titles has grated on me to the point where I don't bother reading your articles anymore.

Bring real, descriptive titles back, please.
Sue September 7, 2017
I couldn't agree more. I know it's a great free resource and needs to be sustainable for the people who run it and work there, but it's sort of a shame. Separately, I can't see the point of sweet potato frosting...
Reeshiez December 20, 2018
Yes I agree with this. I used to love the kitchn but stopped visiting their website because of their obsession with clickbait articles. I really hope that food52 doesnt move in that direction. No more clickbait please!
Carla L. October 28, 2016
Is there a substitute for the buttermilk? Thanks!
Nicole F. October 22, 2016
Would a can of pumpkin work in place of the sweet potato in the frosting?
Caroline L. October 23, 2016
i bet it would! you'll have to tell us if you try it.
Lola B. October 20, 2016
this looks delicious. I have been looking for a healthy frosting in ages thanks for the idea
Sarah J. October 21, 2016
This frosting is truly so good!