Make Ahead

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

November  1, 2015
1 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 12
Author Notes

Rice and oat flours give this moist and otherwise classic American cake a surprising delicacy while letting the spices shine through. Cool the cake thoroughly and make sure the frosting is soft before assembling.

Recipe from Flavor Flours (Artisan 2014). —Alice Medrich

What You'll Need
  • 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
  • Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)
  • 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
  1. For the cake:
  2. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9- by 13-inch glass baking dish with vegetable oil spray or butter.
  3. Combine the oil, sugar, and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium speed with the paddle attachment until lighter in color, about 2 minutes. Or beat with a handheld mixer on medium-high for 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Add the rice and oat flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, sweet potatoes, and walnuts and beat on low speed until smooth. Scrape the batter into the prepared dish.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes at 350° F, then reduce the heat to 325° F and bake for 30 minutes longer, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set the pan on a rack to cool for at least 2 hours before frosting.
  6. To frost, use a spoon or drop dollops of frosting all over the cake, ten spread with a small spatula. Cut into 3-inch squares to serve.
  7. This cake keeps, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  8. Note: To make this into a layer cake, grease the sides of two 9- by 2-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Divide the batter evenly between the pans. Bake for 30 minutes at 350° F and 20 minutes at 325° F. Fill and frost the cake with 1 1/2 batches of the Cream Cheese Frosting.
  1. For the cream cheese frosting:
  2. Warm the cream cheese and butter in a microwave oven on low until soft but not melted.
  3. Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla and beat with a spoon until smooth.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Elizabeth
  • DeliriumsFrogs
  • DrTeresa
  • Marisa Moore
    Marisa Moore
  • Sarah Jampel
    Sarah Jampel
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!).

18 Reviews

Alaina November 17, 2023
Can the vegetable oil be replaced with melted butter? Also, can the rice flour have an equal substitution for all-purpose flour.
kkj June 26, 2017
Can I substitute another flour for the oat flour? I have celiac and, like some celiacs, I avoid oats as they are controversial for celiacs and, alas, some of us react to them as well. Thoughts?
JoAnne L. June 26, 2017
The website Gluten Free and More has a substitution chart. They recommend one of the following as a substitute for oat flour; amaranth, buckwheat, chickpea (a lot of people report a strange aftertaste when used in baked goods), millet, quinoa, sorghum or teff. Be sure to check with your Celiac Support before choosing one, good luck!
JoAnne L. May 18, 2017
As I'm Vegan, gluten and corn free and also allergic to walnuts, I will try this with an egg substitute and exchange pecans for the walnuts. It does sound good.
Elizabeth December 10, 2016
A nice, simple cake with a good texture- moist and a little gritty in a good way- like a cake made with polenta. The sweet potato disappeared entirely- I couldn't taste or see it. I would double the spices next time and perhaps try to reduce the sugar in the cake itself since it was distractingly sweet.
katie November 12, 2016
Can you make this with regular flour?
Regna H. October 10, 2019
DeliriumsFrogs February 24, 2016
Made this a few days ago and it was a HUGE hit in my house... My kids were actually fighting over who would get the last piece out of the fridge. haha
The spices are perfectly balanced and the crumb was exactly what I was looking for in this type of cake.
Thank you so much for such a wonderful recipe that will most definitely be added to my recipe book. :)
DrTeresa December 16, 2015
made this yesterday and it was delicious! I'm not much of a baker and usually find it too complicated, but this was simple, seasonal, tasty and gluten-free - a keeper! I used coconut palm sugar in the cake, and used dextrose blended with a pinch of cream of tartar (because I had no arrowroot or tapioca) instead of powdered sugar for the frosting. I wasn't sure how the sweet potatoes were going to cook down - was afraid there would be an unpleasant stringy texture - I was really impressed! In my experience gluten-free baked goods are often disappointingly dense or doughy or dry, this was moist and light - what makes it that way? Thanks for sharing!
Kathleen C. November 27, 2015
This was delicious! I used Bobs red mill white rice flour and used the food processor to pulse old fashioned GF oats into flour. It was so good!
Darian R. November 9, 2015
Made this today and it is light, moist and delicious. I'm wondering if these can be made as muffins. And if so, how long would l bake them and what temp?
Millie J. November 8, 2015
What brand of white rice flour do you recommend?
LesleyVivien November 8, 2015
I'm a sweet old-fashioned thing (dinosaur?) without a mixer, but I have a fine collection of ballon whisks. How long would you expect to spend on mixing if you're doing it by hand?
E H. November 8, 2015
Thanks for using weights. So much more reliable!
LesleyVivien November 8, 2015
Seconded. :)
Chris C. November 8, 2015
can pumpkin be substituted for sweet potatoes?

Chris Cutrufello
Marisa M. November 3, 2015
Hi! Looks like the sweet potatoes are missing from the directions. When should they be added?
Sarah J. November 3, 2015
Sorry for the confusion! They're added along with the flours in step 3.