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Healthy Sweet Potato Chocolate Cake

Healthy Sweet Potato Chocolate Cake made grain-free, refined sugar-free and dairy-free using wholesome ingredients. This moist, fluffy chocolate cake recipe is the perfect treat for the chocoholic and you’d never guess it’s entirely flourless!

Sweet potato chocolate cake on a wood plate with a plate of chocolate cake in the background.

Anyone up for a delicious chocolate cake that is secretly made with good-for-you ingredients?

Tell me I’m not the only one!

I modeled this grain-free sweet potato chocolate recipe off of my Healthy Sweet Potato Brownies recipe. 

With a few minimal tweaks, we end up with a light and fluffy texture as opposed to the classic fudge brownie texture.

While I’m obsessed with the original brownie version, the cake version has stolen my heart as well. 

Like so many things in life, which version you choose comes down to the desired mouthfeel you’re going for 😉

I’m able to control myself around the majority of sweet treats, but when it came down to this luscious rich chocolate cake, I was stripped of all my defenses.

Suffice it to say, three pieces went down the hatch immediately following photographs. So fair warning: this is one of those addictive treats!

And the best part?

This healthier one-bowl chocolate cake recipe is easy to prepare and requires no baking experience whatsoever. No stand mixer or challenging techniques involved. Simply mix up the batter, bake, and you’re in for a ride of chocolate decadence!

You can find all of the ingredients at any grocery store and you likely have many of them on hand already.

Why This Recipe Works:

The combination of sweet potato and almond butter replaces flour and oil or butter. It sounds too spectacular to be true, but when combined with regular eggs and some pure maple syrup, we’re left with a tender crumb texture that closely mimics regular chocolate cake.

This rich explosion of chocolate is loved by all who try it! When quizzed about the ingredients, no one is ever able to guess that the cake is made without flour, butter, or regular sugar. 

Healthy enough to enjoy as a daily treat yet indulgent enough to serve guests, I view this sweet potato chocolate cake recipe a total win due to its deliciousness and versatility.

The sweet potato can be cooked up to 5 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it, so feel free to exercise this step to break the prep into segments.

Individual slices of chocolate cake on a sheet of parchment paper.

Let’s discuss the ingredients in detail because they all serve an important role.

Ingredients for Healthy Sweet Potato Chocolate Cake:

Sweet Potato: The true star of the show here is nutritious sweet potato! It wears many hats as a crucial ingredient, as it adds volume, moisture, and natural sweetness to the cake.

This in turn replaces some of the sweetener and reduces the need for a liquid, like milk or oil. You can cook the sweet potato days in advance if you’d like.

Sweet potato puree is what brings this gluten-free cake to life! We need one cup of sweet potato flesh, with equates to about one medium sweet potato. Be sure to measure out the pureed sweet potato for the best results.

Unsweetened Creamy Almond Butter: Used as the fat portion of the recipe, unsweetened creamy almond butter brings all the richness so that the cake features a moist crumb and decadent flavor.

You won’t taste the almond butter flavor; however, if you use peanut butter as a substitution you will likely be able to taste the flavor because it is more noticeable. 

I don’t recommend using cashew butter as a replacement for almond butter because I have yet to find a cashew butter that has a similar consistency to almond butter or peanut butter.

Eggs: Regular chicken eggs are an important ingredient in this delicious gluten-free chocolate cake recipe because they bring the light and airy texture. 

I haven’t tested an egg replacer like flax eggs yet, but my suspicion is that the cake would turn out fairly dense. The best option would be to use a powdered egg replacer that contains leavening agents and emulsifiers to help bring some fluff.

For a vegan option, I would sooner point you to a different vegan chocolate cake recipe to be sure you’re getting the result you’re looking for.

Pure Maple Syrup: The sweetener! I love using pure maple syrup as an unrefined sweetener in my baked goods.

Coconut nectar and agave syrup work as a 1:1 replacement for pure maple syrup. I don’t recommend honey unless you’ve tried it in baked goods in the past and enjoy the flavor. 

If you want to replace it with a granulated sweetener like coconut sugar, cane sugar, or brown sugar, you will need to offset the loss of liquid by adding oil, milk (or non-dairy or plant-based milk), or more sweet potato. 

Vanilla Extract: A splash of pure vanilla extract adds warm flavor to this delicious sweet potato cake recipe.

Cocoa Powder: The chocolate portion of the recipe. Use your favorite brand of unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao powder.

I use raw cacao powder because it has a creamier, less bitter flavor, which I prefer. This dark chocolate flavor is what sends our taste buds reeling. 

Baking Soda and Vinegar: Baking soda is used as the leavening agent here and we add apple cider vinegar to cause the appropriate chemical reaction. Use rice vinegar, lemon juice or lime juice instead of cider vinegar if you prefer.

Ground Cinnamon and Sea Salt: While cinnamon is entirely optional, a bit of cinnamon adds a subtle nuance that I find delightful in baked goods. The sea salt enhances all of the flavors and gives the cake rich, robust flavor. Don’t skip it!

If you’d like, you can add up to 1 cup of semisweet or dark chocolate chips to the chocolate cake for a double chocolate fudgy effect.

Optional Frosting:

For the optional ganache that I use as frosting, you need chocolate chips (pick something that you know reliably melts well. I stick with semisweet chocolate chips), full-fat canned coconut milk, and a tablespoon of coconut oil or butter.

White plate with a slice of sweet potato chocolate cake on top with hunks of chocolate cake in the background.

Now that we’ve covered the basic ingredients, let’s bake this delicious healthy sweet potato chocolate cake recipe!

How to Make Sweet Potato Chocolate Cake:

Begin by cooking the potato. You can either steam, roast, boil, or microwave the sweet potato according to your favorite cooking method.

I wrap mine in a wet paper towel, stick it on a plate, and microwave it for 5 minutes per side, until the potato is very soft, about 10 to 15 minutes total microwave time.

You can also chop the sweet potato and boil it for 10 to 15 minutes, or roast it for 60 to 75 minutes wrapped in foil in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once your sweet potato is fully cooked and very soft on the inside, allow it to cool completely. This step is important, because it will make the potato easier to peel and it will ensure the potato isn’t too hot to cause the eggs to cook in the cake batter.

Remove the sweet potato skin and discard. Mash the sweet potato until it is nice and creamy and measure out one cup of mashed sweet potato.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a 9-inch square baking pan or cake pan with parchment paper. If you have a spring form pan, feel free to use it, but a regular baking dish will do. 

Transfer the mashed sweet potato to a large bowl along with the almond butter, eggs, pure maple syrup, vanilla extract, and vinegar. Mix the wet ingredients until a thick sticky substance forms.

Wet ingredients for sweet potato chocolate cake in a red mixing bowl, ready to be mixed up.

Note: If your almond butter has been chilling in the refrigerator or has been kept in a cool place, microwave it for 20 to 30 seconds, or until it is soft and easy to mix.

Add the cocoa powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, and sea salt (dry ingredients) to the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix well until a thick cake batter forms. If you’d like to add chocolate chips for added chocolate goodness, you can do so now (use up to 1 cup).

Wet ingredients and dry ingredients for sweet potato cake in a mixing bowl.
Chocolate cake batter in a mixing bowl.

Transfer the cake batter to the prepared baking pan and spread it into an even layer.

Chocolate cake batter in an 8-inch square cake pan, ready to bake.

Note: if you’d like to prepare the chocolate cake batter in a food processor or blender rather than using a mixing bowl, feel free to do so! Simply add all of the ingredients to your blender or food processor and blend until the mixture is well-combined.

Bake on the center rack of the preheated oven for 23 to 28 minutes, or until the cake tests clean.

Finished sweet potato chocolate cake in a cake pan fresh out of the oven.

Prepare the Ganache:

If you’re making the optional ganache topping to use as frosting, you can prepare it a few minutes before the cake has finished baking.

Add the chocolate chips, full-fat coconut milk, and coconut oil (or butter) to a mixing bowl and microwave for 20-second intervals, stirring well in between each interval, until the mixture has fully melted (about 60 seconds total). 

Chocolate ganache in a mixing bowl.

I recommend making the ganache while the cake is still hot and spreading it on the cake while it is still warm. This is contrary to other types of frosting like buttercream frosting or regular chocolate frosting, which you will want to spread on the cake while it is room temperature or colder.

Pour the warm ganache over the cake and spread it evenly.

Pouring ganache over chocolate cake to use as chocolate frosting.

Allow the cake to cool to room temperature before slicing and serving. To help the ganache set up and to cool the cake quicker, I recommend transferring it to the refrigerator to chill.

Sweet potato chocolate cake with ganache spread on top.

Store the chocolate cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can freeze cake in a freezer bag or zip lock bag for up to 3 months.

This healthy chocolate cake recipe is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth without the need for processed ingredients. 

Chocolate Frosting Options:

Make my Dairy-Free Chocolate Ganache recipe as I do in this post, or you can whip up my Keto Chocolate Buttercream, which is sugar-free.

You can also use your favorite store-bought or homemade frosting recipe to spread over the cake. I have seen recipes on the internet with sweet potato frosting, which I personally find to be silly but I’m betting they are delicious nonetheless. 

Even a drizzle of melted chocolate would work so nicely on this yummy cake.

There’s no need for a luscious frosting because the cake itself is so tasty. If you like cake as is without frosting on top, serve it plain!

Ask your friends and family if they can guess the ingredients! I’m willing to bet most of them will assume it is made with regular all-purpose flour, white sugar, and oil or butter.

Slice of chocolate cake on a plate with a gold fork about to take a bite.

If you’re looking for a gluten-free classic chocolate cake recipe, try The BEST Chocolate Cake.

Looking for some additional healthier cake ideas? Here are some reader favorites.

More Healthy Cake Recipes:

Whip up this chocolate delight the next time a chocolate craving strikes, or for any upcoming special event like birthdays or holidays.

Sweet potato and chocolate for life!

Sweet potato chocolate cake on a wood plate with a plate of chocolate cake in the background.
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4.06 from 88 votes

Healthy Sweet Potato Chocolate Cake

This flourless Sweet Potato Chocolate Cake recipe is so moist, rich, and chocolatey! You'd never guess it's made with all wholesome ingredients and no flour, butter, or sugar!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Course: Cakes & Cupcakes, Desserts & Treats
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 Servings
Calories: 214kcal
Author: Julia

Ingredients

Chocolate Ganache:

Instructions

  • Bake the Cake:
  • Wrap the sweet potato in a wet paper towel and microwave for 5 minutes. Flip to the other side and microwave for another 5 minutes. If the sweet potato doesn’t feel very soft at this point, turn it over again and microwave for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until it is very soft. As an alternative to microwaving, you can boil or roast the sweet potato in the oven.
  • Allow the sweet potato to cool completely. This step is important, because it will make the potato easier to peel and it will ensure the potato isn’t too hot to cause the eggs to cook in the cake batter.
  • Remove the sweet potato skin and discard. Mash the sweet potato until it is nice and creamy and measure out one cup of mashed sweet potato.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a 9-inch square baking pan or round cake pan with parchment paper. You can also spray the pan with cooking spray if you don't have parchment paper on hand.
  • Transfer the mashed sweet potato to a large bowl along with the almond butter, eggs, pure maple syrup, vanilla extract, and vinegar. Mix the wet ingredients until a thick sticky substance forms. Note: If your almond butter has been chilling in the refrigerator or has been kept in a cool place, microwave it for 20 to 30 seconds, or until it is soft and easy to mix.
  • Add the cocoa powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, and sea salt (dry ingredients) to the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix well until a thick cake batter forms. If you’d like to add chocolate chips for added chocolate goodness, you can do so now (use up to 1 cup).
  • Transfer the cake batter to the prepared baking pan and spread it into an even layer.
  • Bake on the center rack of the preheated oven for 23 to 28 minutes, or until the cake tests clean.
  • Prepare the Ganache:
  • If you’re making the optional ganache topping to use as frosting, you can prepare it a few minutes before the cake has finished baking.
  • Add the chocolate chips, full-fat coconut milk, and coconut oil (or butter) to a mixing bowl and microwave for 20-second intervals, stirring well in between each interval, until the mixture has fully melted (about 60 seconds total). I recommend making the ganache while the cake is still in the oven or still hot and spreading it on the cake while the cake is still warm. This is contrary to other types of frosting like buttercream frosting or regular chocolate frosting, which you will want to spread on the cake while it is room temperature or colder.
  • Pour the warm ganache over the cake and spread it evenly. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature before slicing and serving. To help the ganache set up and to cool the cake quicker, I recommend transferring it to the refrigerator to chill.
  • Slice the cake into individual slices, and enjoy!

Notes

Store the chocolate cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can freeze cake in a freezer bag or zip lock bag for up to 3 months.
Nutrition Facts are calculated for the cake only, without any frosting or ganache.
*Use half & half or heavy cream in place of coconut milk if you don’t need the recipe to be dairy-free.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Slice (of 12) | Calories: 214kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 307mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 13g

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

Recipe Rating




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Afaf

Sunday 4th of February 2024

I followed the recipe exactly and used cocoa powder. It was nicely soft but very bitter. I feel the amount of cocoa should be used half and it should be mentioned in the recipe to avoid a bitter cake.

Julia

Tuesday 6th of February 2024

Thanks for sharing this feedback. What type of cocoa powder did you use? Dutch press cocoa powder tends to be more bitter than raw cacao powder for instance. Additionally, the amount of chocolate one prefers in a cake is fairly subjective so I'm not sure everyone would agree that halving the amount of cocoa powder is objectively better.

Afaff

Friday 2nd of February 2024

I made this recipe with cocoa powder and the cake turned out soft but dark and bitter. I reread the whole recipe to see what I did wrong, and the author mentioned she likes cacao powder as it’s less bitter. Author (Julia) plz update your recipe advising to use cocoa powder less as it might be ruining many readers cakes. I feel half the amount will suffice, as it’s bitter and extremely dark.

Renee

Saturday 13th of January 2024

What am I missing? I have read most of the article and scrolled thru it 3 times and still have not found the actual recipe. Reading the editorial on how to make substitutions was great but where is the recipe?

Julia

Saturday 13th of January 2024

Hi Renee! Keep scrolling down until you see the recipe card - it's at the bottom of the page. As an alternative, you can click the "Jump To Recipe" button at the top of the page and it'll take you right there :) Let me know if you have any other questions! xo

Cindy Rubinfine

Sunday 5th of November 2023

Can you use winter squash, Butternut or maybe pumpkin in place of sweet potatoes?

Julia

Wednesday 8th of November 2023

Absolutely! If you use canned pumpkin puree, the texture will be slightly different because it tends to have more moisture than freshly baked pumpkin or butternut squash. However, home baked pumpkin or butternut squash should work great! xo

Zdravka

Sunday 29th of October 2023

Amazing recipe,Julia!I made some changes,since I would like not to use sugar and try natural sweeteners.I used 1/3 cup of maple syrup,peanut butter and bittersweet chocolate chips.The cake came super delicious and I decorated it with one thin sliced strawberry.Thank you for this recipe!

Julia

Wednesday 1st of November 2023

All of that sounds amazing! Thanks so much for sharing!

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