Carolyn’s Sweet Potato Layer Cake


Copyright 2019 Grand Diamond Seasoning, Inc.

Yield: 10 to 12 Servings


  • 1 Cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1½ Cups Granulated Sugar
  • ½ Cup Light Brown Sugar, firmly packed
  • 3 Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract 
  • 1½ Cups Mashed Yams or Sweet Potato, about 2-3 whole Sweet Potatoes (READ THE NOTES BELOW) 
  • ¾ Cup Buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2½ Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2½ Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • ¼ Teaspoon Ground Ginger (optional) 
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt

Spiced Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 Cups Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • ½ Cup Shortening, room temperature
  • 6 Cups Powdered Sugar (7 cups if you prefer)
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon 
  • ¼ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 Teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 4 Tablespoons Milk, more if desired but the buttercream should not be runny

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

  • ½ Cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 16 Ounces Cream Cheese, not low fat, room temperature
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon 
  • ¼ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 to 2½ Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract


NOTES: Cooking the potatoes can be done a few days in advance. Wash and scrub the outer skin of the potatoes and pat dry. Using the tip of a sharp knife, poke small holes into each of the potatoes. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and roast them at 375 degrees until they’re very soft to the touch. Large yams can take up to 2½ hours to completely cook while smaller ones take less time. Set your timer and check them after the first 1½ hours of the cooking time.

Once done, allow the potatoes to cool for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the skin. If you’re using yams, cut off about ½ to ¾ inch off of the end of each yam. Why? Because yams have strings and quite a few strings are concentrated at the end of the yams. Next, scoop out the flesh of the potatoes and place it into a food processor or high power blender and pulse until smooth. Cool in a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Once it’s time to use for baking, bring the potatoes to room temperature and proceed with the recipe.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Using a hand mixer, or a stand mixer, mix the butter, brown sugar, and sugar together. Add and blend in one egg at a time. Follow with the vanilla extract and mashed sweet potatoes. Stop and scrape down the bowl making sure all of the ingredients are blended well. Pause the mixing.

Sift the dry ingredients directly over the bowl and add the buttermilk. Stir the batter with a spatula or large spoon just until the dry ingredients are absorbed. Now, go back to mixing with the hand mixer, or stand mixer, just until the batter is well incorporated. The batter will appear very thick. Do not over mix.

Butter and flour two 9 inch round cake pans. Evenly divide the batter into each pan, a little over 3½ cups each. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

Once done, cool in the pans for about 5 minutes and then turn them out on to a rack to cool completely.

Frost with your choice of frosting:

Cream Cheese Frosting

Combine the butter and cream cheese and mix using a hand mixer. Add the vanilla extract. Mix until well combined. Gradually add and blend in the powdered sugar. (Note: This frosting is very creamy and pliable. If there is leftover frosting, put it in an air tight container and freeze.)

Spiced Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Mix the butter and shortening until the mixture becomes smooth and pale in color, about 2 minutes or so. Stop mixing and add 1 cup of powdered sugar. Start blending on low speed and as the sugar becomes incorporated increase the speed and blend until smooth. Repeat the process adding 1 to 1½ cups at a time. Finally, add the spices, vanilla and milk. More milk may be added if desired, but add it to the buttercream 1 tablespoon at a time. The buttercream should not be runny.

This cake can be stored in the refrigerator and served at room temperature. Remove the cake from the refrigerator a couple of hours before being served.


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