Sweet Potato Pound Cake is the real deal when it comes to decadent southern desserts. With its tender and moist texture, this cake has a velvety richness that is simply unmatched. Plus, its rich praline glaze lends an unbeatable layer of flavor that makes this cake simply irresistible.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect treat to enjoy with family and friends or in need of a truly fantastic dessert to impress your guests, this sweet potato pound cake is the ultimate holiday indulgence.
Hands Down The Best Ever Sweet Potato Pound Cake Recipe
This Sweet Potato Pound Cake recipe is a variation of my husband’s family recipe that is by far my favorite pound cake he makes. He has one of the versions in his cookbook, Southern Creole. that includes lemon and thyme, which is a surprisingly delightful pairing with sweet potato. But the version I’ve concocted plays on traditional buttery, pecan praline flavors in the glaze that penetrates the outer layer of the pound cake. It’s rich and satisfying, with just the right amount of sweetness and crunch. Let’s get into the details!
Sweet Potato Pound Cake Ingredients
For The Sweet Potato Pound Cake
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes: this recipe calls for 2 cups of sweet potato mash which requires about 1 ¼ lb fresh sweet potatoes (2-3 medium potatoes).
- Wet Cake Ingredients: make sure your wet ingredients are all room temperature: butter, eggs, and evaporated milk. Room-temperature ingredients mix better with the batter and rise more easily.
- Dry Cake Ingredients: granulated sugar, light brown sugar, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger.
- Flavor enhancers: vanilla extract and fresh orange zest
For The Pecan Praline Glaze: pretty much everything you find in a traditional praline recipe with the addition of powdered sugar.
- Pecans, butter, brown sugar, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, evaporated milk, powdered sugar (confectioners sugar).
How To Make Sweet Potato Pound Cake Recipe
For the full recipe and detailed baking instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post.
Cook sweet potatoes until tender
You can roast sweet potatoes or boil them to get them tender before mashing. Roasting them preserves more of the natural sweet potato flavor.
Cream Butter & Sugar
Then add the remaining wet ingredients per the order instructed below.
Whisk together all the dry ingredients
Mix flour, orange zest, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in a large bowl.
Add dry ingredients to wet
Add flour to cake batter 1 cup at a time.
Tip: Mix Wet & Dry Ingredients separately. Overmixing batters and dough will toughen and strengthen the gluten in the flour, leading to tough, dense baked goods. I recommend mixing the dry ingredients together and then doing the same with the wet ingredients. Once you combine the two, you can more evenly disperse the elements with minimal mixing. The less you mix the flour, the lighter and fluffier your baked treats will be.
Bake Sweet Potato Pound Cake
Pour batter into a greased bunt pan and bake for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Allow cake to cool for 10-15 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Continue to cool to room temperature before serving.
Make Praline Glaze:
Toast pecans in a pan on medium heat. Then melt butter with remaining ingredients over medium heat until the mixture reaches a boil. Remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar and pecans. Then pour the glaze over the cooled sweet potato pound cake.
Pro Tips and Tricks
- Start with room temperature ingredients to ensure they mix evenly with the batter.
- Make sure your baking powder and baking soda are not expired. Test them by adding a little water; they should fizz. If not, toss them and get fresh ones.
- When measuring your flour, be sure not to scoop it out of the container with your measuring cup. This will pack down the flour, and you’ll end up with too much. Instead, spoon the flour into your measuring cup.
- Spend time creaming your butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This process adds air to the batter, making your cake nice and moist.
- Don’t overmix the batter. Overmixing will result in a tough pound cake.
- You can use canned sweet potatoes if you’re short on time.
- To prevent sticking, I make homemade cake grease for my bundt pans. It’s made of 1:1:1 ratio of flour, oil, and shortening. Thoroughly brush the flour mixture on the pan right before you pour in the batter.
- Use an oven thermometer to check the accuracy of your oven so that the cake doesn’t overcook or undercooked.
Storing & Freezing
STORAGE: Cover and seal your leftover sweet potato pound cake tightly in plastic wrap or airtight containers on the counter at room temperature. It will stay fresh for up to 5 days.
FREEZING: Wrap the whole cake or individual slices with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil before freezing for up to 3 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to cook sweet potatoes?
ROAST METHOD: Cut potatoes in half and poke holes all over the sides with skin. Place the sweet potatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in the oven at 425ºF for 45 minutes – 1 hour or until fork tender. Peel skin once cooled.
BOIL METHOD: Peel the potatoes and cut them into large chunks. Let them boil in a pot of water until they’re soft, which should take about 20 to 30 minutes. Drain in a colander and run cold water over the potatoes to stock the cooking.
How To keep the cake from sticking?
Bundt pans can be a little tricky. To ensure that my cakes don’t stick, I like to first brush the bundt pan with cake grease thoroughly. I make homemade cake grease by mixing 1/2 cup of each flour, oil, and shortening. And as a secondary precaution, I add a layer of baking spray.
How do I avoid overmixing?
When adding the dry ingredients to the wet, slowly add the flour 1 cup at a time while mixing on low speed. Stop mixing once the flour is just incorporated. Beat until the flour streaks disappear.
The cake collapsed! What happened?
There are a few reasons this could have happened.
- Make sure you measure ingredients correctly.
- Make sure your leaveners are outdated.
- Keep the oven closed while baking.
- Use an oven thermometer to make sure the temperature is accurate.
Can you use pumpkin to replace the sweet potato?
Technically, yes. However, pumpkin doesn’t have the same natural sweetness as sweet potatoes. So you may have to adjust the ingredients.
How do you know when the sweet potato pound cake is done?
Insert a toothpick or cake tester into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. If there is batter on the toothpick, bake for a few minutes longer and then check again.
Before You Begin
- Bundt pan
- Stand Mixer
- Potato Masher
- Sheet Pan
- Read through the recipe. This is the first time making a particular recipe; take a couple of minutes to read it through from start to finish. I promise it will help you move through the recipe quicker when you understand what’s coming next.
- Preheat oven to 425°F to roast potatoes and then reduce to 300°F to bake the cake.
- Measure out ingredients
- Make sweet potato mash.
Sweet Potato Pound Cake:
- 1 ½ cups 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 6 large eggs room temperature
- 2 cups mashed sweet potato 1 ¼ lb fresh sweet potatoes or 2-3 medium potatoes
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- zest of 1 medium orange
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
Pecan Praline Glaze:
- 1 cup chopped toasted pecans
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 tablespoons brown sugar
- 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons evaporated milk
- 5 tablespoons confectioners sugar
Sweet Potato Pound Cake:
- Preheat oven 300°F.
- In a large bowl with a hand mixer on medium speed cream butter and sugar until smooth about 5 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time. Next, add sweet potatoes, then evaporated milk and vanilla.
- In a large bowl, mix flour, orange zest, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
- Add flour to cake batter 1 cup at a time. Pour batter in a greased bunt pan, and place in the center rack, and bake for 1 hour 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean when removed. Remove cake from the oven and allow cake to cool for minimum 10-15 minutes before flipping cake out of pan.
Pecan Praline Glaze:
- Toast pecans in a pan on medium until fragrant. Remove from heat.
- Heat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, vanilla, and milk in a saucepan on medium heat. Stir constantly. When mixture reaches a boil, boil 1 minute exactly. Stir constantly. Remove from heat and stir in confectioners sugar to thicken. Stir in pecans. Pour over slightly cooled cake.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
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