You must have a birthday coming up, right?

Or…a half birthday?  Quarter?

Alright, well.  Don’t worry about it.  We’ll think of something.  Anything.  To get this baby into your kitchen.

I’m a woman on a sweet potato cake mission.  You don’t want to mess with that.


Yes, there are sweet potatoes in the cake.

I felt very “Jessica Seinfeld” about this.  Which, um, is never a good thing.

But then when I saw how many sticks of butter went into the filling and frosting…I forgave myself.  And forged ahead.


Butter makes everything better.  Especially vegetable cake guilt.  Truth.


And if you choose not to tell your family and friends that there is an orange tuber lurking within the moist and seductive layers of this confection?  I’ll totally understand.

My brother refused to try it purely based on this fact alone.

I would have argued with him.  But I totally took a “more for me” approach to this entire situation.  It was for the best.


So…tomorrow is your nine-month-and-four-days-till-the-real-thing birthday?

Perfect. Let’s do this.


Sweet Potato and Ginger Layer Cakes
Makes two 8-inch layers to be split in two, adapted from Sweetapolita


  • 2 lb sweet potatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp dark rum
  • 3/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans and put a round of parchment inside, cutting out the parchment so that it fits the bottom of the pan.
  2. Place the sweet potatoes on a microwave-safe plate and pierce them all over with a fork.  Microwave until they are tender, about 7-8 minutes per side.  Carefully remove the skin when cool enough to touch and mash the flesh into a coarse puree.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed (#6 on a KitchenAid) until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add the oil and beat on medium until combined.  Add the cooled sweet potato puree and mix until combined.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients together (cake flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger).  Add to sweet potato mixture.  Mix in vanilla and dark rum.  Gently stir in crystallized ginger.
  5. Evenly distribute the batter into the prepared pans (weigh them if possible!).  Smooth with an offset spatula knife and place in the center of the middle rack of the oven.  Bake until a knife or a skewer inserted comes out clean, about 40 minutes.  Let pans cool on a wire rack 10 minutes.  Invert cakes onto rack and cool them completely.

Whipped Toasted Marshmallow Filling
Adapted from Sweetapolita 


  • 16 white marshmallows
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
  • 1 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tbsp almond milk or regular milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 7.5 oz marshmallow fluff
  • pinch of salt


  1. Place marshmallows on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place on lower rack of oven and broil marshmallows until nice and brown on top (beware – they burn VERY quickly!).  Remove the tray from the oven and carefully turn them over until the other side browns.  Remove tray from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  2. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 8 minutes or until very pale and fluffy.
  3. Add the sifted confectioner’s sugar, milk, vanilla and pinch of salt. Beat for another 6 minutes.
  4. Add toasted and cooled marshmallows as well as fluff, mixing on low speed for 2 minutes.
  5. Best used right away, keep at room temperature.

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Makes about 5 cups, adapted from Sweetapolita


  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • few pinches of cinnamon, to taste


  1. Wipe the bowl and whisk attachment of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and brown sugar and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 140-160°F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot, about 5 minutes if you used room temperature egg whites. About 8 if they were cold.
  2. With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes or so). Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if it curdles, keep mixing on medium-low and it will come back to smooth).
  3. Add vanilla, salt and cinnamon, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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91 Responses to Sweet Potato and Ginger Layer Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Filling and Brown Sugar Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  1. ummm. DIVINE, SINFUL, INTOXICATING, SCREAMING MY NAME! Thinking I have no reason to make this today but no reason not to so Making it I am!

  2. I’d be gobbling this cake up like it was my job if I was in your family! Looks awesome!

  3. Everything about this sounds amazing, and I would have been thrilled if no one else wanted to eat it:-)

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Yes. Yes yes yes this looks amazing. I had a sweet potato cupcake in Alexandria, VA. As soon as I heard sweet potato I was sold.

  5. Would replacing vegetable oil with butter in the cake make it better. I heard that butter makes everything better:) Good idea to inform potential eaters in advance that this has vegetables!

  6. This looks absolutely gorgeous, Joanne! I can almost taste the sweet potatoes…

  7. Kim says:

    I’ve been curious about this cake ever since you posted about it last week. Everything about this just screams delicious. The spices, the rum, the toasted marshmallow filling – yum!

  8. That looks like one fabulous cake! So many of my favorite things in one glorious dessert!

  9. That Girl says:

    You’re silly – who needs a birthday when Christmas is right around the corner! Perfect excuse for cake.

  10. wow wow wow, Joanne. The recipe with the longest name ever! You really outdid yourself! 🙂

  11. Danielle says:

    Its beautiful – I would definitely want this for my birthday!

  12. i honestly can’t imagine what this would taste like, which makes me want to try it even more!

    xo Alison

  13. AMAZING looking cake. Your brother doesn’t know what he’s missing!

  14. Kristen says:

    Sounds and looks incredible!! Wow!

  15. And I tweeted (that sounds wrong) 🙂

  16. Lora says:

    Gorgeous cake! You had me at sweet potato ginger.

  17. daphne says:

    What got my interest is the mash mellow melt! Is it like fluff? together with the layers.. Oh my!! What a treat. I want a birthday!!!

  18. Sofia says:

    you’re killing me here with all these delicious cakes, joanne. do i make this or the apple cheesecake thingy first? decisions, decisions.

  19. Joanne says:

    Okay, you so had me at the blog post title alone. The rest of the post is just sweet icing on the cake 🙂

  20. This cake looks amazing. I wouldn’t tell anyone there is sweet potato in it, otherwise they’ll not like on that fact alone. People are so funny when it comes to that stuff. lol

  21. MM says:

    Are you familiar with Southern Living’s traditional December “white cake” cover? (doesn’t matter what’s inside–only the outside of the cake has to be white) This cake could totally be on it!

  22. Mary says:

    This looks and sounds absolutely DIVINE! Gorgeous cake, girl. What a perfect way to celebrate an un-birthday!

  23. I think there’s DEFINITELY a some-number-of-months-some-number-of-days birthday coming up for me… this looks amazing!! Your bro is officially ridiculous, and you can tell him I said so.

  24. Mary says:

    What a glorious confection! How could anyone refuse a slice (or two) of this. It looks scrumptious. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate an un-birthday. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  25. Faith says:

    When it comes to cake, sometimes you just need to forge ahead without a thought of butter, right? This cake is beautiful, Joanne…the fact that it’s Monday sounds like a special occasion to me! 😉

    Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  26. I’ll take your brother’s piece!! This is such an incredible concept. I don’t think there is an ingredient in here that I don’t love!

  27. Deborah says:

    I think that celebrating that it is a Monday is a good enough reason to make this, right??

  28. I have to lie many times to my hubby about the ingredients. If I told him what was actually in the dinner, the breakfast or even the cookies, he would NOT eat it. So fussy.
    Gorgeous cake my dear.

  29. I would be like Rachel on Friends and claim it was “tofu cake” so that no one would want to share. This looks amaaazing!

  30. wow! these are absolutely lovely pictures 🙂 not to mention this cake looks fantastic!

  31. Beth says:

    I almost had to lay my head down when I read the recipe title. It looks that good. A moan may actually have been uttered. I believe you have taken every single thing I like to eat and put it in one recipe.

    Let me think what I might bake this cake for. Happy Four Weeks until Christmas, anyone?

  32. Karen says:

    Ooooh, dang this looks good. Let’s see… I’ve got a birthday coming up in 11 months… close enough!

  33. Amy says:

    Your brother is silly. Doesn’t he know that some of the best desserts have veggies in them – carrot cake, zucchini bread, pumpkin cookies! More importantly, where in the world do you find the time to make these elaborate desserts?!

  34. Jenna says:

    I simply echo Kitchen Belleicious’s comment. It describes my feelings exactly.

  35. Foodycat says:

    I love the sound of the cake ingredients! Lots of lovely booze and spice. I am scared of marshmallows though.

  36. Michele says:

    Oh my goodness! That looks sinful. I love sweet potatoes.

  37. Michelle says:

    You totally had me at “toasted marshmallow filling” — I bet this would make a hell of a decadent cupcake. (But good for you cuz of the sweet potatoes, right?!)

  38. Look delicious Joanne! Beautiful Cake :)!

  39. Geni says:

    Yeah the butter alone did make it A-Ok to have a vegetable in your dessert. This looks like pure heaven. How could ANYONE in their right might refuse a slice of that? I would have eaten the whole cake if left alone with it. P.S. Don’t leave me alone with any homemade dessert. Have you ever had parsnip cake? Oh my. Check out Edible Mosaic’s blog for the recipe if you need one.

  40. SallyBR says:

    Amazing cake! As I was reading the title of the recipe, I kept telling myself “it’s getting better… and better… and better!”

    a four layer cake! I am amazed. Maybe in my next life I can attempt something like your masterpiece…

    wonderful post!

  41. Love that you have used sweet potato. Must give this one a go. And who the hell doesnt love toasted marshmallow?? NOM!

  42. sophia says:

    I have to confess, Joanne, I am very much NOT a cake person. But the idea of the marshmallow cream filling is very interesting.

  43. Claudia says:

    You should know by now not to tell that brother of yours the ingredients. Need to know basis, cake with marshmallow filling; but as you say, more for everyone else. I for one am going to give it a go.

  44. OohLookBel says:

    I’ve always been wary of making a layer cake because there’s no way the layers would be as even as yours. What a gorgeously fluffy sweet concoction it is. A little bad but sooo goood!

  45. Nicole, RD says:

    Hey, there’s no butter in the cake…that’s a nutritional feather in its cap. And then there’s the photos..oh my. Your brother’s loss, fo sho.

  46. vianney says:

    Joanne, i love me some cake, but with SP..oh heaven!!

  47. Rachel says:

    Something about this cake had a jaw-dropping effect on me…okay maybe everything about it had that effect. Could you put more goodness in a cake? I don’t think so.

  48. It’s my ** years, nine months and 3 days birthday! I would love a slice of that heavenly-looking cake and I think all of that orange goodness inside sounds wonderful.

  49. Candace says:

    I would be willing to have another birthday this year just aget a cake like that. It looks amazing, Joanne. I’m pinning this one. Have a great week!

  50. I am guessing the healthiness of the tubers cancels out the unhealthiness of the butter. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it. Thanks for making me laugh every single time I come here. Happy Holidays to You ~ can’t wait to see what festive foods you cook up in the next few weeks!


  51. Megan says:

    The Swiss meringue buttercream sounds so good. I don’t know why people haven’t gotten over the whole vegetables in cakes thing — the vegetables keep the cake moist and make it taste so good! Some of the best cakes are veggie-laden like chocolate zucchini, carrot, etc. I’d be all over this!

  52. Mo 'Betta says:

    YUMMMMMM! This looks and sounds incredible. My dad quizzed me on the ingredients of everything I brought to their house, since one year I disguised cauliflower as mashed potatoes. He hasn’t forgiven me 😉

  53. Reeni says:

    That. Is some serious. Cake. I am completely and utterly in love. I might need help picking my jaw up off the floor…

  54. Swathi says:

    There is no birthday coming in next month, still love try this cake, as it has sweet potato ginger and butter cream sounds awesome.

  55. Astra Libris says:

    How did you know I was thinking about sweet potato cake this morning?? Seriously. (while at the gym, of course. Somehow I always think about food while at the gym.) I really was, innocently dreaming about sweet potato cake, and I’m not exactly sure why… I must have subconsciously known you had this AWESOME cake awaiting me! 😉

  56. peachkins says:

    I love the toasted marshmallow filling!

  57. Pam says:

    Butter does indeed make everything better! This cake looks so pretty and delicious.

  58. Everything about your cake screams “eat me!”

    I can’t wait to try this at home -I love sweet potato and your marshmallow filling sounds awesome

  59. grace says:

    standing ovation. round of applause. pat on the back. key to the city. this is phenomenal, joanne, from the cake itself, to the tasty filling, to the AMAZING frosting.

  60. Johanna GGG says:

    sounds like a great cake but filling and buttercream sounds like a lot of dedication to the cake – more than I usually put in so I am impressed – I once told my brothers and sisters I put mashed potato in a chocolate cake and I remember their horror – it was years ago and I would like to think they are older and wiser but I suspect not

  61. This is a GORGEOUS cake. I make sweet potato or pumpkin rolls in which you can’t taste either one iota, so I understand what you’re saying. The sheet height of this cake is enough to make me want a slice. Badly. Not to mention that crystallized ginger on top…

  62. Kristen says:

    2 pounds of sweet potatoes makes that cake practically a vegetable side dish! And you know I always put butter on my veggies. Thanks for taking away the guilt!

  63. Four layer cake, wow! I’ve never made one of these! I agree with Kristen, this is a side dish, not a dessert with all those sweet potatoes!

  64. brandi says:

    this looks incredible. i LOVE ginger!

  65. Alyssa says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  66. Based on your most recent comment on my blog, I think it’s pretty clear that we both have a minor love affair with sweet potatoes. I am so excited about this post and cannot wait to try out your recipe!! Your brother was silly not to try some.


  67. Nicole says:

    Actually my birthday is soon – so yeah me! Looks devine!

  68. Oh. My. Word. What I wouldn’t do for a bite of that cake! This sounds like such a wonderful combination of flavors and textures.

  69. I wish I had a big fat piece of this cake right now! Yum!

  70. Natalie says:

    um yes, just yes. i am contemplating skipping meals for the next few days and just making/eating this instead. it has a veggie in it, right?!

  71. you are amazing. and so is this cake. incredible. when can i come over????

  72. marla says:

    Sweet potatoes make baked treats that much better. This layer cake looks out of this world!

  73. Nicole says:

    Sweet potatoes!!! I love it. And the toasted marshmallow filling? AH! It’s like sweet potato pie in cake form. And that is awesome.

  74. Carolyn Jung says:

    This is THE perfect cake for the holidays. First, it has all the warm spices of winter. AND it has marshmallow-fluffy buttercream. I’d go to the gym every day this week just to have a big slice.

  75. The name of this recipe is a mouthful. The cake looks like a mouthful as well and delicious!

  76. Candace Karu says:

    What a surprisingly good idea. Thank you!

  77. This looks amazing! I love the idea of toasting the marshmallows in the frosting.

  78. Chris says:

    I really think you need to make your titles just a little bit longer. 😉

    Marshmallow filling…sounds absolutely devilish.

  79. Oh my! You do have a way with orange veggies!
    Looks totally sinful. Great call on the ginger.
    I currently have two half eaten cakes in the fridge. Trade a slice?

  80. Cara says:

    I honestly can’t imagine why someone wouldn’t try this. Their loss!

  81. FoodEpix says:

    This looks delicious. Would love for you to share this with us over at

  82. I need this cake to give my sweet potatoes a good home. 🙂 It looks amazing!

  83. Doll House says:

    I honestly can’t imagine what this would taste like, which makes me want to try it even more!Thank you for sharing it with us and Merry Christmas!

  84. Jackie says:

    Hi Joanne

    After cutting the cakes into 4 layers, how do you stack one on top of the other to get a neat looking cake.

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  87. blackbaker says:

    You’re an inspiration!

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