Sweet Potato Pecan Pound Cake With Maple Buttercream

Sweet potato pecan cake

I have a problem.

The problem is that this cake is so delicious that I want to die. And I want the cause of my death to be "eating 200 pounds of this cake". It is seriously that good.

Of course, if you don't like sweet potato or maple (or joy) you should probably not bother with this cake. But if you do like these things, then you're in for a treat. A rich, buttery, spicy pound cake, decadently moist from the sweet potato and lightly crunchy from the addition of toasted pecans would probably be just fine all on its own or with a dusting of confectioners' sugar, but let's be honest: it's even better with buttercream. This simple maple buttercream is a joy to eat, subtle and mellowly sweet. Add a few more toasted pecans on top and you'll be joining me in "want to die a sweet autumn binge eating death" territory.

Here are a few process shots, and then the recipe. Enjoy.

Sweet potato pecan cake

Here is the batter being made. Um, the recipe doesn't require that many eggs. I was doing other stuff too.

Sweet potato pecan cake

Here's the first delicious slather of buttercream meeting cake.

Sweet potato pecan cake

Here's the batter in the pan.

Here's the recipe.

Sweet Potato Pecan Pound Cake with Maple Buttercream

Makes 2 8-inch cakes, 24 cupcakes, or one 2-layer cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups canned sweet potato pie filling
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped


  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • more toasted pecans, for garnish



  1. Heat oven to 350°. Line two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper, and grease generously. You can also bake these as cupcakes, but you'll reduce the baking time later.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices; set aside.
  3. Cream the butter with sugars until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula with each addition and mixing well. Beat in the vanilla and sweet potato until blended.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients into the batter in 2-3 increments,  alternating with the milk, until blended. Fold in the nuts.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pans.
  6. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
  7. Cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before turning the cakes out on to wire racks to cool completely before frosting.
  8. Time to make the frosting. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and maple syrup for 3 to 5 minutes, until smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Add the confectioners’ sugar, cup by cup, until your desired spreading consistency has been reached. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula. If the frosting becomes too stiff, stir in a small quantity of milk to thin. 
  9. Frost the cakes generously, and garnish with more toasted pecans and cinnamon and nutmeg.