Carrot – Sweet Potato Spice Cakes

These tender little cakes are perfect to tuck into a picnic hamper or school lunch box. There’s not much difference between these and a muffin — just a little extra sugar. If you want, reduce the amount by up to 1/4 cup and you’re back in muffin territory. I like to purée the carrot with the sweet potato so it’s completely smooth. This not only disguises the healthy vitamin A-loaded roots, but makes for a moist, delicate crumb. For a little flourish, finish off with a dusting of powdered sugar before serving.

I grind oatmeal to a coarse powder in my food processor and keep on hand to add to most any baking goodie for added fiber and nutrition. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 6 months.

(Makes 12 cupcakes)


  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (or you can use 3/4 cup of each type of flour)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup ground oatmeal (see headnote)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 3/4 cup grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup mild-tasting vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (or plain whole milk yogurt)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped nuts


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a muffin tin or line with paper liners.
  2. Combine dry ingredients, from flour through nutmeg in a large bowl.
  3. Rinse sweet potato, and pierce in several places with a fork. Microwave on high until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from microwave and partially cool. Cut potato lengthwise and scoop flesh out. Measure out 3/4 cup and process in a food processor with carrots, orange juice and 1/4 cup water until smooth.
  4. Place sugar and oil in a small bowl, stir to dissolve sugar. Add vanilla, carrot/sweet potato purée, buttermilk and egg. Stir to combine.
  5. Add wet ingredients to the bowl containing dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated. Do not over mix. Fold in nuts. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin and bake for about 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in one comes out clean.
  6. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then turn out on a rack and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar if desired before serving.
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