Versatility in a Spinach and Sweet Potato Cake — Un cake aux épinards et patate douce versatile

I wondered why I could just not get out of bed last Monday morning. I must have sensed what was in the air. The lack of noise outside made me believe that everything had been wrapped into du papier bulle (bubble wrap), into un silence d’or (golden silence). After managing to reluctantly get out of the cozy warm nest P. and I made during the night — between us, it must have been 95 F in there — since all the house blinds were still down, I rushed to the bathroom and climbed onto a chair to access the only window through which day beams of light came through. I had to have a peak at what was going on outside. The house roofs were all covered with a white sheet. It had snowed. Winter was finally here. Not that I actually minded the warmer days we had had until now, but a little voice inside me kept saying “C’est pas normal, on est quand même en décembre !” (It is not normal. It is December after all!)

At noon, it was all gone and I was already missing this white coat. I had already imagined snowshoeing, skiing, playing outside in the cold. Yes I love that stuff a lot! During that short time however, I had developed a strong desire to bake something. I could not bake a sweet cake since we already had one to finish. There was no one I could think of for whom I could bake something either. I walked into the kitchen and stood there for a few minutes. “Qu’est-ce que je vais bien pouvoir faire ?”, I wondered. What could I do that would not require any additional trip to the grocery store — I had been seized by the lazy-to-go-to-the-store feeling and I would just not get there, even if I had to. And then I remembered. I had Fresh spinach in the fridge that I absolutely had to cook, unless I wanted them to end up old and grey before I knew it.

Vegetable Cake — Cake aux légumes

Cakes do not have to be sweet, we can agree on that. In fact, it is a good thing to remember to make savory versions to bring to parties or bien sûr, for your own parties and dinners, as amuse-bouches and savory apéritif nibbles. With Christmas approaching, I felt it was a good excuse to make this Vegetable Cake that I would try at my mother-in-law’s, when traveling to Chicago to spend Christmas with P.’s happy Irish family clan. I was sure they would not know that kind.

Slices of Cake

Many vegetable associations are possible in this type of cake. I have done many different variants and will introduce you to a few in the coming weeks. Such a savory cake is nice served in slices, as an accompaniment to a hearty soup for example, or cut in small squares for finger food. This is why I like them so much. They are versatile, moist but nourishing and flavorful. They are good for you, so maybe you want to give them a try!

Amuse-bouches, finger food

Sweet Potato and Spinach Cake

You need:

  • 3 eggs (2 oz each)
  • 6 +1/3 oz all-purpose flour
  • 7 oz sweet potato
  • 3.5 oz fresh spinach, cleaned
  • 3 oz hard cheese, like a nice-aged emmenthal
  • 1/2 cup (minus 1 Tbsp) milk
  • 1/2 cup (minus 1 Tbsp) olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder


  • Peel the sweet potato and grate it coarsely.
  • Chop the spinach leaves coarsely.
  • Grate the cheese thinly.
  • In a bowl, mix together the eggs and flour.
  • Add the oil first and mix, then add the milk.
  • Add the vegetables and cheese and mix.
  • Then add a pinch of salt, coriander powder and baking powder.
  • Pour the batter in a rectangular greased cake pan — my mold measures 8″ x 3″ — and cook in the oven at 350 F for 50 mns.
  • Let the cake cool down before unmolding.
Le coin français
Cake aux épinards et patate douce

Ingrédients :

  • 3 oeufs (60 g chacun)
  • 180 g de farine
  • 200 g patate douce
  • 100 g épinards frais, nettoyés
  • 80 g de fromage à pâte dure, tel un emmenthal
  • 10 cl de lait demi-écrémé
  • 10 cl d’huile d’olive
  • 1 pincée de sel
  • 1 càc de coriandre en poudre
  • 2 càc de levure chimique

Étapes :

  • Pelez la patate douce et rapez-la grossièrement.
  • Hachez les feuilles d’épinards grossièrement.
  • Rapez le fromage finement.
  • Dans un bol, mélangez les oeufs et la farine au fouet.
  • Ajoutez l’huile et mélangez, puis ajoutez le lait. Mélangez bien.
  • Ajoutez les légumes et le fromage et mélangez.
  • Ajoutez 1 pincée de sel, la coriandre en poudre et la levure chimique.
  • Versez cette préparation dans un moule à gâteau rectangulaire beurré — mon moule mesure 21 x 7,5 cm — et faites cuire au four préchauffé à 180 C pendant environ 50 mns.
  • Laissez refroidir avant de démouler.
Posted in Appetizers, Cakes, French Inspired, Vegetarian


  1. We used to call this a crustless quiche — but I don’t remember it looking quite as beautiful as in your photos. Wow!

  2. You are wonder woman!!! What a wonderful holiday amuse-bouche for my vegetarians!!! Hooray for Béa!! And I’m always on the look out for great ways to use spinach. Thank you sooo much.

  3. That’s the kind of cake my mom loves to make and modify. I’ll pass the recipe on to her this Christmas. Thank you!

  4. Yes, that would be lovely with a soup or with a tomato-y salad. We are looking for something out of the ordinary for Christmas Eve — this surely fills the bill.

  5. The colours of that vegetable cake are truly amazing! Healthy & inviting:)
    Same thing with snow here – we got a teaser winter week in November (-15c, lots of snow), but now it’s +8c outside and raining:( It’s December, for heaven’s sake!!!

  6. Not only are you torturing us with beautiful pictures of that cake, but it looks like you’re giving the cake a little taste of torture as well! (But I don’t think that translates very well… torture de torte?)

  7. la couleur est absolument splendide!! je le fais vendredi soir à coup sûr, je cherchais un petit truc du genre, muffin ou autre et tu m’as conquise, une fois de plus!

  8. J’adore ton titre, ta recette et bien sûre tes photos aussi…Ah et j’oubliais aussi ton texte, comme toujours…j’aime beaucoup te lire en anglais…D’habitude, je lis plutôt des choses comme “ has been shown that this biological pathway plays important roles during cancer…. ” mais je dois dire qu’une phrase comme ” Cakes do not have to be sweet…” me fait sourire un peu plus 😉 Merci pour tout


  9. Bea merci pour cette belle recette pleine de couleurs juste un truc je voulais savoir s’il en restaiy parce que sinon si cela sonne a la porte c’est moi…coucou

  10. Trop joli! Ma modeste soupe poireau-pomme de terre au menu ce soir, va éclater d’orgueil en compagnie de ce splendide cake…

  11. C’estetrès joli tout ça! C’est une très bonne idée pour faire manger des légumes à ceux qui sont rétissants…

  12. Oh how glorious that looks! I love the idea of a savoury cake – like really big savoury muffins 😉 The colours here are so wonderfully autumnal. Beautiful!

  13. What a great recipe! It looks so festive and pretty, I have to try this! Hope you are well!

  14. Thanks a lot all! I hope you enjoy the cake if you make it. Merci bien pour vos commentaires et j’espère que vous aimerez le cake si vous le faites.

    David, “torte” is not a French word, but “tarte” is 😉 Too bad, the rhyme would have been fun!

  15. Pingback: Veggie Chic » Let me eat cake

  16. Looks really great…I asked myself what can I do with my sweet potato. I’ve the answer now ! Thanks à lot !
    What did you add in your cake : tomato ?
    ( sorry for my bad english)

  17. I’v done this cake for the lunch ! Really good. Since this day, I’ve never cooked sweet potato. So,I didn’t know that the flesh of the sweet potato is orange-coloured. So, forget my last question 🙂

  18. Béa, I really hope you will reply to this. I made this cake the day after you published the recipe and, unfortunately, I had exactly the same experience as Veggie Chic did. In your pictures, the cake looks fluffy and light. The cake I made, again, following your directions to the T, turned out heavy and greasy. I visit your blog every day but, unlike most people who comment here, I only leave a comment if I’ve made one of your recipes (I figure you’ll do just fine without another “oh, how beautiful, Béa”). However, if more people who try your recipes would comment, I think you’ll get a better idea of what works and what doesn’t and why.
    In any case, since at least two people have had the same problem with this cake (turning out not as light and airy as your photos show but rather heavy and greasy), I am thinking that perhaps you’ve mistyped the recipe. Does this recipe really call for almost 1/2 cup of oil and only 3.5 oz of spinach (your cake seems to have a lot more green than mine did)?
    Thank you.

  19. Hi MS, thanks a lot for your feedback. It is a good thing to do indeed, and for me to see how recipes work, or do not work. One thing I can say about this cake is that it is definitely going to give a dense texture. I guess this is what I meant when I wrote about it “nourishing”. The amount of oil is 10 cl, and perhaps I should not have rounded it to 1/2 cup since to be fully exact, 1/2 cup = 118 ml. I will definitely correct this. But as you can see, there is still almost 1/2 cup. These types of cake are very often made in France, for cocktails for example, and a lot of them have this type of texture. There are moist, and do not resemble the texture of savory muffins for example. Perhaps you find it too rich, and I am sorry about that, but this is what they are. Mine was not greasy so I will need to investigate more. As to the spinach, I weighed it once it was fully clean. I hope this helps! Thanks again!

  20. Thank you for replying, Béa. I was probably mislead by the way the cake looks in the amuse-bouches photo, where it seems to be fluffy, almost muffin-like. I will try the recipe again, but this time I’ll use half of the oil and see what happens. Also, since the spinach weight is accurate, then I should try chopping the spinach less coarsely.

    A bientôt j’espère.

  21. I agree with MS. I tried this cake today and it looked more like a “flan” than a muffin. I think the way the picture looks gave me a wrong impression. And I didn’t read the comments before doing the recipe. Anyway it was very good and “original”. Thanks for charing this recipe with us. Bea your pictures look so great, the colors and the light as well. Impossible to reproduce this, I have the same problem with cookbooks ;).

  22. Ce cake est tellement vert !!!!!
    J’ai bien envie de m’en prendre une part, juste là, maintenant.

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  26. La recette est très originale et les couleurs sont incroyables! Je viens tout juste de finir mon cake!

    Je me demandais s’il serais possible de changer l’huile d’olive pour de l’huile de canola ou autre huile? Bien que ce serais moins santé, je trouve que l’odeur distinctes de l’huile d’olive de mon “cake” était un peu trop forte, bien que j’adore l’huile d’olive dans d’autres recettes, telles des pâtes ou des marinades.

    Meric pour la réponse et au pire j’essayerais moi même la subsitution!

  27. Merci pour cette délicieuse recette Béa, j’ai utilisé du lait de soja et de la farine semi-complète, c’était parfaitement réussi à l’oeil et au palet ! J’ai mis la pâte dans 2 mini-moules à cake et parsemé le dessus de graines de tournesol et sésame. Contrairement à certains commentaires lus, la pâte a très bien levé et doré. Les mini-tranches étaient parfaites pour accompagner une belle salade mélangée d’épinards, pomme et carotte crues. Miam !

  28. J’ai goute ce cake fait par une amie et je l’ai trouve delicieux. J’aimerais le refaire mais avec de la farine complete. Avez-vous deja essaye ? Et si oui, dois-je diminuer la quantite de farine complete car elle est moins “fluide” que la farine classique ?

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  31. I’m making this now, I’ll tell you the results soon, but looks lovely 🙂