• Chocolaty sweet potato & macadamia cream cake (Chris Middleton)Source: Chris Middleton

You will need to start this cake a few hours before you need it, as the macadamias are best soaked for a couple of hours to soften them slightly before blending for the vanilla cream.






Skill level

Average: 3.8 (30 votes)

This is my healthier cake version of the ubiquitous Oreo cookie. It makes a great dessert, but really, there’s no need to save it for a special after-dinner occasion – I keep coming back for a sneaky slice every time I have a cup of tea.


  • 1 large orange sweet potato (about 420 g/15 oz), peeled and chopped
  • 75 g (2¾ oz/½ cup) gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 50 g (1¾ oz/½ cup) cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 115 g (4 oz/⅓  cup) rice malt syrup
  • 100 g (3½ oz) butter, melted
  • 150 g (5½ oz/½ cup) apple purée (see note)
  • 2 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Dutch-processed cocoa powder, to dust


Macadamia vanilla cream

  • 150 g (5½ oz/1 cup) macadamias
  • 80 ml (2½ fl oz/⅓ cup) coconut milk 
  • 1 tbsp rice malt syrup
  • 1 tbsp melted virgin coconut oil
  • 3 tsp natural vanilla extract

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Soaking time: 2 hours

Cooling time: 10 minutes

To make the macadamia vanilla cream, soak the macadamias in cold water for about 2 hours, to soften slightly. Drain and rinse well. Put 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) coconut milk, the rice malt syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract and finally the macadamias in a blender and blend until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the blender, if required. Add a little more coconut milk if needed to keep the mixture moving – but not too much as the mixture should be quite thick and creamy. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until required. 

Steam or microwave the sweet potato until tender. Drain, mash and set aside to cool. You will need 260 g (9 oz/1 cup) sweet potato for this cake.

Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F (fan-forced). Grease a 20 cm (8 in) cake tin and line the base with non-stick baking paper.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the rice malt syrup and butter until combined, then whisk in the sweet potato, apple purée and vanilla extract. Whisk the flour mixture in to the sweet potato mixture alternately with the eggs until combined. 

Working quickly, stir the vinegar into the mixture and immediately spoon it into the prepared tin. Bake for 35–40 minutes or until just firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

Slice the cooled cake in half horizontally using a long serrated knife. Place the bottom layer on a serving plate or cake stand and spread with the macadamia vanilla cream. Top with the remaining cake half, dust with cocoa powder and serve.

This cake will keep for 2–3 days, covered, in the refrigerator.



• Apple purée helps to add bulk to recipes that have had the cane sugar removed, as well as providing natural sweetness and fibre. Peel, core and roughly chop 4 large apples (about 800 g/1 lb 12 oz). Put the apples and a splash of water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8–10 minutes or until tender. Stir and mash the apples, still over the heat, until broken down – they should be mushy and quite thick. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. It is fine to have a little bit of texture, but if you prefer a smooth sauce, whiz in a food processor or use a hand-held blender and purée until smooth. The purée will keep for 3–4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It also freezes well for a couple of months – portion the purée into small containers or spoon into ice-cube trays, freeze and seal in an airtight container. Makes 600 g (1 lb 5 oz/2 cups).


This recipe is from Incredible Bakes (Smith Street Books). Photography by Chris Middleton.