This Vanilla Spinach Cake is bright green, but the flavour of the spinach fades away so it just tastes like a vanilla cake - but it has an incredible colour! It's a fun hidden vegetable cake, that's delicious and slightly healthier. Perfect as a birthday cake or for any occasion.
This Vanilla Spinach Cake is so green!
The hidden vegetable flavour fades away though - so it just tastes like a vanilla layer cake.
But that incredible bright green colour (and a little of it's goodness) stays behind.
It's a fun way to surprise people with a vegetable cake, but also to get people thinking about how to blur the lines between sweet and savoury.
As well as how to tweak cakes to make them a little healthier.
I've been making this cake for years and it never fails to surprise and delight.
It's a great cake recipe for a kids party, and I've turned it into a dinosaur cake for my Son's birthday before!
I baked a cake and it changed my life.
Seven years ago, for my son’s first birthday, I stood in my tiny kitchen on a narrowboat in London and baked his birthday cake.
I had been attempting to create a healthier version and I came up with my first vegetable cake.
One layer was chocolate and beetroot, the other layer chocolate squash.
The icing was avocado chocolate frosting.
It went down a storm and my obsession with cramming as much veg as I could into desserts was borne.
Fast forward a few years and I turned that moment into a full-time food blogging career, this very magazine column and eventually a cookbook about vegetable cakes and desserts.
That’s one heck of a life-changing cake.
Check out the Veggie Desserts + Cakes cookbook on Amazon
Vegetable Cake Recipes
I’ve since baked all sorts of crazy cakes for my kids’ birthdays and other celebrations.
Even sometimes just because it’s a Tuesday or to bring a ray of sunny cake joy to a rainy day.
From Vanilla Pea Cake to Apple Kale Cake, I’ve made plenty of naturally green cakes over the years.
So now I wanted to share with you all a show-stopping bright green Vanilla Spinach Cake.
You can’t taste the spinach at all, so it’s a vanilla cake with a leafy green secret.
My kids are my number one taste testers and they gave this recipe very enthusiastic thumbs up.
I hope you’ll enjoy it as well and surprise your family, friends or colleagues with the secret behind its vivid colour.
You'll also love my Spinach Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting and Spinach Muffins.
My cookbook, Veggie Desserts and Cakes, full of creative desserts with vegetables, is now available on Amazon (UK, Canada, USA, Australia and more) - affiliate link
Step by Step Tutorial
Follow these easy steps to make a perfect Vanilla Spinach Cake!
1: Steam or simmer the spinach for a few minutes until wilted.
2: Run the spinach under cold water to refresh, then drain.
3: Lightly squeeze out any excess moisture.
4: Puree well with a hand blender and set aside.
5: Add the eggs (or flax eggs to make it vegan), oil, vanilla, applesauce and sugar to a large bowl.
6: Mix well until all combined.
7: Mix in the pureed spinach.
8: Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and gently stir to combine.
Pour into prepared baking pans and bake for 25 minutes.
Then cool completely and cover with vanilla frosting.
Add a tiny bit of water if necessary to puree the spinach easier
Try to get the spinach to a paste for a vibrant and even green colour
Don't over-mix the batter after adding the flour - just combine it well with no streaks of flour.
Make it vegan - use flax eggs instead. To replace each egg in the recipe, mix one tablespoon ground flaxseed meal with three tablespoons of water then leave to stand for 10 minutes. Add in the recipe where it calls for eggs. Also swap to dairy free butter and milk in the frosting.
Follow this step-by-step photo tutorial, then scroll down to the recipe card for the full ingredients list and method.
Vanilla Spinach Cake with Vanilla Frosting
- 3 cups (150g) raw spinach
- 3 large eggs (or flax eggs, see note)
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup (150g) sugar
- ⅔ cup (100g) smooth applesauce
- ½ cup (100ml) vegetable oil
- 2 cups (250g) plain flour
- 3 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the vanilla frosting
- ½ stick (75g) unsalted butter
- 2 cups (250g) powdered icing sugar sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Optional - sprinkles to decorate
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C. Grease and line 2 x 8 inch (20cm) cake tins.
- Steam or simmer the spinach for a few minutes until wilted.
- Run under cold water to refresh, drain and squeeze out any excess moisture.
- Puree well with a hand blender and set aside.
- Beat the eggs, oil, vanilla, applesauce and sugar together well. Beat in the spinach puree.
- Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and gently stir to combine.
- Pour into the prepared tins and bake for 25 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the vanilla frosting
- Beat all ingredients together until fluffy. If necessary add a little more milk to thin or icing sugar to thicken.
- Refrigerate until ready to spread on the completely cooled cake. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.
- The nutritional information provided is approximate and is created with online calculators. Info will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
- Puree the spinach to a paste for an even bright green colour. Add a tablespoon of water if necessary to make it easier to puree.
- Make it vegan: Use flax eggs (see below, dairy-free butter and dairy free milk!
- Flax eggs: For each egg (there are 3 in this recipe) mix 1 tablespoon of ground flax with three tablespoon of water. Allow to stand for 10 minutes and then use in the recipe where it calls for eggs.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.
Made this for St. Paddy's, and it came out a success! Not overly sweet, no spinach taste but maybe some subtle depth or savoryness? Very subtle, and could all just be in my head because I wanted it to taste special. Either way, it tasted great. My notes:
1. Cooked the cakes for 25 min, but the cake came out a little dry for me/my preference. Next time I'll consider aiming for a shorter bake time. Note that I did not immediately remove the cakes from their pans when they were out of the oven, but waited a minute or two, which may be a baking faux pas and could have contributed to the dryness? Some tasters didn't feel it was overbaked (possibly to be kind to me 😉 ), so your mileage may vary.
2. I felt 1.5x the icing, or so, would have been a little better. It's nice that the cake isn't in danger of being overly iced (I don't like too too much icing on a cake), and the amount of icing works, but *a little more* icing would have looked nicer, and been possibly preferable for me. I, however, did try to ice the sides (unlike the images) , so that contributed to my cake not looking so nice as I was aiming for.
3. Substituted half of the veggie oil for liquid coconut oil I had on hand. Don't know if this contributed to any dryness (doubt it), but noting it here because it seemed to work out, and particularly, didn't cause the cake to taste coconut-y if that's a concern.
4. Substituted half of the vanilla extract in the icing for almond extract, which was great! If you like almond flavor, that worked wonderfully for adding to the cake, but not making the almond flavor overpowering. The substitution went a long way, IMO!
Other things: my cake didn't turn out quite as green as the photos, but I also didn't get a great puree (might have squeezed too much water out of the spinach). Next time I'll consider doing less squeezing, adding more spinach, putting more effort into a better puree, or maybe pureeing along with the applesauce and oil or eggs (not sure if that would work/get a better puree, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯). I'm also considering adding pureed spinach to the frosting next time! And/or beets for a green and purple monster cake! Also considering trying some spinach in a chocolate cake, just to get them in there! The possibilities are endless! I had no idea!
Thank you for a wonderful recipe. I have a sweet tooth, but loved that this wasn't overly saccharine, and it feels good knowing I'm getting some vitamins with desert! After this one, I know I'll be here to peruse plenty more 🙂
I've never written a review for an online recipe before, but this was so incredible, I just have to thank Kate. I made this cake in sheet pan form rather than the round layers and it turned out great (just increased baking time). In lieu of the vanilla frosting, I made a version with nonfat Greek Yogurt whipped with cream cheese and a few tablespoons of Swerve confectioners sugar. Then topped the whole thing off with sauce made of fresh nectarines. Absolutely delicious! Thank you so very much for this beautiful recipe! I will be making it on a regular basis ☺❤
Do you have pictures of how you made it a Dino cake?! I’m wanting to do a Dino cake for my sons first birthday and would love some inspiration. Going to check out your book now. Thank you!
This is the way I'm makin all my cakes from now on. Best texture ever, moist and keeps it's shape. I took the creative liberty of chopping 1 large Granny Smith Apple into small cubes and mixing them into the batter a the end. I was vry impresed and so were my guests. Next time I'll try it with flax instead of egg to see if it compares.
I must love this recipe and cake.. I put an orange frosting or gin flavour on the top as well sometimes.. it’s so light as well. Love your recipes and ideas which I do sometimes always tune out fab...thank you
This cake is so amazing! The spinach doesn't have a distinct taste in the cake but it adds such a depth to the flavour that is so decadent! Who said veggies don't belong in dessert??
Just made this for St. Patrick's Day, but in cupcake form. They are delicious! I'm not usually a cake person, but these are just subtly sweet, not overpowering at all, which makes them a winner for me.
I tried this and loved it! Is there a gluten free version I could make?
I really love this spinach Cake.. I have used flax eggs. This cake taste is really amazing taste nd now my kids favorite. Thank you for this recipe.
What a delicious way to enjoy spinach. very delicious. Thanks for sharing.
Easy to make: fluffy, delicious, moist and a beautiful vibrant green! My 11 year old daughter and I had a great time making this cake!
I have made this cake three times now... and it’s fabulous. You don’t taste the spinach. I made one for St Patrick’s day for anyone who had a green beer had a piece of cake.. went down very well in my local micro pub... I also made one gluten free which was very tasty
Thanks for the recipe — I've just made it (for St Patrick's Day!) into bitesize mini cupcakes, and it worked a treat! I put a generous teaspoon of mixture into mini silicone muffin cases, and baked for 15–18 mins. The colour is fantastic 🙂
I made this spinach cake and used VeganEgg, I told my husband it was green food dye, as he doesn’t like greens...
I also used Trex for the vanilla topping, not sure about that? The cake tasted even better after a day. I have now ordered you Cooke book so will be trying out loads of Veggie cakes and desserts..
What an amazing colour and this would be great for a kids birthday cake! Especially if it was nature themed. Its great that the flavour fades out to vanilla too!
This looks amazing! I love the green colour and that you can sneak in a vegetable into something so tasty x
Treasure Every Moment
Oo this sounds intriguing - I've never tried a cake with spinach before, but do love a beetroot cake 🙂
I am loving the fact you sneaked some healthy veggies into this, will have to give it a try
Now I bet this is an interesting mix of flavours. I don't think I would have ever thought of adding spinach to cake! I would be interested to try it though.
What a great way to hide veggies - my kids hate eating veggie but they'd certainly eat it like this! It looks so delicious.
Oh wow this cake is amazing! I love the colour, how unusual too! I bet it tastes amazing!
What a wonderful color for a cake. This is so inventive!
This is brilliant! And I can totally eat a huge slice because spinach is healthy!
Such a creative recipe. The sprinkles make it so festive!
It is a very pretty green color. I like the idea of using veggies to dye the cake instead of food dyes!
What a clever idea! I bet this would be fun for a Grinch cake during the holidays or Hulk birthday party too!