spinach cake © 2012 theCrackerBoxKitchen. All rights reserved.

Spinach Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

OK. I know, you’re already freaked out. “Spinach cake? She’s lost her mind.” Hold on, let your nausea subside, and trust me. The black bean chocolate cake didn’t turn out so bad did it? And I can’t tell you how many people said, “ewe” before they tasted it.

I love coming across recipes that use unexpected ingredients. And I especially love this one because you can make a novel (St. Patrick’s Day) dessert and not use ANY food colouring. (Well, except the sprinkles, but those were homemade, and optional.)   I stay away from red velvet cake for that very reason, all that red dye #40 can’t be good for you. Someday I will try my hand at an au natural red velvet cake.

But back to the green.

I made two batches of batter: one for a cake using olive oil; and one for cupcakes using veggie oil. I was a little worried about the strong aroma of the olive oil (and I didn’t want a cake that tasted like olive oil and spinach), so I switched to veggie oil for the cupcake batch, (which I took to work.) As it turned out, all olivey flavour disappeared with the baking.

Haha, I just realized that this cake has olive oil and spinach. Popeye would be proud.


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1.5-2 cups fresh spinach (not frozen)
  • 3/4 cup of olive oil or coconut oil; can sub for vegetable oil or unsweetened apple sauce, (or a combo of plain yogurt and oil.)
  • 2 tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • 2 cups flour, sifted with
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • 1 8oz package cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or lemon, which is quite tasty, or almond if that’s your thing)
  • 1 1/2 TBS half-and-half or milk (add more if consistency if too thick)


Preheat oven to 350°

Put away your mixer and get out your blender!  Add eggs, vanilla, sugar, lemon/lime juice, and spinach to the blender and blend (“puree” if your blender has that setting) until smooth.

Next, pop the top off that hole in the blender lid and slowly pour in the oil while the blender is on a low setting– you don’t want spinach goop on your ceiling! (Update: If you’re using coconut oil (which has become my favourite oil to use) – heat it in the microwave until liquid.)   In adding the oil this way, you’re basically making an emulsion (think Hollandaise sauce), which I think makes a really smooth, silky batter.

Then, if you don’t want to dirty up your mixer,  sift together your dry ingredients and add them directly to the blender about a 1/4 cup at a time. (Again through that little whole in the lid.) Pulse to “mix”.

Grease pan of your choice, line with parchment (parchment is your friend!), lightly grease top of parchment,  then pour in batter.

  • cupcakes: makes 18 “overflowing” cupcakes; you could probably put less batter in each tin and come out with 22 cupcakes
  • 9 x 13 sheet cake
  • 2 9″ rounds
  • 3 6″ rounds (as seen in photo) (for evenness of layers – there are 2 1/3 cups batter/tin)

Cupcakes: bake for 15-20 minutes, check with toothpick @ 15min
Rounds/sheetcake: 30 minutes, check with toothpick @ 20 min

When done, remove from pans (except sheetcake) and let cool on wire racks for at least an hour. Whip-up your frosting, slather, and serve!

Oh, and if you want homemade sprinkles: Pour white sugar (or you can you raw sugar – larger granules) into a sealable plastic container, add a few (3-5) drops of green food colouring, seal container and SHAKE! Add more food colouring to achieve richer colour.

Recipe source: Adapted from MomWhat’s4Dinner.com


  1. Made this cake today with two changes:

    I used frozen spinach and my trusty blender.
    1 Avocado substituted the olive oil.

    yum yum yum

    • theCrackerBoxKitchen

      I highly recommend using fresh v/s frozen spinach– makes a much smoother batter. I do however like the idea of using avocado instead of oil. Might try that myself!

  2. jill

    Interesting! I think I’ll try this, but make it vegan.

  3. I love this! I will definately try this on my picky eater. How do I subscribe so I can know of future recipees?

    • theCrackerBoxKitchen

      Thanks for reading! To subscribe, scroll up on this page and look for “Subscribe to this blog!” on the right side bar. (Under “Search the Recipe Box” and “Categories”.)

  4. Anna

    Awesome cake. I followed the recipe exactly (using extra virgin olive oil) and it came out very very good. For the frosting I used light cream cheese, a tbs of butter, no milk only about half the sugar, and thought it was sweet enough. I’ll definitely make it again. Thanks for posting this!

  5. Diane Cheng

    ◾1 1/2 half-and-half or milk (add more if consistency is too thick)
    On the frosting is it 1 1/2 tsp or tbls or oz or cans or ????
    I just made the cake its in the oven baking cant wait to share with friends and family. I used my Nutri Bullet to juice the spinach with a bit of water. I also used my Nutri Bullet to whip the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Beautifully whipped and light! If you could add the amount of milk or half and half greatly appreciate it it would save me time on checking another cream cheese frosting recipe or make an educated guess. Again Thank YOU!! Who knew! SPINACH CAKE! Love it!

    • theCrackerBoxKitchen

      Thanks for your comment! I’m pretty sure I meant TABLESPOONS of half and half. (More or less as needed.) Happy baking!

  6. Melissa

    There are some excellent red velvet cake recipes out there using beets and they look bright and healthy. I love this green cake and plan on making the cupcakes to go with a beet Red Velvet Cake for my mother-in-law’s birthday. So thank you, as she loves her veggies!

    • theCrackerBoxKitchen

      That sounds like a fun, festive birthday! I have a red velvet with beet juice recipe as well, just haven’t had a chance to try it out yet.
      If you want something *really* delicious (though not quite as colourful) check out my black bean chocolate cake: https://crackerboxkitchen.com/cooking/black-bean-chocolate-cake/– it’s to-die-for!
      (Please ignore the bad photo– that was from way back when I first started blogging. 🙂

  7. This is a very fun cake, and it tastes pretty good. The texture was perfect, and it was a bright, vibrant green (the most important part). I personally thought that it tasted too much like olive oil, though. Maybe the olive oil I used was a particularly strong-tasting one? In any case, if I made this again I would probably use a less flavorful oil, like canola or some such. Overall, however, I am very glad I found your recipe!

    • theCrackerBoxKitchen

      Give it a try with coconut oil. That’s pretty much all I use now. It’s a solid at room temperature, so you’ll have to melt it. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

  8. Maria

    Hi! I really want to try this cake, but I have a question: do you use fresh raw spinach or do you boil them first? Thank you so much!

    • theCrackerBoxKitchen

      Hi! I use fresh spinach. Just make sure it’s pre-washed (or wash it yourself), but no need to boil! Happy Eating!

  9. Dian

    Hi, thank you for sharing this recipe. I want to bake it for my son birthday party.
    I would like to know if I can change the Cheese frosting into Chocolate frosting??
    Thank you

  10. Hi! This is so ingenious. I was wondering is 1.5-2 packed cups of spinach? Would you happen to have the measurement in weight? Thanks!

    • theCrackerBoxKitchen

      Hi! Unfortunately, I don’t have the spinach quantity by weight, but I think I usually buy a 10oz bag. If you’re a little short, the cake should still turn out fine. Happy baking! 🙂

  11. Alisa

    What kind of flour does this recipe call for? 2 cups of all-purpose flour or is it cake flour? Also, does the cake have any subtle taste of spinach at all or does it just have a hint of vanilla taste to it?

    Thanks in advance and great idea on making a spinach cake! Looking forward to making this someday.

    • theCrackerBoxKitchen

      Hi! I use unbleached all purpose flour. I don’t think this cake has any spinach-y flavour. If you’re concerned about that, you could always add a little more vanilla extract, or even almond.
      I’ve also made a mint chocolate chip version (not included on this blog), but that took much more extract (close to 1/2 a bottle) to really get a minty flavour that holds up after baking.

  12. Yuka

    Hi there!
    Since this recipe calls for 3/4 cup of oil and I would like to sub it with yogurt, would I need to omit the oil and just use 3/4 cup of yogurt? Could I also reduce the oil and add yogurt too? if I reduced the oil to 1/4 cup, how much yogurt would I need to add?

    Also, if I added both oil AND yogurt, or just subbing all the oil with yogurt, will it affect the outcome of the cake because of the ratio of wet:dry ingredients? I would like to produce a moist cake but I am uncertain of how it will affect the batter/texture/volume/baking time.


    • theCrackerBoxKitchen

      I would recommend using unsweetened applesauce instead of yogurt in a 1:1 exchange. Yogurt can be a little tricky. If you insist on using yogurt, you won’t be able to substitute all of the oil. You’d use 6TBS oil + 9TBS of yogurt, or a 1/2:3/4 ratio. You can also use coconut oil (which I pretty much use exclusively in baking these days) instead of vegetable oil. Happy Baking!

  13. Revankar

    Hi, here in India there are a lot of options for spinach. Any particular spinach you suggest?

    • theCrackerBoxKitchen

      Any kind you like. Although the baking cooks out the spinach flavour, I’d go with a mild flavored variety just to be on the safe side.

  14. Ana Rios

    Can you prepare this using a food processor??

    • theCrackerBoxKitchen

      I don’t see why not. You might not get quite as fine of a “chop” on the spinach as with a blender though. When I’ve made Black Bean Chocolate Cake (https://crackerboxkitchen.com/cooking/black-bean-chocolate-cake/) with the food processor, the beans didn’t cut as fine as with the blender. It just has to do with how the blade pulls the batter through the rotation of the blade. Food processors work differently than blenders. But go ahead and give it a whirl! (No pun intended.) Report back if it does (or doesn’t) work out.

  15. Zoe Blarowski

    Hi, I’m a writer with Care2.com and I’d love to include a link to this recipe in an article. Is it alright if I also use your photo? Thanks!

    • theCrackerBoxKitchen

      Sorry for the delay! If your deadline has not passed, yes, you may use this photo. Please credit to (c)CrackerBoxKitchen.com -Thanks!

  16. Dee

    I live alone so need to adapt the recipe, so how would I do this as it does not halve easily. Example 3 eggs.

    Its a beautiful looking cake I really want to try and its healthy

  17. Charlie

    Hi can i use something else instead of the eggs? thanks.

    • Jessica Beamon

      I’m not a vegan baker, so I can’t give you a definitive answer. Flaxseed and water is a common egg substitute; how well it works, I can’t tell you. You may also try a powdered egg replacer like EnerG. A simple Google search will give you other options as well. Best of luck!

  18. Grania

    I had spinach cake in our local restaurant last year They never repeated it
    I finally got down to making it for my partners birthday the other day
    It was delicious even better a few days later. I didn’t use as much cheese for the frosting (calorie counting) it was plenty. I used a scrap of coconut oil that’s all at end of jar and a bit of rapeseed oil I may try the suggestion by someone to use an avacado. Thanks for your generosity in sharing your recipes

  19. Susan

    What is the minimum amount of sugar required for this. Ake? And Can that amount be substituted with dates or banana etc?

    • Jessica Beamon

      Hi- You would probably be OK reducing the sugar to one cup (especially if you are going to frost the cake.) I cannot speak directly to substituting sugar with other foods such as dates or bananas, but you can probably find such information with an online search.

  20. Lily

    Hello, I was looking for a recipe on spinach dessert when I came across this page. I found it very useful and would love to bake it. If it’s not a bother, is there’s any way I can lower the amount of sugar and salt use or even substitute it with something else? Thank you.

    • Jessica Beamon

      Hi Lily- You can certainly reduce the amount of sugar by 1/2 a cup and leave it at that, or replace it with something like the equivalent amount of Stevia. You can also reduce the salt to 1/4 teaspoon. It’s there as a flavour enhancer and makes everything taste better, but you probably won’t miss it if it’s gone. Hope this helps. Happy baking!

  21. Carolyn

    Hi, I’ve been Vegan for 39 years. Vegan Baker and Cooker, but I have never seen a Spinach Cake recipe. When I saw this recipe I was so surprised!!!! Tonight I will be making this Spinach Cake. I am excited to see how it will turn out for me! I will let you know the results. Thank You So Much For sharing!

    • Jessica Beamon

      I’ve never made this recipe with an egg substitute, so please do let me know how it turns out! Bon appétit!

    • Carolyn

      Hi, Sorry I am just getting back to you, but I’ve had many deaths in my family. But to let you know, I did make this wonderful cake and it was absolutely delicious! I plan to make many more cakes using vegetables. Thank You Again!

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