Spinach Cake

This is a Turkish cake Ispanakli Kek (Spinach Cake) that I came across a few years ago.  You cannot tell its spinach, so don’t tell your guest or kids your secret ingredient until after they ate it…they will be amazed! Sometimes, the green is a richer and darker colour and sometimes its lighter, it does not affect the taste of the cake, its just the type of spinach I guess. 

Its a great way to get your kids to eat spinach, with out them even knowing! Just ask who wants some green cake?

Update: It’s been about 8 years now that I have been making this cake, and honestly no one has guessed the secret ingredient! :)



What you will need: 

  • 3 eggs
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 1/2 cups of sugar
    1- 6 oz or 8 oz bag of (big leaf) spinach, you need 1 cup puree, 3/4 cup is fine too*
    3/4 cup of olive oil (light or extra light works best)
    2 tbsp lemon juice
    2 cups flour
    3 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    Sweetened whipped cream or cool whip

Remove stems from spinach if too thick or long. Puree spinach in food processor or blender till pureed and looks like baby food, takes a few minutes so be patient.

Beat eggs and sugar till light and creamy, add vanilla. Add oil, lemon juice and 1 cup pureed spinach mix well.

In a separate bowl sift flour, baking powder, and salt (I use a whisk and blend in a bowl) and blend into spinach mixture for 1 minute. Pour into greased 3L (13×9 inch)Pyrex glass pan.

Bake at 350 for about 30 mins check with toothpick. Let cool in pan, when completely cool top with whipped cream.

If you like you can make it in 2- 9 inch pans and layer the cake, or make cupcakes.

* Use fresh not frozen spinach

* I have used 3/4 cups of puree and it is lighter in flavour, and it works just fine


This is the texture you want for the spinach puree, that can be achieved using a food processor or blender

Spinach puree with the egg mixture

Spinach cake batter, beat batter for 1 minute, do not over beat

Spinach Cupcakes

Spinach Cupcakes with Whipped Cream

So I made them with lemon buttercream mixed with whipping cream, was gonna make them with lemon cream cheese as suggested by some of you, but I forgot to take out the cream cheese to soften and I don’t have a microwave. The buttercream was delicious!

I used 1 stick of butter and 4 cups icing sugar for the buttercream and combined it with 1/2 cup of whipped cream, was enough icing for 22 cupcakes. I topped them with ground pistachios and strawberries. The kids loved it!:)

Spinach Cake Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting


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  1. I love this!

  2. just found this on pinterest. We are doing a Veggie of the month and Spinach is for March – can't wait to try this

  3. I made this cake the other day. My intention was to follow your recipe exactly. But then I came up 1/4 C short of pureed spinach…that's when the improvising started! I added 1/4 C unsweetened applesauce to make up the difference and while I was at it I substituted a 1/4 C of the oil with applesauce, too. It was amazing! I took some of the cake with me to work today and had my friends do a "secret ingredient" taste test. It was a hit! ( I also made a cream cheese frosting instead of whipped cream) Think I'll make them in muffin form next time with a lemon glaze…Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  4. Thank you for posting this interesting recipe. I saw it on Pinterest when I was looking for some ideas for St. Patrick's Day. I adjusted the oil/spinach/lemon ratios just a bit and it was still super moist. Very tasty! I did a blog about it if you'd like to check it out…. http://joandsue.blogspot.com/2012/03/turkish-lemo
    Thanks again for sharing!

  5. For a very long time I have been thinking to make it, I think that day has come today. I'm just going to make it & have a piece with my green tea. I can even taste my imagination. Thanks for the lovely recipe. One question if I use brown sugar will it change anything or it doesn't matter. Let me know. Thanx in advance.

  6. Can i use frozen spinach?

    • Hi Salma! It will not turn out right with frozen, it must be fresh! :)

      • I just threw caution to the wind and used one 300g package of frozen spinach in my Blendtec blender with the eggs. Left the rest of the ingredients the same except: used 1 C wholewheat flour and 1 C white flour, and reducing sugar to 1 C. It turned out delicious. Not sure how it compares to the real recipe, but as a cake, it did work. Usually recipes calling for frozen spinach say drain or squeeze out the water, but for this recipe since I was substituting for fresh spinach, I didn’t drain it.

  7. Is the lemon juice to keep the color vibrant or for flavor?

    • Hi Amy! Both! The lemon gives a fresh flavour, brightens the spinach both in colour and taste, you cannot taste the lemon necessarily once the cake is baked, well at least I cannot.
      Thank you Amy! :)

  8. What is the flavor of the cake, like a white cake? Also, baby spinach or cooking spinach? Or does it not matter…

    • Hi Jasmine! Well I cannot say it tastes like white cake, it has a flavour to it….just can't really describe it…it doesn't taste like spinach though..they're is a very light taste of lemon, which is probably why many have iced the cake with lemon frosting, to enhance the lemon flavour.
      As long as its fresh spinach either will work, I find though that the larger leaves give it a more green colour!
      Thank you!

  9. What a delight!

  10. Was just wondering if you could use the pureed spinach for coloring the cakes green in other cakes instead of food coloring and would it change the taste much.Always trying ot get healthier options.Still am looking for a healthy coloring for red velvet cake instead of a bottle of red .I tried beets,not very good.Thanks for the Recipe

    • Hi Lyla, thank you for your question! I actually made a chocolate marble cake using spinach to make the green, and no one even knew…and I didn’t tell anyone! For all they knew I used food colouring! ;) I too tried beets for red velvet…it was different..you can tell it makes a difference in taste! Going to try pomegranate and see how that works:) Here is the link to my chocolate marble cake http://momwhats4dinner.com/chocolate-marble-cake/

  11. It was so delicious & YUMMY, had it with green tea. I have made it once & can not wait to try it again. Great recipe & lovely pictures. Very neat & sneaky way to feed your picky eaters some healthy greens without telling them. They will ask for more, Hooray………

    • Thank you Saira! Your absolutely right…it is such a sneaky way to get kids eating their veggies without knowing! That is the best part!;) Thanks for the compliment about the pics, I really had fun with the cupcakes:)

  12. I'm ready to make it again, such a lovely treat, you do not feel bad after eating it. After all it's a Spinach cake, can not be bad for you. Thanks for a lovely & tasty recipe.

  13. Do you have the nutritional info? If it's there and I missed it, I do apologize!

  14. Danielle says:

    Can the 2 cups of flour be substituted for anything else? Almond, coconut….

    • I don’t really know the answer to that Danielle, you would have to try it and see. I never baked with almond or coconut flour…sorry I couldn’t be more help, I would assume that if you substitute for other recipes and it works, it should work for this :)

  15. The beautiful cake I did using your recipe! :-)

    The core is spinach cake, the other one is vanilla.

    • I would love to see it, the link does not work…I tried finding it on your blog..couldn’t find it there either! Thank you for trying it and letting me know you liked it :)

  16. Your picture got accepted & I'm so happy for you. This doesn't only look good it also tastes fabulous, I love the color combo, great job.

  17. I tried these.. and they were ok but I think I must've done something wrong.. for one.. my spinach didn't get pureed as much as yours.. I used a food processor but it wasn't going anymore than what I did. Suggestions for this?

    Also.. I didn't have "extra light" olive oil so I just used EVOO and I felt like you could taste the olive oil taste too much. I want to try it with coconut oil.. I think that will taste better..

    Lastly.. they weren't very moist.. did I do something wrong in that? Most people said they were…

    • Hi Saba,
      The spinach has to be pureed to the point where it looks like baby food, in a food processor it does take some time as I mentioned…can take up to 5 minutes, you can try using a hand blender if you have one or blender.
      Secondly EVOO is way to strong for baking, it will over power the taste of what your baking, you can use veg oil if you have any, a reader mentioned that she used that and it worked out fine for her. As far as coconut oil, one reader mentioned she was going to try that, but she didn’t tell me if it worked out for her.
      The cake or cupcakes are moist, it could be cause the spinach wasn’t pureed enough, or it was over baked…cannot think of anything else. I hope that it works out for you next time…please do let me know. Good luck Saba! :) ~Donika

  18. Thank you so much for sharing, I made it and it came out well :) all at home loved it..

  19. Donika, this cake looks divine! Although I’m a Turk and I’ve seen spinach cake many times, I’ve never tried to make it myself. Your gorgeously green cake has tempted me much, so I will try it soon! Thanks!
    zerrin recently posted…Very Fresh Mint Ice CreamMy Profile

  20. I have made this twice. The first time i didnt do smthg right so it didnt turn out right but still tasted great. The second time I used whole wheat flour (which made it more dense) coconut sugar, and a combo of olive oil and coconut oil. However it wasnt very moist at all. I thing its because I could never get my food processor to puree the spinach like baby food and after 15 minutes I gave and just put it in the cake. I know what to do for next time and I will be trying again with whole wheat pastry flour, coconut sugar, coconut oil and properly pureed spinach as I absolutely love this recipe despite the fact that I havnt gotten quite right yet. Thanks so much for posting!

    • Hi Ashley, yes the spinach must be pureed much like baby food, the liquid helps make the cake moist as well. When making cakes, white flour works best for a fluffy texture, I suggest organic white flour, it’s unbleached and not processed like regular flour, and still works great with baking, I use it all the time! I never baked with coconut sugar, seems to be okay, coconut oil is a bit dense, you need a more fluid like oil, that I why I use olive oil(not extra virgin, just regular or light tasting), as I don’t use canola etc. Good luck, and thank you for your comment. ~Donika

    • To help the spinach get over the last bit from pieces to puree I added the lemon juice. It was just enough liquid to help get everything moving instead of stuck.

  21. I haven’t made this and it looks amazing, but I am thinking after reading all the comments that perhaps pureed baby food spinach could be used? Just a thought :)

    • Thanks Jill, you mean like jarred baby food? I would say NO! Fresh spinach has a nice and light fresh flavour as apposed to baby food that doesn’t taste good at all. If you have a good food blender it shouldn’t take long to process, good luck :)

  22. I had bagged fresh spinach that needed to be used and for this of you having trouble, I found while trying to make it ” baby food consistency” ( or mush, as I call it) the spinach didn’t have enough moisture left in it’s leaves to be anything more than chopped, so I added a Tblsp out of the oil that’s called for and it blended perfectly.

    Hope that’s helpful to some of you!

  23. Marrium says:

    Please tell any healthier white sugar alternative?

    Olive oil costs high. Can you give any suggestion about this issue ?


  24. This looks delicious! I reblogged it and linked back to your site. Thanks for a yummy recipe!
    LocalLavender recently posted…Eat Your GreensMy Profile

  25. Hi! I’ve just tried the receipy, but it’s so much lighter in green than yours. I was wondering, how about using cooked/baked (don’t know exactly the word in english) spinach, so that maybe the colour would be brighter? Do you think it would change the taste?

    • Hi Alex, you do not want to use cooked spinach, only fresh raw spinach, it would ruin the flavour of the cake. If you use baby spinach it will be lighter. Every batch of spinach is different. If you use dark leaved spinach it should make a darker batter. As you can tell by the photo’s the cupcake is lighter than the cake.
      Thank you for your question.

  26. I was looking for a recipe to use some canned spinach and found this. I used one can of spinach squeezed the water out and still pureed it. Plus I didn’t have oil so I used unsweetened applesauce and added an extra tsp. of vanilla since I didn’t have lemon juice. My daughter and I loved it! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Wow, I never heard of canned spinach, how interesting! Thank you for letting me know, happy to hear it worked out for you Nikki! Oh and thanks for telling me the applesauce worked, I was asked about it before.


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