autumn, recipe, snack, sweet, vegetable

Butternut Squash Cake with Brown Sugar Cream

The opulent selection of squash and gourds at the Farmer’s Market is one of the most decorative and delicious parts of autumn. In fact, for Canadian Thanksgiving I even made them into place settings! This picture is from my Instagram account:

Thanksgiving name tags done! šŸ™‚

A photo posted by Cocoa Bean, The Vegetable (@cocoabeantheveg) on

Isn’t that cute?

But with squash you can only make so many place settings and puree so much into soup. Eventually you get sick of it. That is, until you integrate these golden carafes of sweet buttery-ness into a dessert. Oh yes.

This cake has the subtle flavours of beer and olive oil, both rich and slightly bitter. But they elevate the natural sweetness of the squash puree and balance out the spiceness of the cinnamon. Mixed together with the velvety texture of the brown sugar cream and the crunchy spiced pecans, the sweetness level is just enough. Oh, and although this cake is divine on its own, please don’t skimp on the cream and the spiced pecans! Together they make the most amazing dessert. It’s worth the extra effort.

What do you like to make with extra squash? Let us know in the comments!


Butternut Squash Cake with Brown Sugar Cream


(Brown sugar cream)

  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp unflavoured powdered gelatin (or equivalent in sheets or gel)
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3 large egg whites

(Butternut squash cake)

  • 1 and 1/2 cups butternut squash cubes (3/4inch size pieces)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup each of olive oil and canola oil
  • 1/2 cup beer, preferably one you enjoy drinking
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. In a small dish place 1 tbsp of water and the gelatin. Allow it to stand for ten minutes to soften.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, stir cream and sugar together until the sugar dissolves. Add the egg whites and whisk until mixture thickens, about 12 minutes. Be careful not to boil.
  3. Once thickened, remove from heat and stir in the gelatin mixture. Strain the mixture into a clean bowl and chill until cold. When ready to serve, mix with a handmixer for about three minutes to lighten the texture.
  4. To make the cake, combine squash, milk and vanilla in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer the mixture partially covered until the squash is fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Drain away the milk and puree the squash. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
  5. Grease a 10-inch spring-form pan and preheat the oven to 375F.
  6. Place 1 cup of the squash puree in large bowl. Add sugar, oil, beer, and eggs and beat to blend. Fold in the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Pour mixture into the prepared baking pan.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool before removing from pan.

Serves 12.

Plating: place a dollop of the cream on the plate and smear it once with the back of a spoon. Place the cake and garnish with spiced pecans.