Butternut Squash Cake with Caramel Frosting

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Have butternut squash you don’t know how to use?   Roast them, mash them, then bake them into this incredible Butternut Squash Cake filled with dried cranberries and pecans then top it all off with a combination of a buttercream and cream cheese caramel frosting for a decadent cake no one can refuse!  This post originally published in September 2013.

A slice of butternut squash cake topped with caramel frosting, a caramel drizzle, and pecans with two forks on the plate and the whole cake missing a slice in the corner.

A few years ago our school had professional development teams.  Our team was the special education team which consisted of 4 teachers and 4 instructional assistants.  Our topic for professional development was nutrition with our students. 

As part of this team we brought together our students for a half hour every Friday afternoon and introduced them to different fruits and vegetables every week for 18 weeks.  It really gave them a taste for fresh produce and some of them found fruits and vegetables they actually enjoyed!

After giving them the produce we then started having theme days such as juice day, veggies and dip day, and even hidden vegetable day.  Hidden vegetable day consisted of each team member baking a sweet treat with hidden vegetables in it.  I think I made tomato soup cake.  The kids got a huge kick out of figuring out what was in each of the treats.

Why am I telling you this?  Good question.  It’s because I’m sharing Butternut Squash Cake today.  I’m not a huge fan of butternut squash and when I received one in my CSA I didn’t know what to do with it.  Then I remembered reading that a lot of pumpkin puree is actually a combination of butternut squash and pumpkin because they taste so similar.

Ingredients:

  • butter
  • vegetable oil
  • brown sugar
  • eggs
  • butternut squash
  • flour
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • dried cranberries
  • pecans
  • cream cheese
  • powdered sugar
  • caramel sauce

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.   Spray a spring form pan with baking spray.   Combine the butter, oil, brown sugar, and eggs in a large bowl until smooth.  Add in the butternut squash and mix until combined.

In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until just combined.

Fold in the cranberries and nuts.  Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake 40-50 minutes.

Once the cake is cooled make the frosting by mixing the cream cheese and butter together until smooth.  Add in the powdered sugar, caramel, and milk and mix until smooth.

Frost the top of the cake and pipe on a decoration.  Top with pecans and caramel if desired.

Pin Image: A butternut squash cake topped with frosting, caramel drizzle, and pecans, text, a butternut squash cake.

What does butternut squash taste like?

It actually tastes like a combination of sweet potatoes and pumpkin.  I’ve made butternut squash cupcakes before and passed them off as pumpkin cupcakes and no one said a word.  They winter squashes have a lot of the same flavors.

Can I substitute something for the butternut squash?

You can substitute fresh roasted pumpkin puree in place of the squash though butternut squash is readily available and cheap. I would substitute half pumpkin and use half butternut squash in this case.

Do I have to use the frosting?

No!   I left the recipe for the lemon glaze if you prefer something light and simple.   The burst of brightness works well with the cake. You can also just do a dusting of powdered sugar on top.

Can I frost the sides?

Of course you can.  I chose not to because I like the way the naked sides looked, it made it easier to frost, and I liked that it wasn’t as sweet.  However, you can frost the entire thing if you want.

Do I have to add in the pecans and cranberries?

No you don’t.  You can simply leave them out or you can add raisins in place of the cranberries and either almonds or walnuts in place of the pecans.

I originally made this cake in 2013 and I topped it off with a simple lemon glaze.   If you are looking for a cake that is great for fall and doesn’t need a thick frosting then the lemon glaze is the way to go.

The original cake recipe had cinnamon roasted butternut squash as the base and added in cranberries and nuts, then was topped off with a lemon glaze.  The cake was super moist and I couldn’t taste the squash at all.  It was a pretty light orange color and the cinnamon whipped cream on top just added to the flavors in the cake.   This is a great cake for fall.

A pan of roasted butternut squash

More recipes using Winter Squash:

When I remade it this year I used the frosting because I wanted it to look prettier.  You’ll notice that I did not frost the sides of the cake and that’s because I wanted the flavor of the cake to really shine and not just the flavor of the frosting. 

The base of the cake tasted like a combination of a spiced, pumpkin, and butternut squash cake.  I liked the crunch from the pecans and the tartness of the cranberries.

The frosting is rich and creamy and pairs so well with the sturdy cake. It adds a bit of additional sweetness and creaminess to the spiced cake.  I added additional pecans to the top because they look pretty and added more crunch.  Then I drizzled caramel sauce on top to finish it off.

If you’ve tried my Butternut Squash Cake with Caramel Frosting or any other recipe on Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment letting me know how you liked it. I love hearing from you! You can FOLLOW ME on:

A butternut squash cake topped with frosting, caramel drizzle, and pecans.

Butternut Squash Cake with Caramel Frosting

Butternut Squash Cake is filled with dried cranberries and pecans then topped off with a combination of a buttercream and cream cheese caramel frosting for a decadent cake no one can refuse!
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Calories: 383kcal
Author: Hezzi-D

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 4 Tablespoons butter melted
  • 2 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. roasted butternut squash mashed
  • 1 1/4 c. flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 c. dried cranberries
  • 1/4 c. chopped pecans

For the lemon glaze (optional):

  • c. lemon juice
  • c. powdered sugar
  • ¼ c. honey

For the caramel frosting:

  • 1 stick 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4 oz. cream cheese softened
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons caramel sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 c. pecan halves

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Spray an 8 inch springform pan with baking spray and set aside.
  • In a large bowl combine the butter, oil, sugar, and eggs and beat until smooth.
  • Add in the mashed butternut squash and mix well.
  • In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix well.
  • Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until just combined being careful not to overmix.
  • Fold in the cranberries and pecans.
  • Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. If using the frosting remove from pan. If using the glaze leave the cake in the pan.
  • To make the glaze combine the lemon juice, powdered sugar, and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat for 5 minutes then remove from heat.
  • Once cake is cooled use a wooden skewer and poke holes all over the top of the cake. Pour the hot glaze over the holes and let sit for 30 minutes in the pan before removing.
  • To make the frosting place the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl and beat on medium high speed until smooth.
  • Add in the powdered sugar, caramel sauce, and milk and beat on high until smooth. Add in additional powdered sugar if needed.
  • Spread the frosting over the top of the cake. Then put the remaining frosting in a piping bag and pipe swirls around the edges.
  • Decorate with pecan halves and additional caramel sauce if desired.

Notes

Cake and glaze recipe adapted from Eats:  enjoy all the seconds - 135 Colourful Recipes to Savour & Save by Mary Rolph Lamontagne, Frosting recipe is a Hezzi-D Original Recipe

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 383kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 251mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 48g
A butternut squash cake topped with frosting, caramel drizzle, and pecans.

14 Comments

  1. In the cake ingredients there is no mention of cinnamon; I haven’t made the cake yet, so what’s the measure to add to flour, baking powder, etc.

  2. I think it’s so great that you are helping the kid with nutrition! I am so sad that they don’t teach more about it in school. My son took culinary and it started out great but then it was just baking brownies and not enough about eating healthy. I love this cake and how you can have sweets but still have healthy veggies in them!

  3. Everything about this sounds wonderful but I’m drooling over the caramel frosting. Sounds like a delicious combination.

  4. So, I’m not usually a frosting fan, however, this one sounds absolutely amazing! Good enough for me to possible even lick the beaters!!!

  5. This looks super tasty and I am just getting ready for fall baking! So pretty too–your caramel drizzling is perfect!

  6. I was so happy to have found this recipe when I was looking for uses for butternut squash! Who would have ever imagined a squash could become this decadent cake?? We loved it and there isn’t a crumb left!

  7. I DO have a butternut squash I don’t know what to do with! Plus, I have lots of pecans and some caramel sauce. Gotta make this.

  8. Thank you Heather for reading my book and testing the recipe that got me going on creating Eats:enjoy all the seconds!
    A bush camp, hyenas and nothing to eat led to this cake. Love it! Great review.

5 from 4 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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