Butternut Squash Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Butternut Squash Cake Pin

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting


This is the recipe that got me started as a blogger! This cake is scrumptious, moist, and a full of fall spices. You might want to kick your pumpkin loaf to the curb after sampling this gluten free butternut squash cake with maple cream cheese frosting.  Jump straight to the recipe.

In 2009, one of the editors at Care2 (the website where I work) asked if I ever made non-traditional Thanksgiving desserts.  In fact, I had just made a beautiful butternut squash cake with maple cream cheese frosting for a dinner party. My making this cake was pretty out of character since it was rare for me to bake and even more rare for me to bake well.

I think this was based on a buttery, sour creamy, pumpkin pound cake I found in one of my mother’s old cookbooks, but I have never been able to find the original recipe.  Anyway, I went to town on it, replacing all of the butter with grape seed oil and all of the sugar with maple syrup. There is low fat Greek yogurt and fresh pureed butternut squash and a whole lot of delicious spice in the cake.

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

When I sent the editors my butternut squash cake recipe, they published it.  I was pretty excited to see one of my recipes on the web; it was my very first!

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Months later, a woman named Laura C. Martin contacted me asking if she could use my recipe in a book to be published by Sterling Press called Green Market Baking Book. I almost threw the email away, I thought it had to be a hoax. She was throwing names like Alice Waters and around and saying they too had agreed to contribute to the book. How could I, who had only even posted one recipe on the web,  be in a book with one of my greatest food idols?

Butternut Squash Cake with Maple Frosting + A Giveaway

As you might guess, I didn’t throw the email away!  My recipe appears in the Green Market Baking Book. The recipes are really amazing and the illustrations are just beautiful! I could not be more proud. When it was time to go to press, I did not have a food blog yet, even though people had been encouraging me to start one for years. It was a note from the author notifying me that the book finally had a publishing date that finally made me get off my duff and start this site, so thanks, Laura. There is nothing like a missed opportunity to light a fire under my bum.

This gluten free butternut squash cake is the perfect fall treat- served with maple cream cheese frosting, this cake is 100% worthy of being your new Thanksgiving dessert. Fragrant with spices, this cake has a secret and surprising ingredient in the form of black pepper. Don’t let the pepper scare you! You won’t, exactly, taste the black pepper, but in undeniably adds a special note to the spice blend. If you need help cutting and peeling a butternut squash, I’ve got a great tutorial.

For even more fabulous butternut squash dishes, check out my Pinterest Board dedicated to this fabulous veggie.
Follow The Tomato Tart’s board Butternut Squash on Pinterest.butternut-squash-cake

Butternut Squash Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This gluten free butternut squash cake with maple cream cheese frosting is a tad sweet, a bit spicy, super moist, and so very cravable. Make it for a special treat or even for Thanksgiving dinner.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8 servings
  • 1 ¾ cups gluten free all purpose flour (no gums)
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 vanilla bean scraped
  • 2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ⅔ cup grape seed oil
  • ¾ cup grade b dark maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup roasted or steamed and pureed butternut squash (canned pumpkin or squash is a fine substitute)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest (optional)
  • 8 oz cream cheese- preferably without gums or fillers. I used Sierra Nevada Brand, Gina Marie and Dianna Supreme are two other fantastic options.
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon dark local honey
  1. Preheat oven to 350º and line a buttered 9 inch cake pane with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, vanilla bean, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, and salt
  3. Combine oil and maple syrup in the bowl of your stand mixer (a hand mixer or elbow grease work just fine too) and beat on high with whisk attachment until well combined. Add yogurt and beat until incorporated. Add eggs one by one, and beat well- scraping down the bowl with each addition. Add the butternut squash and mix to combine.
  4. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions- scraping down the bowl to make sure you've incorporated all of the ingredients.
  5. Bake in the center rack of your oven for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes then turn the cake onto a plate to cool completely. Cool completely before frosting with maple cream cheese icing. Top with orange zest for a pretty and yummy touch!
  8. Beat all ingredients on medium-high until well-combined


  1. says

    Ha – that is really cool! One recipe, one cookbook – kind of set the bar a little high, don't you think?

    And that looks delicious, but you didn't need me to tell you that …

  2. rosemarried says

    Oh, this is all so exciting! And that book looks amazing. And that cake looks amazing! Congrats, congrats, congrats.

  3. says

    What a wonderful opportunity for you!! I am already following you on Twitter ( or I was and then I pressed unfollow and then follow again, my mouse was going crazy) @frugalantics.

  4. says

    Congratulations! How awesome a feeling it must be to see your work on paper! Thats got to be so exciting :D (not to mention – the cake sounds yummy!)

  5. says

    Following you on FB! Was planning to do this anyway even without the give-away.
    Who can say no to another cookbook? :)
    Delicious looking cake by the way!

  6. says

    Already following you on twtiter via @yumivore, but I was sure to hit up the other three:
    – join the Green Market Baking Book’s Facebook page and Tomato Tart page
    – get The Tomato Tart via RSS

    If the cookbook isn't already available at Omnivore Books, it will be a great addition! And congrats!

  7. says

    Well I already follow you on twitter, but how did I not already "like" you on Facebook? Well I have now! I think it's AWESOME you have a recipe in a book! So exciting! And yes, that cake looks pretty fantastic. I hope I win and then get you to autograph it for me!

    • says

      Hi Tiffany,
      I chose grapeseed oil because it is a mildly flavored oil high in antioxidants, extremely low in saturated fat, and very high in poly unsaturated fat with a good dose of monounsaturated fats in there too. It’s also a great source of omega-6 fatty acids. I use grapeseed oil (always organic- grapes are sprayed and chemically fertilized a LOT) anywhere canola oil is recommended because canola is an engineered culitivar of rapeseed created in Canada. It actually stands for Canadian Oil Low Acid because rapeseed oil is too high acid to eat. Anyway, grapeseed oil is natural, and a beautiful bright green color. Oh, try making homemade mayo with it…. YUM!
      Here’s the brand I really dig:

  8. says

    What a great story! You sound honestly surprised at the attention paid to your recipe, but it looks as though you’ve struck a chord. People who don’t want to (or can’t) eat gluten and white sugar deserve tasty and beautiful desserts, and you’ve given them one. So good in fact, that it even tempts glutton and sugar-lovers like me:)


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