What Are the Different Types of Butternut Squash Cake?

Cynde Gregory

It was a happy day in the culinary world when cooks discovered that cakes created out of butternut squash not only offered nutritional pluses such as high fiber and vitamins A and C, but they also upped the flavor ante and improved the cake’s texture. There are nearly as many types of butternut squash cake as there are cooks to make them. Among the most popular are a gingery spice cake, an apple cake with streusel topping, and even a super moist, chocolate butternut squash cake as well as several savory options.

A sugary version of butternut squash cake can be topped with maple syrup.
A sugary version of butternut squash cake can be topped with maple syrup.

Spice cakes are much loved for the way their bright flavor bouquet dances on the diner’s tongue. Traditional spice cakes employ allspice, nutmeg, and a shake or two of cinnamon. Some add ginger for a little extra zing, and even a little black pepper keeps things lively. Butternut spice cake adds squash mash to the batter to make the cake denser, moister, and altogether more delicious.

Most butternut squash cakes feature pureed butternut squash.
Most butternut squash cakes feature pureed butternut squash.

Cooks looking for a healthy way to sneak squash into a sweet treat without adding too much fat or sugar will find it in an apple squash cake. The apple and squash offer their own complex sugars to help sweeten the cake while simultaneously adding a good helping of fiber and vitamins to boot. Including golden raisins and a splash of orange juice adds to the healthy fun. The streusel adds a gingery snap and the surprise of pine nuts as well.

Those who think that, if it looks like a dessert and smells like a dessert, then all bets are off in the eating healthy department might prefer a truly indulgent frosted and sugary version of butternut squash cake. Some cooks opt for canned pureed squash for convenience, while others prefer the tender texture of grated, fresh squash instead. A confectioner’s sugar icing with cream cheese, maple syrup, and some orange zest is one way to go. Another option is a thicker, butter-based frosting flavored with rum extract.

No one says butternut squash cake needs to be a dessert. Savory choices abound. One includes rice, carrots, and scallions in addition to the squash. A little olive oil, a splash of white wine, and a dash of grated cheese add personality. Bread crumbs help the ingredients bind, so the cook can shape them into burgers to bake or fry.

Another unusual savory option is a pancake made with grated butternut squash as well as a little minced onion, ginger, and garlic. This is terrific served with melting butter. Another topping option is a creamy cheese sauce.

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