Winter Squash Spice Cake

Winter Squash Spice Cake. Photo © Molly Watson
    75 min
Ratings

Mashed cooked squash adds rich flavor and plenty of moisture to this spiced, delicious, easy cake. Serve this humble, homey cake plain with coffee, tea, or cold milk, or dress it up with a bit of whipped cream or ice cream. This cake is a great way to use leftover squash (if there's a bit of butter or sugar in the squash it doesn't matter much), and works nicely as dessert, a snack, or even as a coffee cake for breakfast.

Note that the spice mixture is quite flexible. The cake is tasty, if fairly simple, with just cinnamon. But you can fine-tune the combination to suit your tastes - and the contents of your spice shelf. I'm a big fan of stirring in some cardamom, as noted in the recipe, and while the black pepper may sound odd, it is amazing in this dessert. Some people may opt to just use "pumpkin pie spice" and be done with it, and I would not blame them a bit.

Don't have any cooked squash sitting around the house? See How to Cook Squash.

What You'll Need

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, granulated sugar, or some combination of the two
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup mashed roasted winter squash (any kind but spaghetti squash will work!)
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour or some combination of the two
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg and/or ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom (optional but delicious)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional but adds depth)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (optional and sounds weird but tasty!)

How to Make It

  1. Preheat an oven to 325°F; butter an 8-by-8 baking pan and set it aside. In a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy looking, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition (this step helps build the structure of the cake, so don't skip it and don't rush it). Beat in the vanilla and then the squash.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add to the squash mixture and stir just until completely combined. It will be a thick batter.
  3. Pour the batter into the buttered pan. Bake until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.
  4. Let cool at least 10 minutes before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.