Butternut Squash Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | May 25th, 2024 | Desserts, Recipes

Sorry, carrot cake, this butternut squash cake may be my new favorite cake.

butternut squash cake with cream cheese frosting

Looking for cake recipes in the Think Tasty archives, I discovered that I really don’t have all that many cake recipes, especially considering how much I adore cake. Maybe it’s better that way. Maybe it’s time for me to create another new cake recipe. Either way, it’s definitely time to share this recipe again, as it is so darn delicious.

The original post from January 2018

For someone who doesn’t eat a lot of dessert, I sure do adore cake in many forms. It’s a really tough tossup between carrot cake (get the recipe here) and traditional wedding cake (that recipe is here), as to which is my favorite. Carrot cake has the wonderful flavors of carrot and cinnamon and its frosting has a nice bit of tang. Wedding cake, on the other hand, has a hint of almond in the cake and then some lovely fruit curd or jam and decadent buttercream frosting. Such tough choices.

Now that I’ve made this butternut squash cake, I’ve made my favorite cake choice even more difficult. It’s much like a carrot cake with its cream cheese icing and vegetable component. However, it has a couple differences that make it a cake in its own class. First, I added ground cloves to the batter, which gives the cake a deeper spice note. Second, instead of nuts, I used dried cranberries, which add a pop of flavor and texture every few bites. Third, because this recipe has puréed squash, the cake is even moister, which I enjoyed.

Since it’s currently empty nest time with kids away at college, I made this a more reasonable recipe for two, baking only one 9-inch round. For those who’d like more cake, simply double the recipe. Of course, I’m all about the frosting, so even though I made only one round, I cut that cake in half in order to have layers of cake and frosting. Yes, if I’m going to eat dessert, I’m usually going to go all out.

For those of you who are looking to be a little less indulgent, you could serve this cake without frosting. It probably could even count as a breakfast loaf or snack cake at that point. Serve it with tea or coffee, and it would be an utter delight.

For me, I have a good amount of cake left in my refrigerator. Even though I usually eat by the rules of indulgent desserts only on the weekends, I’m scrapping the rules for tonight and am enjoying another slice. It’s that good!

butternut squash cake with cream cheese frosting

Butternut Squash Cake

Michele Pesula Kuegler

Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes

Course Dessert



  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries



  • Preheat oven to 400°F degrees.
  • Wash outside of squash, cut in half, and place halves cut side down in 13×9 baking pan.
  • Add 1/2 cup water, cover with foil, and baking for 45-60 minutes or until fork tender.
  • Remove from oven, uncover, and allow to cool completely.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Butter and flour 9-inch baking pan.
  • Scoop 1 cup of cooked squash and place in bowl of stand mixer.
  • Add sugar, oil, and vanilla and mix on speed 2 until combined.
  • Add eggs one at a time, continuing on speed 2.
  • Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt on lowest level.
  • Add cranberries, stirring to combine.
  • Transfer to prepared baking pan.
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Place cake in pan on cooling rack for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from pan, placing cake on cooling rack until completely cool.
  • Frost with cream cheese frosting. Click here for frosting recipe.


Save remaining cooked butternut squash for another recipe or meal.

Keyword cake
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