Butternut Squash Orange Spice Cake

by zesty on September 17, 2009 · 25 comments

Hi! I’m Amy Green, author of Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free, a blog dedicated to great food made simple and a little healthier. All of my recipes are made without refined sugars or gluten – and the best part is that you wouldn’t know it if I didn’t tell you.

I am so excited to share a dish with Zesty’s readers, and wanted to do something extra special that said fall. Desserts are one of my favorites to create, especially when I can get something that’s good for you in them. So, I made a gluten-free, sugar-free, moist, tender Butternut Squash Orange Spice Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting that can be dressed up or served simply.

amy g butternut squah cake 2

To dress your cake up, level and torte the cake. Frost the top of the bottom layer. Then, add a layer of toasted walnuts that have been smashed in your food processor. Top those with a thin layer of frosting, add your next layer of cake, and finish by frosting the rest of your dessert. To get a rim of toasted walnuts around the edge of your cake, sprinkle smashed walnuts around the base of the cake. Use an offset spatula to gently push the walnuts up the side of the cake and into the frosting.

Or, my favorite – serve your cake simply. Level the cake and generously frost only the top. Garnish with a little orange zest and you’re done.

A few tips before you get started:

  • When making a cake, it’s important to have your butter and eggs at room temperature because they cream better, which adds lightness to your final product. A few hours will be enough but I like to set mine out the night before I bake. Don’t worry – your eggs won’t go bad.
  • Don’t skip the sifting step. This is especially important when baking gluten-free.
  • Make sure to preheat your oven before you start mixing up the cake. This will give your oven enough time to heat up and ensure that the temperature is perfect for your cake.
  • I used my KitchenAid but you can make this cake with traditional electric mixers.
  • Adding the lemon juice at the end activates the baking soda and baking powders which will help your gluten-free cake rise much like a cake baked with regular flour. Once the lemon juice is mixed in, get that cake into the oven quickly!

Butternut Squash Orange Spice Cake

serves 8 – 10

Cake Ingredients

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup agave nectar
  • 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour blend (see below for the mix used here)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 1/3 cups grated butternut squash (use the large holes on a box grater)
  • ¾ cup golden raisins
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line a 8 inch spring form pan.
  2. Cream butter on medium high for about 2 minutes. Add agave and continue mixing on medium high for another 2 – 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs one at a time while mixing on medium low until eggs are completely incorporated. Mix in orange zest.
  4. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and all spice. Add sifted flour mix to butter mix on low speed until smooth. Stir in butternut squash and raisins.
  5. Add orange juice and lemon juice and stir until smooth. Turn into prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  6. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until the top is a deep golden brown and a cake tester tests clean.
  7. Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then slide a thin spatula between the cake and the edge of the pan.
  8. Release the springform side and let cake cool for another 20 minutes before removing the bottom of the pan.

Frosting Ingredients

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting *This will frost a 2 layer cake. If you want to only frost the top, cut the recipe in half.

  • 16 ounces light cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  1. Place cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl and mix on medium high until light and fluffy. Add agave and orange zest. Continue mixing until thoroughly incorporated.
  2. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
  3. Stir ¼ of the whipped cream completely into the cream cheese mixture. Gently place remaining whipped cream on top of cream cheese mixture and fold until thoroughly incorporated.
  4. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

amy g butternut cake

Gluten-Free Flour Blend (makes 3 cups)

  • 1 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 2/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour

Thanks so much Amy (Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free) for such a great post.  I hope you all have a great day today and I will fill you in on U2 when I get back.

Take care


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