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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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 VeggieGirl

I just purchased my first butternut squash of the season, so this recipe came at the PERFECT time – especially since I’m gluten-free. Thanks for the great recipe and guest post, Amy!!


2 Amy Green (Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free)

I’m so glad that you like it – I’m always trying to get something a little healthier into my desserts and I thought butternut squash worked perfectly. If you make this, I’d love to hear your feedback.


3 Pam

Perfection Amy!


4 Whitney @ Lettuce Love

I have been looking to make a gluten-free cupcake for a while but I have been a little nervous. This recipe looks wonderful. I agree with VeggieGirl, perfect timing!

Thanks for the guest post!


5 Amy Green (Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free)

Gluten-free baking is not as scary as you might think. My friends and family are always amazed that there’s no gluten in my food. There are so many great resources out there, now. If you have any questions or if I can help in any way please let me know.


6 Mara @ What's For Dinner?

Amy that looks fantastic!! I have a few friends who will be LOVING this recipe :)
Check out my giveaway for a $150 cheese tasting party!


7 brandi

oh my goodness, what a great fall cake recipe! I have never heard of using butternut in a cake, but now I want it :)


8 Amy Green (Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free)

The butternut squash acts much like a carrot would, adding moisture, tenderness, and that slight sweetness we all love. It actually makes a great addition to so many desserts.


9 Leah @ L4L

Holy yum!!!!


10 Jessica @ How Sweet It Is

This is a great recipe for Fall! And so happy I can make this for my gluten-free friends! :)


11 meg

This cake looks delicious! Perfect for Fall, and I love that it is gluten free.


12 Car

Suppose you don’t have agave necter or gluten free flour. Could you replace those ingredients with regular sugar and flour? It looks absolutely delicious!


13 Amy Green (Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free)

Car – no guarantees on this because agave is a liquid so generally if you translate the recipe into one using regular sugar & flour you’re going to need a little more liquid. Also, agave is much sweeter than sugar so I would increase the sugar amount maybe to 3/4 cup.

If you like to experiment in the kitchen, go for it and let me know what you find out. :)


14 BroccoliHut

Sounds fantastic! I think I might just make up a batch of that frosting for general dipping purposes:)


15 Amy Green (Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free)

That thought never crossed my mind but now that you mention it, it would absolutely make a great dip – especially for a holiday appetizer.


16 Jen @ MaplenCornbread

What a lovely creation!!! I love the use of the squash, gluten free flours and natural sweeteners!


17 Lauren

This cake looks gorgeous and I’m sure it is delicious as well!


18 cheryl

that looks great, and how creative!


19 JB

This looks so good, and it will be perfect with fall weather coming on. I would definitely make this for my holiday dessert table. It’s nice to have something different from pumpkin. Can’t wait to try this. I have a feeling my husband who is not gluten free will eat most of it!


20 Shelby

Oh wow, this cake looks scrumptious! I was going to buy a b-nut squash the other day but decided not to. Now I’m going to have to go back and get one! YUM!


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