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11. 6. 11 / rosemarried

Recipe Swap: Butternut Squash Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy Swap-iversary!

I can’t believe it has been a whole year since our first recipe swap.

One year ago, Christianna from Burwell General Store asked me if I’d be interested in “swapping recipes”. She’d picked up an old cookbook – “All Day Singin and Dinner on the Ground” – at a swap meet and wanted to know if I’d be interested in re-creating some of the old recipes. I’m a sucker for all things vintage and kitschy, so naturally I loved the idea.

For the very first swap, it was just the two of us. Christianna suggested that we start with a recipe for Autumn Persimmon Pudding. Christianna made a Persimmon Creme Brulee with Blackberries, while I went with a Persimmon Panna Cotta with Spiced Hazelnuts.

Fast forward one year: the recipe swap group has grown to include 30+ foodies, writers, cooks and bloggers from all over the world. Every month we re-invent a new recipe from the cook book, and my fellow swappers never cease to amaze me with their creativity. There are some really amazing people in this group, ranging from the tried and true members (Boulder Locavore, Chef Dennis, Sabrina at the Tomato Tart) to some new(er) members (Barb from Creative Culinary, The Dusty Baker, Pola from Italian Midwest, and SO many more!)…

So then, to celebrate a whole year of swapping recipes Christianna thought it would be fitting if we all made cake. She selected a simple (and lovely) recipe from the vintage cookbook called Maple Syrup Cake.

The moment I saw the recipe for Maple Syrup Cake, I knew what I was going to make. I’m not kidding. I saw the recipe and I thought, “I want to make a butternut squash cake with maple frosting.” I’ve never made – let alone eaten – a butternut squash cake. I’m not entirely sure what possessed me to do such a thing, but let’s blame it on the changing of the seasons. It got cold outside and now I want to eat squash all the time, even in cake. It happens.

As I’ve said previously, I’m not much of a baker. I don’t even own proper cake pans. But my sister Danielle — the baker in the family — happens to own cake pans and so I invited myself over for a day of sisterly cake-baking. It was a great excuse to excuse to spend an afternoon with my sister and my crazy little niece, Ramona. We listened to the Michael Buble Christmas Album (her choice, not mine!) and baked a squash cake. It felt like everything November should be: spending time with family, baking, and listening to cheesy holiday music.

Thanks to my sister and her mad cake skills, the cake turned out remarkably well. It was moist, without being overly dense. It was spicy, sweet, and honestly tasted like carrot cake (without the carrots or the nuts). The frosting was sweet, but not cloying. I may have eaten a piece (or two) for breakfast one day.

So, then, here’s to a year of swapping recipes with an amazing group of foodies from around the world! I’m grateful to be part of such a great group of people, and look forward to the next year of swapping. Please do stop by Burwell General Store’s Recipe Swap page to learn more about recipe swap (and to see what everyone else created for this month’s swap!).

Lastly, I’d like to offer huge thank you to Christianna for organizing the swap, and for reaching out to me one year ago to make Autumn Persimmon Pudding. I’m so glad you did.

Butternut Squash Layer Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Sand Creek Farm

Cake ingredients:
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup dark brown (or muscovado) sugar
2 eggs
1 cup cooked, pureed butternut squash (you can roast, boil, or steam the squash)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 cups cake flour*
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup whole milk

*If you don’t have cake flour, see Joy the Baker’s instructions on how to make your own, using all purpose flour and corn starch!

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting:
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese**, room temperature
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup maple syrup

**The original recipe calls for 3 packages of cream cheese, but I had a LOT of frosting left over. I think you could get by with 2 packages. Depends on how much frosting you like on your cake!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9″ round cake pans and set aside. (You may want to line with parchment as I found the cakes stuck a bit to the pans.)

Using a stand mixer (or mixing bowl & spoon), cream together butter, white sugar and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each is added. Mix in squash, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add in half of the flour mixture to the squash mixture, and stir. Add half of the milk. Add the rest of the flour mixture and stir, and then add the rest of the milk. Mix until combined.

Pour batter into the prepared 9″ round cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes (or until a cake tester comes out clean). Let cool for 15 minutes before removing from pans. After the cakes have been removed from the pan, allow to cool on a wire rack.

While the cakes cool, make the frosting. In a large bowl, cream together cream cheese and butter. Mix in vanilla extract, maple syrup, cinnamon and powdered sugar until combined.

Once the cake layers are cool, place one layer on a cake stand (or serving plate) and spread a layer of frosting over the top. Place the second layer directly on top. Spread a thin ‘crumb coat’ of frosting over the entire outer surface of the two layers. Once the crumb coat has been applied, frost more generously with whatever frosting design you desire. (Note: I added a ring of hazelnuts to the top of the cake as I thought it looked pretty and figured it would be delicious. It was.)

Last, but certainly not least, here’s a picture of my niece Ramona, who was a huge help (aka distraction) in the cake-making process. Here she is, dubious about sampling the butternut squash puree:


Leave a Comment
  1. The Dusty Baker / Nov 6 2011 5:10 pm

    I LOVE this post! I’ve been eating a LOT of squash lately too – just picked up yet another butternut and acorn, and a big sweet potato. Much bigger fan of squash than pumpkin for some reason. And I totally had to stop myself from getting that Buble album too soon (I am a DORK for holiday music, especially while baking when it’s cold out). What a lovely way to spend a day with your sister and niece!! Happy Swap-Birthday – I’m so glad that you and CM started this!

  2. Kiri W. / Nov 6 2011 6:14 pm

    Wow! That’s some inspiration that hit you! I cannot imagine it, but it looks delicious šŸ™‚

  3. alex / Nov 6 2011 6:15 pm

    looks like we both went with the maple cream cheese icing! yum! looks like a perfect fall cake!

  4. PolaM / Nov 6 2011 6:40 pm

    Wow layer cake! I wouldn’t know where to start from! great job!!

  5. Wow, what a great post. Great recipe that I can’t wait to try and I loved hearing about your swapping anniversary. What a great idea. šŸ™‚ If you guys decide to take on new members in the future, let me know. Sounds like a lot of fun.

  6. boulder locavore / Nov 6 2011 6:47 pm

    Is it not unbelievable we’ve been at this for a year now? I was on your coat tails in month 2….really mind bending. I love this recipe though as I wanted to make the vintage recipe intact. Feels like a full circle moment. Your cake is so ‘you’. Inspired, seasonal, thoughtful and an ‘of course!’ creation. I’ve never heard of butternut squash cake nor thought of making it but as you wrote it all makes complete sense. I love that you were with a group when making it; feels like the spirit of the swap. You my Sister have been part of my personal treasure trove delivered by this swap. I cherish you.

  7. OurEyes EatFirst / Nov 6 2011 7:15 pm

    Butternut squash in a cake? Genius! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Barbara | Creative Culinary / Nov 6 2011 7:25 pm

    Lovely cake but I have to say; that look on your niece’s face has me chuckling even as I write.

    Funny, I’ve been making dishes for just a couple of months but following the posts for a long time as I know several bloggers who are vested in the process. I had to gently segue myself out of something else first that was a drag…and this is so much more my style. A smaller group with such hugely creative participants; I love seeing what everyone does each month. Happy 1 year anniversary to you!

  9. Baker Street / Nov 6 2011 7:32 pm

    Lovely cake! I love a maple cream cheese frosting!

  10. Baker Street / Nov 6 2011 7:37 pm

    I’m hosting a squash blog hop this month. come and share your recipe with us:

  11. Rachel / Nov 6 2011 7:42 pm

    I’m absolutely swooning over your cake – hazelnuts on the edge and all! Those first two recipe swap dishes sound amazing too. I will have to check out the origins of this wonderful group that I’m so happy to be a part of now!

  12. Alli / Nov 6 2011 8:20 pm

    Such a great idea to use butternut squash puree…I just can’t get enough squash lately either! I hadn’t thought of putting it in a cake yet…I will be doing so soon. And maple cream cheese frosting is a perfect way to complement the nicely spiced cake. Yum!

  13. danielle / Nov 6 2011 8:25 pm

    my hand and my baby made it on the blog! i feel famous.

  14. Shari / Nov 6 2011 9:07 pm

    DELICIOUS – and so inspiring … when I saw this I thought that pumpkin and maple scones with a whipped drambuie cream cheese filling would have also been a fun contribution to the swap. Oh well, what’s swapped is swapped. But thanks for all of your contributions so far xox


  15. Priya / Nov 6 2011 11:46 pm

    Lovely photos of the cake and, the helper. I’ve two of these Hellers which makes it very hard to get a complete photo of anything at all!

  16. Priya / Nov 6 2011 11:47 pm

    Lovely photos of the cake and, the helper. I’ve two of these helpers which makes it very hard to get a complete photo of anything at all!

  17. Burwell General Store / Nov 7 2011 7:25 am

    You had me at Maple Cream Cheese Frosting. šŸ™‚ Thanks for being such an integral part of the swap, Lindsay! I’m so glad you said “yes” to our first swap; it has been wonderful to see everyone grow along the way. Looking forward to more amazing posts from you, as always!! Hearts and bunnies…

  18. Sabrina Modelle / Nov 7 2011 10:56 am

    You know how we say we are like mind meld sisters? Well, my love, it is true! This is my favorite holiday cake! Yours looks BEEEUTIFUL, of course. Squash rules!!!

  19. Grubarazzi (@Grubarazzi) / Nov 7 2011 1:56 pm

    This is beautiful. This completely cements my idea that butternut squash is the more versatile than zucchini.

  20. Lana / Nov 7 2011 3:49 pm

    One of my favorite cakes is carrot cake and if this one tastes like it, I am more than eager to try it (roasting squash is enjoyable, unlike grating carrots:)
    I also knew as soon as I saw the recipe what I wanted to make – something old-fashioned with a lot of memories swirled inside:)
    My sister is much better baker than me, even though I am much more patient.
    And now I cannot wait to get back to the U.S. to get my hands on some butternut squash!

  21. Camilla Fay / Nov 7 2011 5:09 pm

    We are in the same boat ~ I’m the cook, my sister is the baker! Isn’t it awesome to make/bake food with sisters… the cake sounds amazing. I want some!

  22. emily | nomnivorous / Nov 7 2011 6:49 pm

    Mmmm I was dabbling with the idea of maple frosting. I love the pairing with butternut squash, how lovely and how fall appropriate. Also, your niece is adorable!

  23. Linda West Eckhardt / Nov 7 2011 8:43 pm

    love that baby cakes and am dyiing to try this recipe. sorry i missed you when I was in Portland in Sept. My son Jay Eckhardt and his wife , Cara and my two grand kids live there. such a lovely town. the center of th sustainable universe as far as I can tell. xoxo

  24. Ann / Nov 7 2011 9:59 pm

    That looks amazing! What a great recipe and inspiration! I never would have thought to use butternut squash in such a dessert!

  25. claire / Nov 8 2011 1:35 pm

    Not much of a baker – I don’t beleive you! This looks so pretty and I bet it was delicious!

  26. Linda / Nov 8 2011 1:49 pm

    I see a restaurant critic in your future. You see those ”show me’ eyes? You’d better keep your cooking chops up. Ha

  27. Lindsey@Lindselicious / Nov 8 2011 3:40 pm

    Aww love the cutie at the end! This sounds like a great variation from the pumpkin cakes. I looove butternut squash and totally want to try it in a cake form.

  28. Jen at The Three Little Piglets / Nov 8 2011 8:50 pm

    Love using squash in unexpected ways!

  29. Banana Wonder / Nov 8 2011 11:38 pm

    This looks and sounds amazing! I will have to try this recipe out. Also the maple syrup version looks temptatious.

  30. Nicole / Nov 10 2011 5:11 pm

    Yep, definitely making this one! It sounds and looks delicious, and what a wonderful way to use the mounds of squash that are filling up my kitchen.

  31. Kim Bee / Nov 11 2011 4:17 pm

    I am new to your blog and new to the swap so first I’d like to say hello. Secondly your post is wonderful. It’s amazing how this all started for you two ladies. It is a pleasure and honor to join you. I look forward to getting to know you and the group better. Now on to your lovely creation. This is such a unique take on the recipe. I love that you just instinctively knew what you wanted to do. Love hearing stuff like that. I am so impressed with your cake. You and your sister both have mad skills. It’s a wonderful recipe.

  32. Beth Michelle / Nov 15 2011 4:30 am

    That picture of Ramona is too adorable!! Your cake looks amazing. I just made butternut squash muffins!!

  33. Shumaila / Dec 2 2011 2:35 am

    This cake sounds wonderful and the idea of squash in it makes it sound healthier! LOvely photos of the cake and your little helper :)!


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