If a cake can be made out of parsnips, avocado, beans, pumpkin, or cauliflower... why not make a veggie cake out of butternut squash too, right?
The veggie cake collection on this blog is ever growing, it seems... and I wasn't intentionally trying to make something "weird" here.
Was just curious to make another nut-free raw cake alternative, and somehow butternut squash in a cake sounded interesting. The results of this experiment: golden :)
I loved this cake heaps, especially since it's truly raw, nut-free, and extremely simple. The butternut squash is firm enough and naturally creamy, giving the cake a great texture.
And the color -- something about it makes me smile inexplicably. Definitely a "happy" cake, and all due to the magic of butternut squash. Take that yellow #5 ?
I settled on the flavors through inspiration from this spiced butternut dessert bites recipe I reviewed from Chris Anka's awesome book Nourishing Noodles.
I was actually working on both recipes simultaneously, and while I initially planned to make the butternut squash cake cinnamon and vanilla flavored, I really enjoyed Chris' classic rose and cardamom flavor combo so much I decided to go for it here.
You can easily alter the flavors if you're not feeling as exotic or simply don't have rose water on hand. Just use cinnamon and vanilla bean to taste, or pumpkin spice, etc. All would be delicious.
Now for the crust, I went for mulberries because I had some to use up. They make a delicious and simple nut-free raw crust, but they are on the sweeter side and do not slice as gracefully. Nonetheless, I enjoy them as an option. Feel free to use a combo of nuts and seeds of your choice instead.
This recipe is portioned for a 5" cake pan, but see downloadable cake pan size guide below for other pan sizes, or turn it into bars.Print
Golden Butternut Ice Box Cake
Delicious raw, nut-free, and extremely simple ice box cake with sneaky veggies inside! Spiced vegan dessert recipe. Gluten-free.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 hours
- Total Time: 5 hours 15 minutes
- Yield: 5" cake
- Category: Cake
- Method: Raw
- Cuisine: Dessert
- ¾ cup dried white mulberries (or cashews, sunflower seeds, almonds, etc.)
- 2 soft medjool dates, pitted
- ½ tbsp maple syrup
- ½ tbsp coconut oil
- 1 ½ cups raw butternut squash, rough chopped (peeled and de-seeded)
- 4 tbsp coconut oil
- 4 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 1 tbsp tapioca starch
- 1 tbsp rose water
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cardamom (or cinnamon)
- more white dried mulberries (or some of the nuts/seeds used in crust), edible rose buds, black sesame seeds
- Process all crust ingredients in a food processor into a fine sticky crumble. Transfer into a 5" springform pan and press down into a flat crust. Freeze while working on next step.
- Blend all filling ingredients together into a smooth mixture. Transfer into the springform pan over the crust. Smooth out the top. Decorate with desired toppings. Freeze for 5-6 hours or overnight to allow cake to set. Carefully remove out of the pan, thaw out slightly and enjoy! (Store leftovers in the freezer).
Audrey Weigelt says
I am excited about this cake but wondering what are the main flavors? Is it the butternut squash, the orange, the rose? All the ingredients sound amazing but I'm having a hard time predicting what it will taste like.
Hi, Butternut squash isn't very common here in the Philippines but regular squash is. Can I use that instead?
I suppose it depends on what "regular" squash is in the Philippines :) there are so many varieties, and they all taste a bit different and have different textures. Butternut squash has a naturally sweeter flavor. A sugar pumpkin would be my next pick. But I think it can work with another squash too -- if you try it with another variety, just keep in mind to increase the sweetener accordingly as it will taste quite different. Also, just as a caution make sure the squash you are using is ok to eat raw. I know butternut squash is ok to eat raw, but not sure about what varieties exist in the Philippines -- so just do a quick google search to make sure you're good to go.
Do you have any recommendations on how can I substitute corn starch?
I just cant find it.
Can i use like, flaxseed or chia seeds. something that can bring consistency.
Do you mean the tapioca starch? If so corn starch, arrowroot, or potato starch would work best (1-1 substitute).
Is there another substitution I can use for the coconut oil? As I am allergic to coconut, what other stabilizers can I use?
Hi Connie, is there a non-dairy butter substitute that you are ok with? If so, you can use a bit of that in place of the coconut oil (just make sure it's not a super salty brand, and otherwise adjust the salt in the recipe accordingly). You can also instead use a complimentary nut / seed butter. Some cashew butter would work well, or sunflower seed butter.
Basically the coconut oil is an easy route to add creaminess and stability without adding too much of an external flavor. But other forms of "fat" can help just the same, but it's a matter of adjusting the flavors to suit whatever ingredient you're using. Even some olive oil might work, though I've yet to experiment.
Forgot to mention, but for the crust you can omit the coconut oil altogether -- it's no essential.
You didn't bake the squash before blending or you did?
Hi Kelly, no I blended it raw into the cake. If it's baked first, it would be mushy (i.e. not enough texture for the way this cake is) and also sweeter, so the cake ingredients would need to be altered to make it work if you go the baked route.
I just made it without baking it first. I love it! Thanks for the recipe
Oh, great -- so happy you liked it! :)
Natalie | Feasting on Fruit says
I don't think butternut squash has ever looked to good! Golden and glowing--ice box cake from does that squash well! I want to try both the rose + cardamom and vanilla + cinnamon versions. One familiar, one more exotic and flowery, but both sound lovely. This is most definitely a happy cake!
Definitely a big yay for "happy" and glowing desserts from me -- even just looking at it was somehow uplifting :)
VERY beautiful! I think I need a springform pan and some rosebuds, STAT!
Thanks, Kate :)