Simple Butternut Squash Breakfast Cake

Posted by Tracey Vowell on

Over the years, a big Sunday breakfast favorite, is this very simple butternut cake.  Not much to it, and I have always liked the fact that I could start the cake, get it into the oven, and then proceed with the rest of breakfast, while the cake cooked in the oven. 

This is by no means, reserved exclusively for breakfast, but that seems to be where it found it’s home on my table. Keep in mind that my cake is a bit smaller than the recipe calls for. I like this recipe a bit too much to have that much of it around. To me, the secret really is having the patience to let it brown. The caramel flavor, and slight chewiness are so delicious against the sweeter, creamier interior.


  • 1 Butternut Squash (4-5 pounds)
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon flour of your choice
  • Salt to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

For me, grating something like butternut is exactly why they give you a grating plate with a food processor. It could be done by hand, but it isn’t pleasant, and you best have a good grater.

As I have said before, I am not about discarding edible peels, as they contribute greatly to the nutrition profile of most vegetables. I split the butternut in half, removing the stem and button end, clean out all the seeds, then cut into the largest possible pieces to fit into the hopper for my food processor, with the grating plate in place. Grate and turn out into a medium large mixing bowl, removing any chunks that might have gotten by in the processor.

Using a very well seasoned, or teflon skillet, heat over medium low, and add half of the butter to the pan to melt.

While that happens, sprinkle in flour over the shredded butternut, while stirring, even tossing in the bowl, to get the bits evenly coated. After the flour, season with salt and give the bowl one more good mixing. Swirl the melted butter to coat the pan, pouring the rest over the shredded butternut, and toss a time or two more. 

Return the pan to the fire, and fill with the shredded butternut. I use a glass pie pan, but another skillet, flat plate, etc. will work as well. Press over the surface of the butternut in the pan to flatten it out, press the shreds down to help everything hold together. Use a rubber spatula, if necessary, to press around the edges. Dab the top with bits of the remaining butter.

Cook over medium low for a few minutes, until a tiny bit of color becomes visible around the edges, then place the whole pan in the oven.

Bake for about 20 minutes, then check that the butternut is tender, and that the cake has browned well. Use the rubber spatula to pull a little bit away from the side of the pan to observe the color. If ready, set aside for 5 minutes, letting everything cool slightly. Check by tilting the pan that there is no free butter to pour off. Set a serving plate over the pan, cover it with a generous kitchen towel.  Utilizing the towel, hold the plate on the top of the pan, and quickly flip the pan over so that the cake turns out onto the serving plate. Cut into wedges, and serve.

Like almost any recipe I write, there is so much wiggle room in this recipe. The one thing to remember is that water is not your friend in this preparation. Adding roasted garlic, spices, fresh herbs, etc. will be great. Adding a big handful of mozzarella will simply not work, but a grating into the bowl of a hard cheese, would. I sometimes make the cake with half potato, or sweet potato. Sweet potato tends to brown very quickly, so be more cautious with it on the cooktop.

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