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Kabocha Olive Oil Cake

Image by Kasey Hickey

Image by Kasey Hickey

Our community's excitement over our recent squash brownie recipe got us thinking of more creative and delicious ways to use under-appreciated winter squash. Kabocha squash fits the bell perfectly. It's hearty texture and sweet, nutty flavor make it perfect for soups and stews, but this iconic stew squash can also moonlight as a tasty cake! Just in time for Valentine's day, our friends at Turntable Kitchen generously shared this recipe with us and we can't wait to get baking.


For the cake:

  • 1 one lbkabocha squash, seeded and halved
  • 1 c plus 1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, plus more, for drizzling the squash
  • 1 1/2 c of flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 Tbsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of all spice
  • 3/4 tsp of kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 c of sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 8 oz of bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips

For the glaze:

  • 1 1/4 c of powdered sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp of hot water
  • 3 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • Cocoa nibs and toasted pepitas, for sprinkling on top


  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Drizzle each half of squash with olive oil, then place, cut-side down, on a baking sheet. Roast for about 35 minutes, or until the squash is fork-tender. Scoop the flesh out of the squash and puree in a food processor until smooth
  • Generously butter a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
  • Transfer 1 cup of squash puree to a medium bowl. Add the sugar, olive oil, and eggs, whisking to combine. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt to another bowl, and whisk to combine.
  • Lower oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Pour the squash mixture into the dried ingredients and whisk until just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chunks, then transfer to the prepared loaf pan.
  • Bake for about 75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack. After about 20 minutes, run a knife along the edges to loosen the cake from the pan, then invert the cake from the pan and place it on a cooling rack for another 30 minutes or so.
  • Meanwhile, make the glaze by combining the powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of water, whisking to incorporate. Drizzle in the olive oil, whisking until smooth. Add a little bit of water, if needed.
  • Drizzle the glaze over the cake and sprinkle with toasted pepitas and cocoa nibs. Let the glaze set before eating. Enjoy!

Recipe Variations: 

You can play around with the spices depending on your preferences. Other sweet spices like allspice, clove, or cardamom would work well too! The original recipe calls for the puree to be drained in a cheesecloth, which would result in a denser texture, but do what works well for your kitchen and preferences. Other seeds, like sesame or poppy seeds, make for a fine topping as well!