This crispy, sweet, giant butternut squash latke cake is my favorite new appetizer (or breakfast, lunch or dinner). It’s flavored with ginger and cinnamon, and it gets served with a creamy garlic-lime yogurt sauce, spicy watercress and chopped pecans. Oh swoon.

Overhead shot of the butternut squash latke cake cut into wedges on a serving board.

Butternut squash latkes

I had the holidays in mind when I set out to create this recipe. I often get asked for easy appetizer ideas (see below for more ideas!), and I was envisioning little butternut squash cakes, similar to latkes in form. When I started to actually cook, however, I realized that I didn’t want to mess with making multiple batches of little patties. The holidays are no time for finicky, time-consuming steps.

Latke cake

Instead, I made one large “cake,” which freed me up from the stove. The result blew me away—it had a crisp, caramelized exterior and a tender center (almost like a giant, glorious hash brown). It’s now my go-to latke recipe.

Shredded butternut squash in a mixing bowl.

How to make a butternut squash latke cake

  • You’ll need 3 cups of shredded butternut squash for this recipe. The easiest way to shred it is to use the shredding disk in a food processor, but you can also shred it by hand using a box grater.
  • The shredded squash is seasoned with fresh ginger, ground cinnamon and chives. The cake is bound with eggs and chickpea flour (see below). The mixture gets spread into a large nonstick skillet and is cooked until browned on the bottom.
  • Once browned, the cake gets slid onto a plate and is flipped over by placing another plate on top (sounds scary, but it’s not!). The cake is then slid back into the pan, where it cooks for a few minutes longer, until browned on the other side.
Process shot divided into 4 quadrants, showing the steps for cooking the butternut squash latke cake.

Paleo latkes

This grain-free butternut squash latke cake is bound with chickpea flour instead of regular flour, making it gluten-free and paleo. However, you can use AP flour in place of the chickpea flour if you prefer.

Latkes with lime yogurt

While it’s delicious on its own, the latke cake is even better when gussied up with a dollop of garlicky lime yogurt, which is made simply with Greek yogurt, lime zest, lime juice and honey. A few watercress or arugula leaves provide color and pleasant bitterness, and chopped pecans add crunch. Just writing this is making me shimmy in my chair! It’s SO GOOD.

Close-up overhead shot of butternut squash latkes on a slate board.

Easy appetizer

The latke cake is an awesome appetizer and would be a wonderful addition to a cocktail party buffet. It’s also a delicious vegetarian lunch or breakfast (good lord, just try it with fried eggs and bacon in the morning!).

Can you make individual latkes?

Absolutely! If you are a more patient human being than me, you can make individual latkes using the same batter.

Single angle shot of the butternut Squash Latke cake with lime yogurt on a serving board.

Other appetizers to try:

Get the recipe!

Butternut Squash Latke Cake with Lime Yogurt

This crispy butternut squash cake is flavored with ginger and cinnamon, and is served with a creamy garlic-lime yogurt sauce, spicy watercress leaves and chopped pecans. It’s sweet and crunchy and creamy, and it has been known to make me dance. The cake is way easier to make than having to tend to individual patties, although you can certainly go that route if you prefer. The easiest way to shred the butternut squash (peeled first) is in the food processor using the shredding disk, but you could also shred it by hand using a box grater.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: butternut squash cake, butternut squash latkes, latke cake recipe
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients

Butternut Squash Latke Cake

  • 3 cups packed shredded butternut squash (from 1 small squash)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup chickpea flour
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
  • ¾ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Lime Yogurt

  • ¾ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives
  • ½ teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon honey

For Serving

  • 1 cup watercress or baby arugula
  • ¼ cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine the shredded butternut squash, eggs, chickpea flour, chives, ginger, cinnamon and cayenne. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat the olive oil and butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the squash and press it firmly into an even layer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until browned on the bottom, about 10 minutes. Slide a rubber spatula along the edges and bottom of the cake to loosen.
  • Slide the cake out onto a plate. Place another plate on top, and flip the cake onto the second plate, so that the cooked side is now on top. Place the pan back over medium-low heat, and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. When hot, slide the cake back into the pan, cooked-side up. Cook over medium-low heat, uncovered, until the bottom is browned, about 6-8 minutes. Slide the cake out onto a cutting board and season with salt. Do Ahead: The latke cake can sit at room temperature for up to 30 minutes.

Make the lime yogurt

  • While the cake cooks, make the yogurt sauce. Whisk together the yogurt, garlic, chives, lime zest, lime juice and honey. Season with salt and pepper. Do Ahead: The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 day.

Serve

  • Cut the butternut squash latke cake into wedges. Top each wedge with a dollop of the yogurt sauce, a few watercress or arugula leaves, and a sprinkle of chopped pecans.

Notes

Tips:
  • You’ll need a 12-inch nonstick skillet with a lid for this recipe. If you don’t have a lid you can cover the skillet with a large baking sheet. 
  • A food processor makes quick work of shredding the butternut squash (use the shredding disk). You can also shred it by hand using a box grater. Once shredded, the squash can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 day before making the latke cake. 

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