Butternut Cupcakes with Cardamom Buttercream

Butternut Cupcakes with Cardamom Buttercream

These cupcakes are a wonderful incarnation of autumn flavors and comfort. The butternut squash cake is reminiscent of a lighter pumpkin bread—moist and lightly sweetened. The cardamom buttercream takes this simple muffin to out-of-this-world heights. Every bite is full of richness and depth of flavor.

I ended up making these cupcakes for my sister-in-law’s birthday party, so that there would be a cake option without the sugar overload. I love cake and frosting, but I hate the tummy ache, headache, and blood sugar spike that comes with eating the more typical things you see at birthday parties—boxed cake mix, store bought cake, icing made with white processed sugar, etc.

Just take a look at this typical box mix. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have any of those ingredients in my kitchen.

Literally, the only thing I would consider “safe” to eat would be salt. And even that I wouldn’t eat if it was iodized, as iodized table salt is chemically manufactured and can contain traces of aluminum and fluoride, among other things.

To touch briefly on a few other ingredients:

  • Enriched Bleached Flour: chlorinated flour.
  • Sugar: GMO? We don’t know. But we all know refined sugar is bad for you.
  • Sodium Aluminum Phosphate: synthetically produced from aluminum.
  • Corn Starch and Modified Corn Starch: Made from GMO corn.
  • Any Partially Hydrogenated Oil: artificial oils high in trans fats. (Read more here.)

Doesn’t sound appetizing to me, which is why I’m always looking for real food alternatives that won’t hurt my tummy or my overall health! I was so excited when I found this recipe from Kendahl at Our Nourishing Roots.

These little cupcakes have become my new favorite thing. They are perfect for breakfast, dessert, or a snack. The last time I made this, I actually just threw it into a loaf pan and put the buttercream into a bowl. Every time I eat a slice, I heat it in my toaster oven and spread a thick layer of cardamom buttercream over it. Mmmmm…

Butternut Cupcakes

  • – 1/4 cup softened butter or coconut oil
  • – 6 eggs, preferably pastured
  • – 2 inches freshly grated ginger root
  • – 2 1/4 cups rice flour (or alternately 2 Tbsp coconut flour + 2 cups almond flour) (buy here)
  • – 1 1/2 cups pureed butternut squash
  • – 1/3 cup raw honey
  • – 1 tsp sea salt (buy here)
  • – 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (buy here)
  • – 2 tsp cinnamon (buy here)
  • – 1/4 tsp cloves (buy here)
  • – Pinch of nutmeg (buy here)

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until batter is smooth. If you’re using coconut flour and almond flour, you might want to mix in the coconut flour first, make sure batter is smooth, and then add the almond flour.

Butternut Cupcakes

Grease your loaf pan or muffin pan liberally with butter, or if you’re making these as cupcakes, you can also line the muffin tin with those colorful paper cups.

Fill each cup generously with batter. The batter DOES NOT RISE, so fill it as high as you want it to go!

Bake for 30-35 minutes on 375˚F. And let cool completely in the pan before removing.

Cardamom Buttercream (i.e. honey butter spread)

  • – 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • – 1/3 cup raw honey (grainy and spreadable, the thicker the better)
  • – 1 tsp cardamom (buy here)
  • – 1 tsp cinnamon (buy here)
  • – Pinch of nutmeg (buy here)
  • – 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (buy here)
  • – 1/4 cup almonds, finely chopped

Make sure butter is nice and soft before making this. It’s also a good idea to use a hand mixer for this one.

In a large bowl, whip softened butter with the set honey until nice and fluffy. Taste it. Sigh. Then add the cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla and mix again. Taste. Sigh. Mmm…

That’s it! If it seems too runny, I would add more butter. You can never go wrong with more butter. ;)

Now, I’m off to make these again! Thanks to Kendahl from Our Nourishing Roots and Cara from Health, Home, & Happiness for the inspiration!

Butternut Cupcakes with Cardamom Buttercream | The Polivka Family


  1. Candice says

    Just saw this “pinned” on pinterest and the cardamon buttercream just jumped off the page at me! I’m Danish and we add it to everything! soooooooo goooooood! I love your analysis on the box cake (I feel the same EXACT way which is why I get so bent out of shape when I see recipes calling for {in a sing song voice} “ONE BOX CAKE MIX…aAAAAaa!). I had to say I would love to go grocery shopping with you. Having someone analyze ingredients the same way I do-not to mention go through the effort to make real food that tastes good from scratch for a party of people who likely don’t have any clue or appreciation for the difference…Its awesome. I thought I was the only one.

    I can’t wait to try your recipe- or modify it for every extra squash that exits my organic garden!

  2. Lauren @ Empowered Sustenance says

    This looks so delicious! There is something about fall that makes me want to reach for cardamom… it is so comforting and warming. I’m working on a 100% coconut flour butternut cupcake right now, and I hope it turns out as good as these look!

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