Guest Post by Kate Jay – Roasted Rosemary Butternut Cake (Autoimmune Protocol-Friendly)

April 11, 2015 in Categories: by

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Kate Bio PhotoKate Jay is a displaced Brit who left London for Vancouver, BC, a couple of years ago with her husband, two children and two cats. The whole family (but not the cats!) were already following the GAPS diet to address their digestive issues when Kate noticed swelling on both her thumb and wrist joints. She had blood tests and x-rays for Rheumatoid Arthritis (something her paternal grandmother had severely) but was told she was fine and just had repetitive strain injury. Not content with that, she started to research inflammation and came across the Autoimmune Protocol. Already diagnosed with hypothyroidism, she realised there was a connection between the two and that she likely had an autoimmune condition, something no doctor had ever mentioned before. The following day, the family embarked upon the Autoimmune Protocol, keeping the GAPS low starch principles, and within a couple of months, her brain fog had lifted and swelling started to come down. Now she is intent on healing her damaged thyroid as much as possible, and giving her children the strongest foundation possible for a life without inflammation themselves. Kate started her blog, Healing Family Eats, as motivation for making the restricted diet as exciting as possible for her two children, who felt they were missing out on all the junk being eaten by their friends at school. They are her biggest food critics! Find Kate at her blog, FacebookPinterestTwitter and Instagram

I’ve decided I really love making cakes. More than eating them I guess but unfortunately I’m developing the taste for that too. After the success of my Banana Cinnamon Teacake and Sticky Ginger Pudding, I wanted to tone the sweetness down because I am following an autoimmune protocol after all. But with a family not keen to live without treats, I needed to come up with another solution.

I was eating Angie Alt’s delicious Shallot and Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash recipe (from her book The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook) when I wondered how fab it would be to make into a cake – without the shallots though 😉 . So here’s my antidote; using lard to incorporate my current favourite fat and disposing of fruit in favour of the squash means I’m not going to feel guilty about having the maple syrup/honey as an occasional treat.

This cake is moist, full of flavour and would be equally delicious eaten with a cup of tea or as a pudding accompanied by whipped coconut cream or ice cream but it is very definitely better the day after baking. Another great thing about it is you can make it around your schedule and when you have the oven on. I roast my squash a day or two beforehand, alongside whatever else is in the oven at the time, I purée it straight away and once cooled it goes into the fridge until I’m ready to bake my cake. The purée will easily keep for 2-3 days in a covered container.

  • Serves 12
  • Prep time: 30 mins
  • Cook time: 1 hr 45 mins

rosemary roasted butternut cake - Healing Family Eats

Ingredients (squash):

  • 1 tbsp lard
  • 1 lb 12 oz butternut squash, peeled and cubed (this will then give you 1 lb, 8oz)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Heat the 1 tbsp of lard in a large baking tray. Add the squash and rosemary, mix well so that the squash pieces are well coated, then place into the oven for 30 minutes, turning mid way. Make sure the squash doesn’t burn or your cake may have a bitter taste. Remove the squash, scraping up all the rosemary, and put into a food processor with the ’S’ blade. Purée until smooth, then remove onto a large plate to cool down completely. This can be done up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated in a covered container, until you’re ready to make your cake.

Ingredients (cake):

Ingredients (gelatin eggs):

  1. Place a baking tray into the oven and preheat to 350F.  Line the base and sides of an 8 x 2 inch round cake tin with parchment paper.
  2. Put the squash purée, salt, lard, maple syrup and honey into a bowl and, using a stand or handheld mixer, combine thoroughly. The mixture will probably look a bit ‘splitty’ at this point but don’t worry, this is fine! Sift in the coconut flour and baking soda and mix again until combined.
  3. Now make the gelatin eggs. Put the gelatin, lemon juice and tepid water into a small bowl and mix throughly. Now add the boiled water and whisk quickly until the gelatin has melted and the mixture looks frothy. With the motor running, pour the gelatin eggs into the bowl and whizz again for a few seconds to fully incorporate the ‘eggs’.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, level the surface and place onto the hot baking tray. Cook for about 1hr + 10-15 minutes until browned and fairly firm to the touch in the centre (it will firm more on cooling). Allow to cool completely in the tin.
  5. For best results, the cake should be put in an air tight container overnight to firm completely. If you cut into it too soon, it may crumble.

rosemary roasted butternut cake {AIP}


I am so excited about this! Back in the (fill in the blank) old days, I loved going to a little coffee place in my town called Raging Sage to have a cup of coffee and their Rosemary corn cakes baked in little mini bundt pans. I haven’t thought about those in years, but this reminded me of them. They only had them sporadically and I’d be so sad if I didn’t see them in the case when I walked in. Now I don’t eat cake or drink coffee, and my life is so much better!

Hello Diane, I’m so pleased to transport you back to the Raging Sage, it sounds very cosy and tasty. I hope this version makes a fine substitute! 🙂

Kate, I still LOVE your lemon tart recipe, and I can’t wait to try this one!! It looks amazing!!

Can gelatin eggs be used in other recipes that call for eggs? I’ve actually never heard of them before!

Hi Anna, I’m glad the lemon tart is still going strong! Gelatin is great at binding so it’s a perfect egg replacer but it all depends on what you’re cooking. It works in baking (but only up to a certain point) but not in stove top cooking such as pancakes, where it just melts. I hope you enjoy your cake 🙂

Am I in Paleo-Dessert-Heaven? 🙂

Thanks Kate, you are the Best 🙂

I love cake! My wife is always craving for sweet stuff and I want to keep her in a good shape, so I usually serve her apple dumpling (from Tim’s Paleo book ) – he’s addicted already and your rosemary recipe would be a fantastic change.

Thank you, I’m going to prepare your recipe next week (right now we have many guests, because of my son’s birthday)


I can’t wait to try this!!! I’ve had nothing that’s resembles cake or bread in three years. I’m allergic to eggs – so this is a recipe that is an answer to my prayers 🙂 Do you think I could substitute goose fat for the lard? Haven’t found any lard that I trust yet.

Thank you!!

I haven’t tested it for the exact quantity needed if using canned but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. You will need between 1+3/4 and 2 cups packed purée. Hope you enjoy it!

Hi kate. I love the sophistication of your recipes and have been wanting to try one for a long time. My son is sensitive to citrus. Can I do regular gelatin eggs. What’s the purpose of the lemon juice anyway?

Thank you Lydia. The lemon juice provides the acid needed by the baking soda in order to get the cake to rise. It doesn’t have to be lemon though, you could just as easily use apple cider vinegar instead, and a tablespoon should do the trick. I hope you enjoy it 🙂

Omg, thank you so much!!!! My kids can’t tolerate eggs or gluten, my daughter seems to be sensitive to night shades as well. This blossoming of the aip community is a godsend! I am so glad I found your blog. Your recipes look so wonderful, refined yet accessible. I am going to try a modified version of your butternut squash cake tonight we canned sweet potato bc that is all I have on hand. My kids would so appreciate cake!

Hi Kate, wow, the butternut and rosemary cake looks scrumptious!
1) There are only a couple of foods that I am sensitive to and of all things, one is butternut squash. Would other squashes, like delicata, buttercup, etc work just as well? Or for that matter, since there’s plenty of maple syrup and honey in the recipe, could I use canned pumpkin?
2) I’m actually NOT AIP, and I eat eggs. Do you think that 3 eggs in lieu of the gelatin eggs would work?

I’m looking forward to trying your lemon tart too; it looks amazing!

Hi Susan, thank you!
How typical that I choose the one squash you can’t eat. Sorry about that 😉 . Don’t use delicata as it is too mild but the buttercup may work. It still doesn’t have the depth of flavour that butternut has but the texture should be good, if I remember correctly. If you use canned, add between 1+3/4 and 2 cups of packed pumpkin and try that out. And for the eggs, strictly speaking you should be able to substitute 1 real egg : 1 gelatin egg so yes, try three. I didn’t test any of these versions though, so you’ll have to be the guinea pig I’m afraid 🙂 . I hope you enjoy it .. and the lemon tart too!

Hi Kate, yesterday I baked this cake and was a bit dissapointed with the result…it looked and smelled great, but the texture was like a pudding, not like a cake….today I checked it again and texture was great! Totally missed the comment about cake getting better the day after baking. Husband loved it too.

Hi Kate, I have recently discovered that I am not tolerating coconut flour. I have found green banana flour which is used to replace normal flour directly with 1 cup normal flour= 3/4 cup banana flour. Are you able to help me convert from your coconut flour recipes? I know coconut flour has a different ratio and also adds more moisture, so I presume I need to increase the volume of flour but not sure how much by and whether you would reduce the gelatin eggs or other moist ingredients. Thank you so much. I have been enjoying the cakes so much, I really don’t want to have to cut them out!

Hi Jo, I’m afraid the only flour I CAN use is coconut flour so I don’t have any experience with the starchier ones used in the AIP. However, 1 cup of wheat flour is the equivalent of 1/3 – 1/2 cup coconut flour so on that basis you would need to use between 1+1/2 and 1+3/4 cups of your banana flour. I’m afraid you’ll have to test this out yourself but if it all goes hideously wrong I’ll give you my husband’s number so you can complain about his calculations, my thyroid brain can’t cope with anything like that 😉

if I only use one of the sweeteners should I put less coconut flour? Or leave recipe as is? Just thinking it might be dry? Thank you!!!

A couple of days later it started to taste funny. Not the same as the first day. Should you refrigerate it after the first day?

I always keep my AIP baked goods in the fridge. Could it be that yours has been kept in a humid environment and attracted mould?

I just made this cake for Mother’s Day, and it is FABULOUS! I keep trying different AIP desserts for the occasional occasion, and I generally like them all somewhat, but this one I loved! And the non-Paleo eaters at the table loved it as well. 100% hit! Added bonus – while it’s cooking it smells like CAKE! Making this for my wedding reception next month!

Yippeeee! Teri you just made my day, thanks for letting me know. Congratulations in advance for next month, I hope you all have a wonderful day … and that everyone loves your cake 🙂

I love this cake so much! It is so delicious! I was just wondering if you have ever froze it before, and if so, if it freezes well. I made two and have a road trip in a few days that I am hoping to maybe freeze one to pull out for then.

Thanks Jessica, so pleased you love it. Yes, it freezes really well. I often cut the cake first and freeze my slices so I can pull one out when needs be, but it also freezes well in its entirety. I’ve also seen people cooking it in a loaf tin so you can slice it like my banana teacake.

Have a great trip!

I don’t tolerate any sweeteners. Would this work without them or are they needed to help with binding?

Thank you, I’m planning to make this for my birthday!

Hi Kelly, I haven’t tried it without sweeteners altogether but I did make it with 1/2 the quantity and it was absolutely fine. I think it will be okay without both the sweeteners but I might be tempted to add an extra 1/4 cup of squash so the mixture doesn’t end up too dry. Bear in mind the cake won’t keep as long and will be a drier texture, given the honey/syrup are preserving your cake and keeping it moist. Although still delicious … and cake!!
Happy Birthday 🙂

In the recipe, you call for 3 gelatin eggs… are the ingredients that follow for one egg or all three? I’ve never heard of these before and don’t know if I should triple the ingredients for 3 eggs. Can you clarify?

do you think this would be a good dessert cake if i left out the rosemary, maybe add some pumpkin spices, and a frosting?

To remove the cake from the tin are you supposed to flip it upside down?

Also, any tips to make the cake optimally firm if you don’t have time to make it a day in advance?


Once the cake is cooked you won’t have any trouble getting it out of the tin. If you can’t remove it by holding on to the parchment, hold the tin with one hand and place the other over the top of the cake. Carefully tip the tin so the cake comes out onto the palm of your hand, put a wire rack over the top of what is now the bottom of the cake and tip it the right way again so the cake is sitting on the wire rack. Make sure the cake is cold before you attempt this or it may fall apart.
If you can’t make it a day in advance, putting the cake into the fridge once it is cold will help it firm up. You should be able to cut into it after a couple of hours or so.

This looks great! Is there any reason to avoid steaming the squash instead of roasting it? no risk in burning it that way.

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