Butternut Squash Cake by Debra Sennefelder

When I set out to write Kelly Quinn and her series, The Resale Boutique Mysteries, I knew the twenty-something fashionista wasn’t a cook. While living in the city, she was far more apt to stop at the diner across from her apartment building or grab take-out for dinner after leaving the buying offices of the department store where she worked. Cooking a meal and baking a cake weren’t things she was interested in doing.

Since moving back to her hometown of Lucky Cove, New York, not much has changed except the dining establishments. She’s still not much of a cook but thankfully her best friend, Liv, works in her family’s bakery and her employee, Pepper, loves to cook and feed Kelly. So she’s eating well these days. Maybe too good. Her skinny jeans have gotten a little tight since moving out of the city where she walked everywhere. I can relate to Kelly, thanks to the holidays. So much good food!

Now that’s it’s January, it’s time to buckle down and make smarter choices. But, this gal loves chocolate cake and it’s my birthday month (and it’s also my release month, but I’m sure you’ve heard that already) and I love to celebrate with cake. This is quite a dilemma for me. But, I think I have a solution that will make my skinny jeans happy and allow me to savor the special moments in this month.

Chocolate cake with a healthy twist.

If you enjoy not-too-sweet, moist, decadent chocolate cake this is the recipe for you. But, I warn you, make sure you have a tall glass of milk when you serve up a slice of this cake for yourself because there’s no better way to enjoy it. Trust me.

What’s the healthy twist? Butternut squash. That’s right. Typically we serve butternut squash as a side dish or as a soup, but in a cake? I know, weird but so yummy. I prefer to make my own butternut squash by roasting first and then pureeing in my blender. But there is frozen butternut squash puree and also canned available. There’s also some unsweetened applesauce so you know this cake is moist beyond belief. And it’s a little less guilty indulgence which I know we all can appreciate.

Happy Baking!

Chocolate Butternut Squash Cake recipe


  • ½ cup butternut squash puree
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup Canola oil
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purposed flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ sea salt
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips


  1. Heat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9”x5”loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray
  2. With an electric mixer, combine applesauce, Greek yogurt and oil until smooth. Add in sugar, eggs (one at a time) and milk, combine well.
  3. One at a time, add in butternut squash, vanilla extract, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cocoa powder. Mix until combined.
  4. Next, add the flour to the batter, careful not over mix.
  5. By hand, fold in mini chocolate chips to batter, reserve a few to sprinkle on top just before baking. Transfer prepared batter to loaf pan and bake at 350 for 46-50 minutes, until cake tester comes out clean.
  6. Remove from oven, cool completely allowing the cake to set up. Then slice and serve and enjoy.

Every woman would kill for one . . .

Manhattan fashionista Kelly Quinn thought she’d left her upstate New York town far behind . . . until the Seventh Avenue expat returns home to revamp her grandmother’s consignment shop into an upscale boutique—and unwittingly sets a trend for murder . . .

After her rising career as a Manhattan buyer is derailed, Kelly has mixed feelings about relocating back to Lucky Cove, in spite of her big plans for the soon-to-be-renamed Curated by Kelly Resale Boutique. What’s left of her luck starts running out when a customer puts on a black lace dress that triggers visions of someone being murdered. As if the haunted “Murder Dress” isn’t enough to kill business, the psychic’s doppelganger cousin has just been found bludgeoned to death.

Was Maxine LeMoyne the real target or was it a case of mistaken murder? With some creepy pre-Halloween bargain hunters walking the night and Kelly suddenly a person of interest, a second murder rocks the close-knit town. Now Kelly could be the one who ends up talking to dead people when she’s stalked by a killer determined to take her out in high style . . .