Lemony Summer Squash Cake

You could also call this a Secret Ingredient Cake because no one would guess what is hidden inside.

I got the idea for this recipe because of a wonderful chocolate zucchini squash cake recipe my friend Catherine gave me a few years ago. It was a chocolate amazement that I have written about both here and in my food column, and this cake has probably formed a fan club all its own. I make it every year because it is so delicious. I was thinking about that cake when I had a very large accumulation of yellow summer squash last week and thought I might just substitute. But the squash were so beautifully yellow, the idea of lemon popped into my head and started festering, and when that happens I seldom retreat. 

Lemon or chocolate, of course!

            While I might not be a big dessert eater, if I have something sweet it will probably involve either lemon or chocolate. I picture myself with a chocolate zucchini cake in one hand and a lemon summer squash cake in the other. That is a balanced dessert diet.

A little less sugar, less saturated fat as well, but lots of flavor

            I started with a basic cake I often use with fruit and I thought it might make a good foundation for the squash. I’ve cut the sugar in the recipe from 1 ½ cups to just one, so this cake is not overly sweet; for me, it’s just right, but if you have a sweet tooth, feel free to increase a little. While this is not a health food by any means, I did want to cut back on the saturated animal fat, so I used a vegan butter here. Instead of sour cream, my favorite thick and creamy non-fat plain Greek yoghurt served as the stand-in with just the right little tang.

Any lovely lemon-colored squash

            I used crookneck squash here, but you can use any yellow summer squash you like. You could even use zucchini I guess, but it would have green specks in it! But don’t worry, yellow or green, you won’t even know there is squash in this cake!

            I slightly overbeat it this time, so I got a few holes, but I didn’t mind at all because it tasted so good! This is why I recommend combining the squash in at the end by hand. The cake has a moist, dense texture, and keeps well. Although, when I made it last week, the next morning I noticed that overnight it shrunk by about half! Mysterious.

Now, all those cherry tomatoes…

Lemony Summer Squash Cake

  • 2 heaping cups grated yellow summer squash
  • 2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Zest of two large lemons
  • 1 stick dairy-free or dairy butter
  • 1 cup sugar, scant
  • 3 large organic eggs
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. lemon extract
  • ½ cup plain non-fat Greek yoghurt


  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp. lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a Bundt pan.

Grate the summer squash and set aside.

Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and zest in a bowl and mix up thoroughly.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, or using a hand mixer, beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then add the lemon juice and extract.

On lowest speed, add half the flour mixture just, followed by the yoghurt, and then the rest of the flour. Add the squash by hand and mix only until combined. The batter will be very dense. 

Spoon the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Run your spatula through the batter to remove any large pockets of air, and level off the top, then tap it to remove any remaining pockets.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the top is browned and a toothpick inserted into the thickest part comes out clean.

Let cool five minutes, then invert on a rack to completely cool. 

Put on a cake plate and glaze with a cup of 10X confectioners sugar whisked well with an overflowed tablespoon of lemon juice, a little more if need be. Drizzle over the top of the cake, and sprinkle with more lemon zest. For a little extra zing, substitute limoncello for the lemon juice.

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  1. Gail says:

    I. Love. Lemon. 🍃🍋
    And this cake looks phenomenal.

    1. Thank you Gail! I love lemon too!

  2. NativeNM says:

    Yes, please! I will take lemon or chocolate! I have used zucchini in cake but it never occurred to me to use yellow summer squash. Great recipe Dorothy!

    1. Thanks Jan! It have never occurred to me either, but I’m so glad it did!

  3. This is very brilliant Dorothy! I have made many sweets with zucchini, and know that is a great moist element in baking, so it only makes sense that other squash would do the same…and without the little green specks!

    1. It worked beautifully Jenna! No specks, just lots of lemon flavor and a very moist cake.

  4. Sheree says:


    1. Thanks Sheree! It was really a delight!

      1. Sheree says:


  5. Delicious recipe. There are so many things you can bake with summer squash.

    1. Thanks Jovina. It’s an amazing ingredient I agree!

  6. What a lovely cake, dear Dorothy!

    1. Thank you Dear Dolly! We really like it, and it served as a birthday cake this week!

      1. You are very welcome, darling.

  7. Now, we’re talking. This looks delicious, and I can almost taste that lemon. I’ve used grated zucchini in numerous recipes but never tried yellow squash. Did you use small ones so the seeds were not an issue? Boy, howdy, I sure do wish we were ‘closer’ neighbors because I’d offer to bring coffee. 🙂

    1. Thanks Judy! I used one biggest squash I had to take the seeds out, and a small one that I didn’t.
      We’d have nice long coffee talks…

  8. writinstuff says:

    Looks wonderful!

  9. Julia says:

    What a beautiful cake. What a clever idea.

    1. Thank you Julia! It is a beautifully moist cake.

  10. Ronit says:

    Love lemon cakes, and this one is especially beautiful. Squash vies cakes such lovely moist texture.
    I’m waiting for my zucchini cake to come out the oven. 🙂

    1. Thank you Ronit! So glad you got to bake this week too, and use up some of that lovely squash!

  11. Carole says:

    I am so excited to try this! Our summer squash should be producing very soon!

    1. Once they start…..
      Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

  12. C.A. Post says:

    I’ve been neglecting my baking! Gonna kick start it with this recipe! THANX!
    ❤️&🙏, c.a.

    1. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! Especially if you like lemon!

  13. Christy B says:

    Looking at this cake, I would never guess there was squash in it! Unexpected and likely a yummy one!

    1. I love recipes like this with an unexpected surprise inside! Thanks for stopping by, I’ve saved you a slice!

  14. trkingmomoe says:

    Yummm…That looks delicious.

    1. Thank you! It certainly has been a hit! I’ve made it twice now!

  15. Delicious! Summer Squash and Lemon, lovely.

    1. It was a lovely match! Thanks for stopping by!

  16. sunisanthosh says:

    Great idea and the cake looks so tempting.

    1. Thank you! It is a lovely cake to look at, and to eat!

  17. Nancy says:

    This needs to be made now! Yum!
    Now why didn’t I think of using yellow squash in a cake or bread?
    This is why I stop over to your place to see what my friend Dorothy is preparing! You amaze me!

    1. Thank you Nancy! I had to chuckle, because it had never occurred to me to use the yellow squash before either! And anything yellow asks for a lemon to play with!

  18. Rehooth says:

    Nice Post

  19. Carolyn Page says:

    I do believe, Dorothy, that we share similar tastes… I love anything with lemon, and this cake sounds divine. Like you, I’m not a ‘sweet tooth’, but enjoy something a little on the sour side occasionally. Just the look of this one amazes me. You are an incredible woman with such a gift.

    1. Thank you so much Carolyn! I love, love, love sour as well. To me lemonade is just lemons and water, you can keep the sugar! All three of my grandkids love lemon as well!

  20. HI Dorothy, I’ve never considered using squash in a cake although I have used avocado, carrots, and other similar products. A great idea and this recipe sounds delicious.

    1. It was a great hit all around!

  21. terrie gura says:

    Well yes, you have done it, haven’t you?! I never would have considered it, but I can totally see why it works with the lemon. Well done! I love how it seemed to have shrunk to half its size overnight. I can’t imagine how that happened… 😁

    1. Yes, my husband was baffled when I noticed it! Must have been raccoons…

  22. cakefiles says:

    🤩🤩🤩 what a beauty

    1. Thank you! It was quite satisfying, and I’ve already made it twice !

  23. Oh wow!!!!! This sounds so delicious Dorothy. I’ve never seen a cake made with squash, just zucchini. Thank you!

    1. They work exactly the same! I was delighted!

  24. I love the combination of lemon and Greek yogurt! Now adding also squash, wow! Must be incredibly moist and delicious!

    1. It is a beautifully moist cake, and a new favorite!

  25. Angela says:

    Hi Dorothy! I came to your blog to let you know that I made the vanilla as you recommended, and I am so excited about it! But then I got distracted by this post, and I am drooling as I am looking at it! I must make this cake!

    1. Thank you Angela! The cake is really amazing, and is now a family favorite! I hope you enjoy all your distractions!

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