Macrina Bakery Squash Harvest Loaf — Pain automnal à la courge de la boulangerie Macrina

butternut squash cake

butternut squash cake

Macrina Bakery Squash Harvest Loaf

Thursday 2 pm.

I can hear the rain fall outside, making some noise as it hits the body of the car parked in front of our house. It is not cold though, and I have the windows and doors open to let the soft breeze come in. Nothing is more enjoyable than seeing my pale yellow-colored sheer curtains float in the air. It is this time of year. September is a month I particularly enjoy. Some people complain about the rain, finding every possible reason to dislike it. They could be right, but as to me, je fais partie des autres, I belong to the others, les autres who actually like the rain. In my brain is ingrained the belief that in the fall, it is supposed to rain. Besides, the rain never lasts more than one day. What is there to dislike about distinct seasons? If it were the same all the time, I know that I would be bored. En automne, I get inspired to bake a lot, especially when I can hear rain falling outside.

Une différence de goût dans les produits de boulangerie — A Difference in Taste for Baked Goods

Do you believe in country labels in regards to food? I do. In baking for example, I find that some flavors are instinctively associated to a country. Those can be called stereotypes, and of course, méfions-nous des stéréotypes !(beware of stereotypes!) Yet, they are indications of differences in food habits. I know that some people imagine croissants or baguette when they think about France. When I think about American baked goods, I think of spices such as cinnamon, ingredients such as squash and pumpkin, liquids like buttermilk rather than milk, using baking soda and baked goods such as sweet seeded loaves. For instance, I had never cooked with baking soda or buttermilk before moving to the US, and meeting P. You will rarely find la ménagère française (the French housewife) buying buttermilk or baking soda, and I bet that most French people do not even know what to do with it. “Et, je fais quoi avec du babeurre ?” (And what do I do with buttermilk?) You learn those quirks once you step outside your comfort zone. I learned to drink karnemelk (buttermilk), for example, while studying in the Netherlands.

The Macrina Bakery and Café Cookbook bought in Seattle is not even a week old, but it has found a nice place on the overburdened shelf at home, and mainly, it is already in full use. Trying a first recipe from a new cookbook is always exciting. You have no clue whether the recipe will work, if you will understand the steps involved and start loving the book right away, if it will take time for you to master it, or whether you eventually decide that it is too difficult and the explanations are just not right for you. While in Seattle, P. and I adored the squash harvest loaf slices bought at the bakery so much that of course, as soon as I got the book, I checked to see whether it included the recipe. Surprise: it did! Right away, I knew that my first project was going to try the recipe.

butternut squash cake

Despite a long list of ingredients, making this bread is fairly easy. It only requires a little time and planning, which are worth when it comes to making something we like.

Griller la courge musquée — Roasting Butternut Squash

Fresh butternut squash versus canned squash? The first step in the recipe involves roasting fresh squash but it is optional if you decide to use canned squash. I am convinced that using the fresh version makes a noticeable difference, so I decided to roast my squash. Because we might not always have enough time to do this step, when you actually have the time, it is wise to do more to keep. Hence I bought two large butternut squashes which I roasted as suggested. I carefully counted how many cups I obtained, kept what I needed before freezing the extra for future uses.

butternut squash cake

Griller les oléagineux et les graines — Roasting Nuts and Seeds

The Macrina squash loaves use a fair amount of nuts and seeds, between walnut, pecan and pumpkin which, once roasted, really give a great crunchy taste to the bread. I suppose others can be tried as well. I could not help but remember what my dad used to tell me about eating those types of seeds.

Mon père : Les graines de tournesol ? Mais c’est pour les oiseaux, ça !
Moi : Mais non papa, tu peux aussi les manger !

My dad: Sunflower seeds? But this is for birds!
Me: Of course not dad, you can also eat them!

Ah I love my dad so much. We could not be more far apart when it comes to certain food beliefs, but I am so glad that he is who he is to provide cute stories like this.

P. and I loved the outcome of the loaves. They tasted just like the ones we had tried at Macrina Bakery. After a first bite, we looked at each other and said:

C’est typiquement américain, cela.
— (This is such an American taste.)

And it is. How can we explain? It has all of the spices, color and flavor that I always think of when imagining a typical American baked good. And it stays special. With two loaves, we have many snacks planned for the coming days, avec ou sans pluie (with or without rain).

butternut squash cake

Macrina Bakery Squash Harvest Loaf

(for 2 loaves)

You need:

  • 2 cups roasted butternut squash purée*
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

*Use about 1 lb 1/2 for 2 cups of roasted butternut squash, a medium-sized squash.


Roasting the butternut squash.

  • Wash and cut the squash in two halves, remove the seeds and place the halves in a rimmed baking sheet, face up, with 1 cup water in the pan. Cook in a preheated oven at 375 F for 1 hour minimum, until the flesh is fork tender.
  • Remove and let cool down before scooping the squash out.
  • Place in a food processor and mix smoothly.
  • Let cool down and use 2 cups for 2 loaves. Keep the rest in the fridge for 3 days max, or freeze it for future times.

Making the loaves

  • Place the nuts and seeds on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 15 mns. Remove from the oven and let cool down before grinding them, medium. Keep 1/4 cup on the side, for the decoration.
  • Turn the oven temperature down to 325 F.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl.
  • Add the seeds, minus 1/4 cup. Mix with a wooden spoon.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the oil and two types of sugar and use the paddle attachment to mix on medium speed, for 4 mns.
  • Add the roasted butternut squash and continue to mix for 2 mns.
  • Then, add one egg at a time.
  • Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and add the flour and the buttermilk alternatively, until the liquid is absorb each time.
  • Transfer the preparation in 2 oiled loaf pans measuring 9 x 5 x 3″, 2/3 to the top.
  • Sprinkle with the reserved seeds.
  • Cook in the oven for 1 hour, or until a skewer comes out dry once inserted in the loaf. Remove and let cool for 20 mns before unmolding on a cooling rack.

Le coin français
Pain automnal à la courge de la boulangerie Macrina

(pour deux gâteaux)

Vous connaissez la difficulté de connaître tous les noms des cucurbitacéees! L’horreur ! Je vous présente la courge musquée, en anglais, butternut squash.
J’ai utilisé deux courges, mais pour obtenir environ 380 g de purée, il vous faut une courge moyenne, soit 700 g.

Ingrédients :

  • 380 g de purée de courge musquée grillée
  • 50 g de noix de pécan (pacane)
  • 50 g de de cerneaux de noix
  • 150 g de graines de citrouille
  • 2 càc de bicarbonate de soude
  • 2 càc de levure chimique
  • 440 g de farine
  • 200 g de cassonade
  • 300 g de sucre fin
  • 4 oeufs
  • 1/2 càc de noix de muscade
  • 1 1/2 càc de cannelle en poudre
  • 1 1/2 càc de sel cacher
  • 240 ml d’huile de colza
  • 180 ml de babeurre

Étapes :

Griller la courge musquée

  • Préchauffez votre four à 190 C.
  • Lavez et coupez les courges en deux. Retirez les graines avec une cuiller et placez-les sur une plaque de cuisson avec rebord, partie bombée vers le bas. Versez un verre et demi d’eau (vous pourrez en rajouter en cours de cuisson) et faites cuire au four pendant 1 heure minimum, jusqu’à ce que la chair soit tendre lorsque vous y enfoncez une fourchette.
  • Sortez du four et laissez reposer 20 min avant de retirer la chair des courges.
  • Placez la chair dans un robot électrique, et mixez jusqu’à l’obtention d’une purée homogène. Laissez refroidir à l’air libre. Comptez ce qu’il vous faut et gardez le reste au frigo, pendant 3 jours, ou congelez le reste.

Préparer les pains

  • Placez les noix et les graines sur une plaque de cuisson, et faites-les griller pendant 15 mns.
  • Retirez-les du four et laissez refroidir avant de les broyer (texture moyenne) dans un robot.
  • Gardez environ 30 g du mélange de noix broyées de côté.
  • Baissez la température du four à 160 C.
  • Tamisez la farine, la levure, la bicarbonate, la cannelle, la musacde et le sel dans un bol.
  • Ajoutez les noix et mélangez avec une cuiller en bois.
  • Dans le bol d’un robot (malaxeur sur pied de Kitchen Aid), mélangez l’huile avec les sucres en utilisant le fouet, sur vitesse moyenne, pendant 4 mns.
  • Ajoutez la courge musquée et continuez à mélanger pendant 2 mns.
  • Ajoutez ensuite les oeufs, un après l’autre.
  • Enlevez le bol du pied et ajoutez la farine et le babeurre en alternance, en vous assurant que tout le liquide est absorbé avant d’ajouter la suite.
  • Transférez la préparation dans deux moules rectangulaires huilés, mesurant 23 x 13 x 7,5 cm. Remplissez-les aux 2/3.
  • Saupoudrez avec les noix/graines mises de côté.
  • Faites cuire au four pendant 1 heure, ou jusqu’à ce que la lame d’un couteau ressorte sèche, une fois enfoncée dans le gâteau. Sortez les pains du four et laissez refroidir pendant 20 mns avant de les démouler sur une grille.
Posted in Bread, Breakfast, Food & Travel


  1. No baking soda, eh? Do you use something else, instead? I never understood why one needs to use baking soda AND baking powder, together, in some recipes (but I know close to nothing about baking, you see). Best regards.

  2. It’s such a great bakery, we are so lucky here in Seattle to have it.
    I have yet to try this recipe from the book, but your entry is so inspiring.

  3. This sounds and looks absolutely wonderful! I should give this a try before our squashes disappear – with these flavours, my family is sure to love it!

  4. Les photos me séduisent, ça ressemble en plus fourni à un pain d’épices aux graines!! en qq sorte ! bref j’adore cette recette qui doit être succulente, hop dans mes tests futurs !

  5. It’s the time of year to start baking these kind of loaves. Thanks Bea. You’re photographs are gorgeous. I love the color scheme.

  6. Yess!!!! Roasting your own squash definitely beats the canned stuff. I HEART your Kitchenaid mixer. What a fabu color!

  7. Je suis en train de “starver” devant mon ordinateur et je tombe sur ta recette… aie aie, cela ne va pas m’aider. Ils ont l’air tellement bon en plus !

    La pluie c’est vrai que c’est agréable mais quand on est à l’intérieur, il fait bon, un gâteau cuit dans le four et j’ai une tasse de chocolat chaud dans une main, un livre dans l’autre 😉 Par contre sur ma moto, je préfère de loin le soleil 😉


  8. Hi Béa!! this automnal bread is gorgeous. I can imagine how warm and pleasant it must have been to smell the flavors of your cake baking…inside with a big sweater while watching the rain falling…i love those kind of moments. I will keep this bread for the next raining days…

  9. Wonderful!! I especially love the one wrapped up with baking sheet and ribbons. You have a knack for “dressing” your food, Bea.

  10. Wow, this is wonderful. Simple and yet so elegant! And the way you wrapp them! I could never do it so beautiful fashion. You are so tallented, Bea.

  11. Beautiful post and photos. This makes me want to drive an hour to Seattle to visit Macrina for a slice of their bread, or better yet, try the recipe myself. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Bea,
    I think you’re right. This bread is such an American-style baked good. The cinnamon is a large part of that, I think, but also the large amount of sugar, eggs and oil. The buttermilk provides additional richness. Delicious as they may be, American baked goods are often rich, sweet and a bit heavy. But I’m not really complaining!

  13. looks fantastic! i am going to try making it, only gluten free, can’t wait

  14. It’s really interesting to hear what other cultures think of as “American.” I guess I’d never really thought of buttermilk and cinnamon and baking soda as American ingredients before, but now that I think about it, I don’t know what other country I’d associate them with. It’s just interesting. Anyway, it looks delicious!

  15. Bea,
    I love how you got me all excited about summer and now you’re getting me so eager for fall! Such a beautiful looking loaf!

  16. hi bea, this looks absolutely perfect! the photos are a real eye candy, with an orange KitchenAid to match. everything is so pretty 🙂

  17. superbe photo, comme toujours!
    merci pour ta recette, elle m’inspire l’automne..
    à bientôt bea

  18. Oh, what a beautiful pictures again, and you present it so nice!
    this loaf looks absolutely amazing, Yum!
    I feel the same way about the autumn..(I have to admit I also complain a bit…) but that sound of rain falling when you’re at home (baking!) is so cosy and homey =)
    How good of you, you learned to drink karnemelk…I never did! 😉

  19. Hi hlk, thank you!

    MS, no, we do not use anything to replace it 😉

    Peabody, yes you ARE lucky indeed! I would love to have one like this around the corner!

    Ellie, go for it!

    Merci Mercotte. J’espère que tu aimeras !

    Lucy, thank you! Ye this time of year indeed.

    Helene, merci!

    Rowena, ahaha, I was thinking I needed a change actually. I want a different colour! 😉

    Kat, thanks.

    Claude, ah oui tu as bien raison, la pluie en moto, c’est plutôt triste! 😉

    Noémie, great idea. I keep it for hiking trips!

    AnneSophie, c’est plutôt un gâteau.

    Jacelyn, thank you! I have fun with it indeed.

    Audrey, moi aussi!

    Jeff, indeed, isn’t it? 😉

    Riana, thanks a lot my dear.

    Dianka, I am sure you could, totally!

    Ooishigal, ahah, je n’ai même pas fait exprès, c’est juste quand j’ai vu la photo 😉

    Mitsuko, on les trouve facilement en France ?

    Ashley, I think I would if I were you.

    Julie, yes I think it is true, especially in regards to cupcakes, even if I think they are adorable. I have a story about that which I will share.

    Pinkbudhacookie, thanks. Hope you like it.

    Natalia, yes it is nice to reflect on things like this, which we often take fro granted.

    Anita, I cannot wait to see what wonderful fall desserts you are going to make.

    Evan, thank you! Cannot eat the Kitchen Aid though! ahaha!

    Daniela, merci beaucoup.

    Erielle, thanks.

    David, it is like with scarves you know, a French twist!

    Gracianne, tu as bien raison. Il ne se fait pas prier.

    Julia, ah yes, I loved karnemelk.

    Merci Chantal!

  20. Bea,
    You really outdid yourself with this. I can see how delicious these loaves would be, but the care you took in the presentation is superb! Anyone who received one of your beauties, with the wrappings on them, is truly blessed. This makes me want to start baking! Thank you so much for your gift of your talent.

  21. They look georgeous, will try it with the potimaron I harvested from my garden.

    And yes to all you French readers who are lusting after a KitchenAid, I was in Darty last week (to buy a bigger freezer), and they sell the real KitchenAid. And you can order all the extras. Around 500 euros, if I remember well.

  22. I don’t know from where you got these cooking times, but at this temperature and time I burned the nuts when I toasted them and loaves when I baked them. Not the fault of the oven, I don’t think, but I’m not sure.

    Even so, it tastes good.

  23. Hi Alex,

    Mmmm, sorry to hear! The time and temperatures I gave are what the cookbook suggested and it worked for me (I even reduced 1hour 10 mns to 1 hour cooking time). Sorry it was not the case for you. Maybe the advice is then to check more often, before the end of the cooking time. One thing, did you turn the oven temp down from 375 to 325 F as marked in the steps?


  24. I bought small loaves of Baked Squash Harvest Loaf at our Metropolotian Market (West Seattle). Absolutely wonderful … even my husband said how good it was. So I went looking for the recipe … and found it! One question: you don’t mention the amount of granulated sugar. I’m anxious to make it … for ourselves and to give as gifts for family. Thanks! Iris

  25. Oh thanks Iris for noticing. The word cup was missing, of course, corrected now 😉 You will love it!

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  28. Pessy,

    Totally! I’ll test and let you know! I am really confident this is an easy change/

  29. Hi Bea,
    I just was in Seattle last week ( Nov. 7-9 ) and had the chance to visit Macrina. In ramdom, I chose to buy a slice of Squash Harvest Loaf and it was heaven! I ended up buying another whole loaf to take home to CA. I also saw Macrina’s cookbook and bought one – this squash loaf recipe made me decide to buy it. 😉
    I looked online for this recipe to share it to my friends on facebook until I found your
    website! Thanks !
    Happy Thanksgiving in advance. Take care! 😉

  30. Hey!
    I tried this recipe after having the bread from the bakery for almost one year, almost every week at least once. I love the bread from Macrina!

    It tasted delicious, and so many warm spice notes of cinnamon, nutmeg (I used mace instead), and pumpkin…

    The only thing that concerned me was the amount of sugar. It felt ridiculous to put 3 cups of sugar cos to me that seemed tooo sweet in the end (divided among 2 cakes that too!). It didnt feel that sweet in the bakery if they did put that much sugar in their recipe too. Did you add extra sugar or is it the same as the book?

    But my American friends at the Thanksgiving dinner i took the bread to, said that bread is usually sweet and this is just fine… but it was sweet for my tooth… so next time I might just go for 1.5 to 2 cups… of both sugar combined… 🙂

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. BEautiful pictures!

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