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New Heights Conference and Vegan Chocolate Raspberry Cake with Butternut Squash

It was such an honor to speak at the “Tomorrow, Today” conference organized by New Heights Magazine in Boston this weekend! I really enjoyed sharing my story of this blog, and about what I have learned throughout college and as I move towards my goal of becoming a doctor. Click here to watch a video of my presentation! I saw some people writing down things I said, which really touched and humbled me!

My friend Kate (Bucket List Boston) presented and my friend Michelle (Michelle Rose) sang at the conference as well! It was so fun being involved with this great event with some of my best friends. I also got to meet many other amazing people, including Boston Brunch Guide, which was like a celebrity moment for me!

I created a recipe for the event to share with the attendees as an example of what I like to bake. Since this event was around Valentine's Day, I wanted to make something heart shaped with chocolate and red berries to be festive! I also wanted it to be an inclusive treat so it had to be:

  • easy to make

  • something people with various dietary preferences or restrictions could eat

  • something people without full kitchens can make

  • secretly healthy although it tastes delicious

So here is what I came up with: Vegan Chocolate Raspberry Cake with Butternut Squash!

This is a super simple and healthy cake that is perfect for Valentine’s Day, because who doesn’t love chocolate cake? It is vegan and gluten free and can be nut free as well depending on the type of nut/seed butter you choose to use. The butternut squash adds extra nutrients and some natural sweetness, and is an egg substitute in this recipe. And the squash means you can eat veggies in dessert without even tasting it! If squash isn’t your thing, this can easily be made with a mashed banana or possibly applesauce instead!

The recipe can be easily adapted for any nuts or other add-ins you want, so it is quite versatile. The raspberries are optional as well and you could use strawberries or a different fruit to switch it up.

Additionally, while I baked this in the oven because I was using a heart-shaped springform pan, you can cook this cake in a mug and microwave it instead! This is a great option for the many college students who do not have a kitchen, or anyone who is pressed for time.


Recipe (makes one personal cake):


½ cup steamed and mashed butternut squash

2 tbsp cocoa powder

2 tbsp your choice of nut/seed butter

1 tsp baking powder

Splash of vanilla

Dash of cinnamon

A handful of raspberries (or desired fruit) - you can use frozen or fresh

A handful of sunflower seeds and coconut flakes for crunch (optional)

A handful of chocolate chips


1. Lightly oil a microwave-safe mug or small cake pan. If using an oven, preheat to 425 F.

2. Mix all ingredients together and add to your mug or cake pan.

3. If using a mug, microwave for about 3 minutes or until it has a cake-like consistency.

4. If baking, place the cake pan in the oven for about 15 minutes or until it has a cake-like consistency (you can also check if a toothpick inserted in the center comes out fairly clean).

5. Let cool, and enjoy! I topped it with more chocolate chips, raspberries, and raspberry yogurt, and it was delicious.


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