Butternut Squash Cake

by horseradishsauce

In the spring out here in AZ, there is a thing called Market on the Move. For every $10 you pay, you get ~60 lbs of produce. We get a lot of melons, squashes, tomatoes, and cucumbers. In March, they had a MASSIVE box of jalapeñfonzy melonos.
We make the cucumbers into homemade pickles and freeze a lot of the extra stuff we can’t eat right away.
By the way, if you ever have a chance to pick up a fonzy melon, they are fantastic. The one you see on the right is quite ripe (about 2 weeks old), so the ones you find at the store tend to be more yellow. They taste sort of like a cross between a honeydew and a cantaloupe–sweet and fresh like a honeydew, but with a good amount of actual flavor like a cantaloupe.

Two months ago, my roommate and I got three butternut squashes. We didn’t eat them. The next month, we got another five. We’d tried making a soup with the banana squash from a previous month, and it was pretty unimpressive, and neither of us really likes eating roasted butternut squash, so I decided to make the butternut squash into a dessert. Foodgawker never fails me. I had a party and ended up messing up my cookies (I’m in an old, old house right now with an ancient dials-not-buttons-and-no-window-at-all oven), so I brought this cake instead. It was gone within a few minutes. I brought more pieces to class on Monday, and my classmates ate it all right away.

This cake is a slightly sweet cake that has a hint of butternut squash, similar to pumpkin bread. The main recipe is the cake with chocolate chips; my own cinnamon-swirl coffee cake variation is below.

Notes on making your own brown sugar and roasting/pureeing the squash are below the main recipe.

Butternut Squash Snack Cake 
(taken from The Live-In Kitchen)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar*
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups butternut squash puree**
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips***
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray (or wipe your butter wrapper on it).
In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth and thick. Fold in squash puree. Add flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and cinnamon and fold with a spatula until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan and smooth the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 24-27 minutes or until the top is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs attached. Allow the cake to cool completely before cutting. Cake will last three days well wrapped at room temperature.

*Make your own brown sugar
 If you want to save money, make your own brown sugar: mix 1 cup white sugar with 1-2 tablespoon molasses. At first, it looks like it will never combine, but if you keep stirring it with a fork and smashing the molasses chunks, you’ll have fluffy, fresh brown sugar. Add more molasses for darker sugar. I prefer using 2 tablespoons to one cup, which results in brown sugar that is slightly darker than the “light brown sugar” at the store and not quite as dark as the dark stuff.

**Pureeing the squash
I roasted it first by cutting the squashes in halves with the cut side against the pan and baking it at 400° for about 10 minutes.
Once the squash cooled a little, I skinned it and cut it into small chunks. It doesn’t have a lot of water, so I had to puree it by throwing in the chunks then adding water (1/2 cup – 1 cup at a time) until it finally made a puree. I also had to stop the blender and move the chunks around so the blades could reach them. Maybe it’s because I was using a blender instead of a food processor; I don’t know. 

**Alternative to chocolate chips, Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake:

Cinnamon Swirl:
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
• 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 3 tablespoons brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons cinnamon
(Mix all together)

Cinnamon Crumble Topping:
• 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
• 1/3 cup granulated sugar
• 2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 3 tablespoons butter, melted
(Whisk the dry. Add butter, tossing until it forms crumbs)

Directions:
Make the batter as above. Pour half the batter into the pan, then add the swirl with about a 1” border so that it doesn’t leak out of the cake while baking. I don’t really “swirl” it—I just drizzle it on top of the layer.
Add the rest of the batter, then press the crumble mixture lightly into the surface. Bake as previously stated.

 

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