How’s that title for a mouthful? So I wanted to try something different from my usual, you know trying to step out of my comfort zone. This recipe is by no means difficult, it’s just that it has butternut squash which I have never baked with before…or cooked with either for that matter. As much as I like to think that I have a pretty unbiased palate, I do tend to stay away from the unknown. Like the other time when I baked the chocolate cinnamon cake, it was something different, I tried it, didn’t like and will never make it again.
Tonight I thought that I would give it another go with a recipe I saw in Fine Cooking, Sweet Cakes Holiday Baking Issue. I picked up the magazine the other night while I was at the Home Depot of all places. I pretty much studied all the mouth-watering recipes during my morning commutes to work, and this one just stood out. So when I stepped off the bus today I walked into the corner fruit stand and purchased myself a butternut squash.
I rushed home, quickly checked the mail and made my way into the kitchen and got my grater out.
Having never cooked or baked with butternut squash I was a little uneasy, first I noticed how difficult it was to peel and how much more difficult it was to cut. Man, that is one hard-as-a-rock vegetable. So t here I was breaking a sweat trying grating this squash thinking that maybe it’s not ripe enough and I’ll end of with a dense cake. I quickly banished that thought from my mind and got back to the recipe only to remember that I forgot to but buttermilk. No worries I thought, I can make my own. You see the problem is the only milk I have in the fridge is 1% so I was pretty sure the cream of tartar trick wouldn’t work…and it didn’t, nor did the adding vinegar to the milk trick. Instead I opted to use plain yogurt instead, hey why not, I’ve made many delicious and moist cakes using yogurt.
Yogurt Cake with Spiced Vanilla Icing
Adapted from; Fine Cooking magazine, Sweet Cakes Holiday Issue
For the cake:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the pan
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 Tbs. distilled white vinegar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. table salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup plain yogurt
2-1/4 cups peeled and grated butternut squash
2-1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 Tbs. buttermilk; more as needed
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. table salt
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
Place rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 10-cup Bundt pan.
In a medium-sized bowl combine flour, nutmeg, ground ginger and salt.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute or so. Add the oil and beat until combined, about 15 seconds. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well on low-speed. Add the vinegar and vanilla and mix again until just combined. Add half of the flour mixture, mixing on low-speed until just combined. Add half of the buttermilk and mix until just combined. Repeat with the remaining flour and buttermilk.
Stir the squash into the batter and transfer the batter to the prepared pan; smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake about 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the centre. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes; then invert the cake onto a cooling rack. When the cake is completely cool, transfer it to a serving plate.
In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, yogurt, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt until smooth. Add more yogurt, as needed, until the icing is pourable but still pretty thick. Pour the icing back and forth in thick ribbons over the cooled cake. Sprinkle the ginger on top. Let the icing set at room temperature, about 45 minutes, before serving.