Monday, March 7, 2011

Brown Butter Butternut Squash Spice Cake

A little spice to light up your taste buds!
If your a real foodie, then food blogs like is the place to start. I am always spending time daydreaming of new and exciting healthy food for the goat and lilla a. I came across 101 cookbooks a few years ago, and it was like a breath of fresh air. It was so cleverly planned, well researched, and I could some what identify with the author Heidi Swanson's love of usual and quirky recipes and natural ingredients.

aw, butternut squash don't be afraid!
I never thought that I would be the author of my own food blog, but I am grateful to my very blog minded buddy Stacey for helping me reach one of my goals. Oh, I realize I am not the best writer, nor are my recipes anything special, but for me to have somewhat of an audience experiencing  my love of food is all I can ask for. So, for you few faithful readers, please keep on following me, and thank you for giving my dream a voice.This one's for you.

Adapted from 101 cookbooks brown spice cake

puree  after roasting
1/2 cups of unsalted butter
1/2 cups whole wheat flour
 plus 1 tablespoon each of butter and flour for the pan
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon (mill&mortor as well)
1 teaspoon Gram Masala curry ( I used Kandyan curry medium spice from the fusion spice blends from
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup fine muscovado sugar( plus another 1/2 tablespoons for topping)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup well-pureed roasted butternut squash
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup lightly toasted hazelnuts( I used hazelnuts because that is what I had on hand. The original recipe from 101 cookbooks uses almonds)

Puree: How to roast a butternut squash: Tip and top the gourd and cut lengths width. Scrape out the seeds, and slice in sections or quarters and place on a baking tray. I left the skins on, and peeled them off after roasting at 200 degrees C for 30 minutes.No need to season, butternut squash is sweet and lovely on it's own. Add to a bowl deep enough for your emulsifier and puree until nice and smooth. Set aside.

Brown butter method:
While your butternut squash is roasting. Add your butter to a small pot over medium heat. Watch it, you do not want it to scorch. I used salted butter, because that is what I had on hand. Let cook for around 25-20 minutes and clear away the excess foam if you desire. You know your butter has browned when you can smell this beautiful nuttiness from it, and the milk solids are the darkish bits on the bottom. Take off the heat and let cool, but not HARDEN!! If your in a hurry and you need to get this cake into the oven, you can skip this stage and just add the melted butter, but you loose a ton of flavor.
Adding the brown butter to the wet ingredients 

browned butter before I spooned off the foam. 
Now, wow you must be shaking your head, so many little things to do, for just one cake. I promise you it is so yummy, you will be adding this to your favorite cake recipes.Okay, now where are we? Oh, yes, the next step.....

adding wet to
take a large bowl, and sift your  dry ingredients flour, baking soda, curry powder,salt, cinnamon,cardamom  set aside.In another bowl add your muscovado sugar and whisk together with the eggs. Add your butternut squash puree,milk and the cooled butter. As in most cake recipes you then add the wet to the dry mixture only stirring until incorporated.

This recipe calls for you to use a loaf pan, but I have a great selection off vintage baking tins collected from church secondhand  stores, and I thought it would be great in a bunt cake pan.You need  to take the extra butter and flour and dredge the pan in the butter and then flour it with the extra flour to prevent the cake from sticking, and if your a beginner baker, I would stick to a loaf pan, as a bunt cake pan can be a little unforgiving around the flute. Set aside. I roasted my hazelnuts in a frying pan over medium heat until they were a starting to get some color and I could smell the oils being released.( I always take hazelnuts in a plastic sandwich bag and beat them with a meat clever until I am satisfied with the ratio of smashed cracked and halved nuts.)
right out of the oven!
After they have been roasted I stir in half the amount into the batter and pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and top the cake with the remaining nuts and left over muscovado sugar. Tap a few times on the counter to release any air bubbles and set in an preheated oven at 180 degrees c. The original recipe says to bake for 50 minutes, but this is a cake you do not want to over bake. I check it around 35 minutes and if your toothpick or skewer comes out clean remove from the oven. I always know that my cakes are finished when you can start to smell them baking. Let sit in the cake pan for 15-25 minutes then gently remove from the pan.
Serve with a good spicy cup of chai tea or a nice cup of hot strong coffee. Delicious!

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