Sunday, November 20, 2016

Butternut squash fall spice cake with cream cheese frosting

A perfect alternative to pumpkin or apple cake, this butternut squash fall spice cake is bursting with autumn flavors! Take one bite and you'll think it's made of pumpkin (but it's not)!

One of my close friends from middle school came to visit me recently. She moved away before we started 8th grade and we've kept in touch ever since (via "snail mail" if you can believe it!). I've only seen her a handful of times since she moved, and it had been about 13 years since I saw her last.

She and I were not part of the popular clique in school. We had our close-knit group of friends but weren't part of the 'in' crowd. We had a great time reminiscing about our past and giggling about all the drama we used to create as teenagers.

Butternut squash, like my friend and I, typically isn't a popular baking ingredient in the fall. It gets overshadowed by apples and pumpkins and can often be forgotten. In fact, butternut squash is just as good as its fall friends. You just have to know how to use it.

This soft and fluffy fall spice cake is made with butternut squash puree and contains your typical fall spices. It's topped with a heavenly layer of cream cheese frosting. If you served a slice to your friends, they might mistake it for a pumpkin cake. But we both know better. This is definitely a dessert that lets the less popular kid shine for a while.

Butternut squash fall spice cake with cream cheese frosting 
Cake
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 and 2/3 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce 
  • 2 cups butternut squash puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour  
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice 
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
Frosting
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons or 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease and line two 9" or 10" round cake pans and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, beat together the eggs, sugar, applesauce, puree and vanilla extract on medium speed until well combined.

Turn the mixer to low and slowly add in the flour, baking powder, soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and salt.

Evenly distribute the batter between your two prepared baking pans and bake in your preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.

To make the cream cheese frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar until it is well combined. Add in the vanilla and salt. Continue to beat. If the frosting is too runny, add more powdered sugar. If it is too stiff, add a tiny splash of milk.

To assemble the cake, place one layer on a stand stand or plate. Using a serrated knife, cut off any part of the cake that has domed so your cake is level and flat. Spread a layer of cream cheese frosting on top. Add the second layer on top and again, cut off any part of the cake that has domed. Spread the remaining frosting on the top and sides of the cake.

Cake should be stored in an airtight container or covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator. It should keep for a few days.

Yield: One 10" cake; about 10-12 servings

Source: Barely adapted from Pastry Affair

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