Butternut Squash Cake with Maple Icing

butternut squash cake

With its naturally sweet taste, bright orange hue, and delicate flavor, butternut squash is one of the most popular fall/winter vegetables. Besides pumpkin, it's an iconic vegetable of the season and it's one of my favorites because of its many wonderful culinary uses. I like squashes even more than pumpkins. When Thanksgiving arrives, I'll be making my usual squash pie instead of pumpkin pie. Until then I'll enjoy the vegetable in many forms, cubed and roasted, pureed in soups, and baked into quick breads and cakes. It's just that versatile.

In this recipe, I do something unexpected. I use grated squash instead of pureed squash from a can. Much like carrot cake, the strands of squash become suspended in the batter, forming a beautiful and tender cake. A great texture is achieved from a half-and-half mix of white and whole-wheat flours. The cake is much like a quick bread in that it is not overly sweet. Bake it in a Bundt pan or tube pan, or two medium loaf pans. Drizzle it with a maple syrup icing for just a little extra sweet fall flavor. When friends stop by for coffee or tea, serve them this easy and reliable cake.

To prepare the butternut squash, start by cutting it in half crosswise and lengthwise using a sturdy knife. Remove the seeds, peel the skin using a sharp knife or vegetable peeler. Cut the 4 pieces into smaller planks and shred the squash in a food processor fitted with the grater blade. A medium-size squash will yield about 4 cups. This recipe uses 2 cups. The extra 2 cups can either be used to make a second cake or would do well sautéed or steamed and pureed for a quick side dish.

This fall I'm participating in A Way to Garden's first Fall Fest, a continuation of Summer Fest. Every Wednesday a summer produce will be the theme. This Wednesday it's pumpkins and winter squashes. To participate all you have to do is something as simple as leaving a comment or linking to a favorite blog post or informational site. You can share gardening tips, recipes, and/or pictures. Visit the Fall Fest link for more information. Many other blogs are participating and it would be great to see how far the conversation goes.

My favorite recipes using winter squash:
Chicken Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash
Lebanese Lamb-and-Bulgur-Stuffed Acorn Squash
Lemon-Thyme-Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash
Squash and Honey Pie with Cornmeal Crust

Butternut Squash Cake with Maple Icing

1-1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
2 cups shredded butternut squash
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch tube cake pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: both flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs and both sugars until frothy. Add oil and milk. Make a well in the dry ingredeints and add the wet ingredients; mix until just combined. Stir in shredded squash until evenly distributed.

Dollop batter into prepared pan, smoothing top. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and maple syrup until smooth; drizzle over bread. Yield: 12 servings.