Butternut Squash Layer Cake

It’s easy to get side-tracked in this modern world.  Text messages, phone calls, and e-mails demand our constant attention.  Or, as it may be, distract our attention from the tasks at hand.  Answering e-mails, flowing with the speed and strength of an angry river, evokes a triage center, with each incoming e-mail mentally sorted by its degree of urgency.  Phone calls and text messages are no better, and the dangers associated with driving and phoning are well-documented.

Video games and the Internet are different species of the same beast.  Punching controller buttons will always be more entertaining than punching the clock.  And when the project at hand is growing tiresome, the browser icon is always a quick click away.  There is always a headline to read or a score to check.  There is always something out there, in need of your attention.

I’m not sure how it happened, but somehow this post got neglected.  I should, of course, distinguish between posting this birthday recipe several months after-the-fact, and celebrating Caitlin’s birthday several months-after-the fact.  The former is certainly excusable; the latter, less so.

Last November, Caitlin celebrated her birthday.  To mark the occasion, I wanted to make her a cake that would satisfy both her sweet-tooth, and her love for butternut squash.  After scouring the Internet for a recipe combining butternut squash and layer cake, I found my answer.  I do not, however, have any answer for why this post was so long in the making!

Butternut Squash Layer Cake

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.

PREP TIME: 40 minutes
COOK TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: Serves 10

WHAT TO GRAB:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 cup cooked, puréed, butternut squash
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup milk

BROWN SUGAR FROSTING
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
3 egg whites
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

HOW YOU DO IT:

1.  In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well.  Mix in the squash and vanilla.

2.  In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Working in batches, and alternating with the milk, add the dry ingredients and milk to the creamed mixture.

3.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 9-inch cake rounds.

4.  Pour equal amounts of batter into each.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool the cakes in the pan for 10 minutes, and then remove the cakes to a wire rack, to cool completely.

BROWN SUGAR FROSTING

5.  in a heavy saucepan, combine the brown sugar, egg whites, water, cream of tartar, and salt.  Over medium-low heat, whisk the mixture constantly, until a thermometer reads 160°, about 8-10 minutes.

6.  Pour the frosting into a mixing bowl, add the vanilla, and beat on high speed, for 5 minutes, or until the mixture is the consistency of icing.

7.  To assemble the cake, use an off-set spatula to generously apply icing between the layers of cake, and along the top and sides of the cake.  (The icing will condense, especially if the cake is refrigerated).  When transferring the cake rounds, I’ve found the underside of a pot’s lid will help prevent the rounds from breaking.  Pipe your birthday or congratulatory greeting, and serve!

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6 responses to “Butternut Squash Layer Cake

  1. I know why! It’s partly because I never got my act together to write down the recipe for the doberge cake that I made for you! Whoops…

    This cake was reeeaaalllyy good and totally satisfied my butternut squash desires! I think it would also taste good with a cream cheese frosting.

  2. anabela pereira

    the look is divine yumm yummm 🙂

  3. Charles! This looks delicious!

    Also, I love your sentence:

    “Answering e-mails, flowing with the speed and strength of an angry river, evokes a triage center, with each incoming e-mail mentally sorted by its degree of urgency.”

    Brilliant!

  4. Thanks Rebecca! I really appreciate your note about my writing; when I created the blog, I wanted it to be as much about the writing as it was the cooking.

  5. oh my gosh. i HAVE to try this cake.

    and awww what a thoughtful thing to do for caitlin! 🙂 love it.

  6. i had never imagined butternut squash and cake together (two of my loves), but it looks absolutely wonderful.

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