I’ve mentioned it quite a bit this month that some items in our CSA has been more difficult to get through than others. Produce like kale and onions were used within a day or two, while squashes and sweet potatoes have found practically a permanent residence on the shelf next to our Keurig.
I’ve honestly never made a cake with butternut squash before, but being related to pumpkin, I figured why not do a twist on a cake that I love so much this time of year. Also, I had such good luck with my sweet potato cake, that I was hoping I’d ride on that recipe karma to something fantastically unexpected.
Yes, I always have high expectations. That’s how I roll.
I’m glad that I took the chance, as this cake is incredibly moist, lush, with bits of chocolate speckled through the batter, yet countered beautifully with the bright, tart cranberries. It’s something that I look forward to making again, especially since squash season is far from over and warming our apartment with an oven baking a cake is far better than turning on the radiator (hello humidifier, please jump into my trunk at Target because our heater hates my hair).
Adapted from Sweet Potato Spice Cake with Dried Cranberries
This makes two cakes, but can be easily halved. The batter is especially thick and when the original recipe is used (for the two cakes), it is a large amount, therefore making one cake should be considered especially when not using a stand mixer.
5 cups of butternut squash “moosh” (1 large butternut squash) *Peel, de-seed and cut your squash into chunks and place on a microwave safe plate. Cover with a paper towel and microwave until very soft. (This took me about 10 minutes.) Mash the chunks until very smooth, thus “moosh.”
One and a half cups of sugar
2 flax seed eggs (2 tablespoons of ground flax seed, mixed with 6 tablespoons of water, set aside for ten minutes)
1 cup of unsweetened unflavored almond milk (or another non-dairy milk)
Three quarters of a cup of mild tasting olive oil (if you are halving this recipe, you will need 6 tablespoons of olive oil)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
4 cups of white whole wheat flour
1 heaping tablespoon of baking soda
1 heaping tablespoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1 cup of dried cranberries (I love it when the dried cranberries plump up in a cake, so yes, 1 cup it is)
Quarter to a half cup of chocolate, chopped
Quarter cup of turbinado sugar, for sprinkling (you can use regular sugar)
1 large sized mixing bowl (the biggest one you have, seriously)
1 medium sized mixing bowl
Two 9″ cake pans
Parchment paper (optional) or grease your pan (with butter, like Earth Balance, and dust with flour)
Place the oven rack in the middle position in your oven. Preheat your oven to 350F.
In the medium sized mixing bowls, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk the ingredients together, till combined.
In the large sized mixing bowl, add the butternut squash “moosh,” flax eggs, sugar, almond milk, olive oil and vanilla extract. Stir till combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, in increments. Stir till combined. Fold in the dried cranberries and dark chocolate. The batter is going to be extremely thick and you’re going to question my sanity. Trust it.
Spoon out the batter into your pans.
Bake for about about 35 – 45 minutes. At the 30 minute mark, sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the tops of the cakes. At the 35 minute mark, use a cake tester (like a toothpick), and insert into the middle of the cake. If it comes out with a little bit of crumb, it’s done. If not, put it back in the oven for another five minutes, and check again.
When done, remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature before serving.