Monday, October 20, 2014

Butternut Squash-Apple Coffee Cake

You guys, I did something the other day that I almost never do...

I baked a cake.  


I'm definitely not a baker. The forgiving nature of cooking - where I can follow a recipe but not actually measure anything, instead throwing in approximate amounts and tasting along the way - has always kept me far away from being a baking enthusiast. When you bake, everything has to be precise, measured out exactly, or you'll end up with a hard brick instead of a fluffy cake. I'm not so good with precise. But every once in awhile, usually for birthdays, I give it a try. In this case, I had signed up to bring a dessert to our new small group that we joined through the church we've been attending. And having just found this recipe in "Prevention Magazine" of all places, I thought I'd give a try.  I'm glad I made the effort.  One of the girls in our group declared it, "Fall in your mouth." I'd say that's a pretty good description.

As I was chopping up the squash I thought to myself, "What was I thinking! I don't bake! I better run out and get some back-up cookies after this thing comes out of the oven!"

This is the part - right here - where I started being glad that I decided to make this cake.  The smell of the batter is amazing. I knew at this point that there was no way the cake could be bad...unless I managed to botch the measuring of course...which was entirely possible.  


How did I get that dark gray background for this photo, you ask?  Well.  I took the photo on my dark gray couch just before I ate that delicious cake while watching the Virginia Tech/Pitt game on Thursday night after small group. It's too bad the game didn't even come close to being as good as the cake.  

Butternut Squash-Apple Coffee Cake
From Prevention Magazine

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Peel, seed, and dice 1 butternut squash (2lb) and place in an even layer on a greased baking sheet. Roast until soft, 20-25 minutes. Reserve 1 cup. Place remaining squash in food processor and puree until smooth. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees. Coat 9x9 inch baking dish with cooking spray.  Sift 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2tsp cinnamon, 1tsp baking soda, 1tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt in a medium bowl. Beat 1/3 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup unsalted butter (room temp) in large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in 1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt, 2 large eggs, and pureed squash until smooth. Stir in dry ingredients until combined. Fold in 1 cup peeled and diced Granny Smith apple and reserved diced squash. Pour into pan. Stir together 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans, 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, 2 Tbsp unsalted butter (room temp), and 1/2 tsp cinnamon until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter. Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool and dust with confectioners sugar, if desired.

Notes:  I know that seems like a long ingredient list, but I found that with the exception of the squash and the confectioners sugar, I had the rest of the ingredients already in my refrigerator and pantry. You probably do, too.  (And if your name happens to be Carrie Krohn, or if you have a fierce love of the butternut squash like aforementioned sister, you probably only have to buy the confectioners sugar.) I roasted the squash on an oiled piece of parchment paper for easy clean up. Don't forget to reserve 1 cup of squash to stir in later...I almost forgot that part. I ended up having to bake the cake for about 10 extra minutes for it to be completely done in the middle. My bad...I forgot the confectioners sugar when I sent the cake off to small group. 

Yes, you read that last sentence right. I didn't even try this thing before I sent Will off to our group with it. Annabel was sick (I wiped everything down, washed my hands a million times before and during baking and made it during her nap so she wasn't around - I was sanitary) so I had to stay home.  Which means I broke my number one rule of cooking which automatically extends to baking:  never serve to guests that which you have never tried yourself (aka - don't make a completely new-to-you recipe for guests). But it had to be good! It just HAD to be! And it was. Whew!  Also, it's great with coffee for a quick fall breakfast. 

Wishing you a lovely start to your week!

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