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.
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!