Monday, 13 February 2012

Squash Cake

For the past few months I've been itching to make a cake, but I didn't just want to make your typical chocolate or vanilla (although I would not complain about having either one right now). I wanted something different. Albiet, something cozy and comforting, but something almost, what's the word... wierd. So when I was reading Laura Calder's French Taste and came across this recipe for Squash Cake, I had to try it as part of my review.

Maybe this isn't considered "wierd" in other parts of the world, and I guess when you think about it, pumpkin is very similar to squash, and that was probably considered wierd at one time, too (but I'm extremely glad that it caught on - pumpkin is one of my favourites). You can use pumpkin instead of squash in this recipe, but I thought, hey, let's try something new, and besides, pumpkin cake doesn't sound as adventurous as squash cake, which is what I think when I think of French food - adventure.

Now, onto the cake.

Squash Cake

3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 corn flour
2 cups squash or pumpkin puree
1/4 cup rum
Zest of 1 orange
Cinnamon whipped cream

Now, if you cannot find squash puree anywhere, don't panic. I tried looking, but couldn't find any so I just made my own. The recipe does not specify which type of squash to use, so I just went with a butternut squash.

If you find yourself needing to make your own squash puree as well, just split the squash in half, and pop in a 350(F) oven on a pan covered in tin foil, for about 30 minutes, or until fork tender.

Once it cools to room temperature, scoop it out of the peel and into a blender, leaving out any bits that may have gotten crispy, and 'puree' it. No need to add liquid or oil of any kind, it should do on it's own. You may have to stop and stir it a few times until the blender runs smoothly, but should only take a few minutes.

You'll really only need about one large squash. I did two only because I have never made anything with squash before, and wasn't sure how much it would give me.

Preheat your oven to 350 (F). Now, beat the yolks and sugar together.

Beat in cornstarch and corn flour until smooth.

Continuing on with the beating, beat in the squash (or pumpkin) puree, rum, and orange zest. Set aside and beat your egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Fold the egg whites into the squash mixture. Again, just as with the angel food cake I previously wrote about, it's important to fold and not stir, so that the egg whites don't go flat.

Done! Now how easy was that?

Pour batter into a 9-inch springfoam pan that has been lined with parchment paper. I think mine was a little bigger than 9-inches, but it still worked out fine. If your pan is bigger or smaller, just keep an eye on it as cooking time may vary.

Bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Serve with cinnamon whipped cream.

This recipe was very simple, and despite the reputation that squash has as a heavier vegetable, this cake is quite light, thanks to how little flour and other heavier ingredients there were, and of course, the egg whites.

For some reason, even though the main ingredient of this cake is squash, I wasn't actually expecting it to taste like squash. Call that sillyness on my part. I had never actually had butternut squash before, at least not to my knowledge.

If you're a squash lover, you will definately love this cake. The rum and orange flavours are also quite distinguished. I admit, I had a hard time getting into it, but I'm still glad I made it. The rest of my family, however, loved it, and it was gone the next day. I must also say, that the texture in this cake was incredible. When you take it out of the oven and lightly put your finger on it, it's very spongey and makes almost like a wheezing noise, which is very cute (as cute as wheezing can get). As it cools, it gets slightly denser, but still remarkably soft and moist.

The next time I make this cake (oh yes, I will be making it again) I am going to try it with pumpkin, but instead of only adding cinnimon to the whipped cream, I'm going to try adding pumpkin spice to the cake batter (cinnamon, nutmeg, pinch of ginger), and perhaps a strong vanilla whipped cream, as well. I'm gonna see if there's a way I can sneak some maple syrup in there too. Perhaps in place of half the rum? or maybe an espresso flavouring of some kind? That could be disastrous... I guess we'll see in due time, but first, provencal roast lamb, accordian potatoes, house vinaigrette, and a souffle.

No comments:

Post a Comment