Good thing The Salivating Seattleite isn’t my fiancé, because I totally forgot it was my 1st blogiversary! I know, that’s pretty bad. There are no excuses, just that I’ve been busy enjoying life. I started this blog one year ago because quite honestly, I wasn’t enjoying much of anything. My mom had just passed away; I was searching for a job after college graduation and adjusting to life back in my hometown, Seattle. I had high hopes that posting my own recipes and pictures on this site would distract me enough to rekindle my love of writing and food and get me through an awfully hard chapter of my life.
One year later and life isn’t perfect, but it feels much more fulfilling these days. I somehow managed to snag a handsome and intelligent man, a sweet step-son, and my dream job as a Culinologist/food scientist/nutritionist (culinology: the blending of food science, culinary arts and food technology) aka I get paid to play with food!
To commemorate my belated blogiversary, I knew I needed to make a cake. I love cake. But a regular cake just wouldn’t be in the style of The Salivating Seattleite, so I made a butternut squash gingerbread cake utilizing December’s Seasonal Seattleite feature: winter squash. Moist and tender from butternut squash puree and flavored with warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice, this homey holiday treat needs no garnish at all to be scarfed down on a cold Seattle night (or morning. Or afternoon) with a cup of coffee or tea. However, a light dusting of powdered sugar, a mint sprig or two and a sprinkle of chopped candied ginger dresses it up nicely for company. A dollop of crème fraîche or whipped cream would be lovely as well.
Hope you all have been enjoying salivating the last year as much as I have. Cheers!
Butternut Squash Gingerbread
Practically any fruit or vegetable puree could replace the butternut squash puree in this recipe. Try banana, applesauce, pear sauce, mango puree, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, anything really!
For those that would never pair the words “homey” and “dessert”together, turn this humble quick bread into a show stopping stunner: triple ginger ice cream cake. Yes. Fold ½ cup of chopped candied ginger into 1 pint of softened vanilla ice cream. and set aside. Carefully split the cake into two layers then line the clean baking pan with enough plastic wrap to hang over the edges of the pan. Put one cake layer in the pan, then dollop the softened ice cream onto the cake and spread into an even layer. Place the other gingerbread layer on top of the ice cream, then fold the plastic wrap up over the cake. Freeze for at least 3 hours before serving.
260 grams (2 cups) white whole wheat flour or a combination of whole whole wheat and all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
100 grams (½ cup) granulated sugar
180 grams (¾ cup) molasses
360 grams (1 ½ cups) butternut squash puree (see note)
120 grams (½ cup) plain yogurt
55 grams (1 large) egg
55 grams (¼ cup) vegetable oil or melted butter
6 grams (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)
Mint, candied ginger for garnish (optional)
Prep the pan. Spray a 9-inch square baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Make the batter. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, spices and cocoa. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, molasses, puree, yogurt, egg, oil or butter, vanilla, ginger and orange zest. Gently fold in the dry ingredients until just combined; do not overmix.
Bake the gingerbread. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the gingerbread for 35-40 minutes (rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time) until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before cutting. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and garnish with a mint sprig and candied ginger.
Note: To make the butternut squash puree, peel and remove the seeds from one small or one half of a large butternut squash. Cut the flesh into chunks and steam for 15 minutes, until tender. Puree until smooth.