The Challenge: Pair two ingredients from a top secret mystery package (courtesy of Marx Foods) with winter squash that will help Joanne's orange complexion this year ;)
In the mystery package? Anji Panca and Pasilla Negro Chilies, maple and coconut sugar, ginger and espresso salt, fennel pollen and vanilla beans.
|Roast your butts|
The wheels immediately started turning and I came up with a few ideas. I was thinking of a chili (brandi's looks delicious... although i don't know that i should be linking to my competition ;) ), but there was one thing I couldn't shake: Espresso Salted Caramel Sauce. Oh yes.
|Ready to bake|
Given espresso's penchant for bringing out the best in chocolate, I decided to whip up with a butternut chocolate cake. I wanted the butternut squash to be a major player, so I added some into the cake itself and then put some more on top for good measure ;)
|Moist and delicious.|
Butternut Chocolate Cake w/Espresso Salted Caramel Sauce, indeed. I was seriously excited when I took my first bite and thought about how I didn't want to share...
|Oh the drizzle... I'd bathe in that salted caramel sauce.|
But I did, and it got rave reviews! Can I interest you in a slice?
Espresso Salted Caramel Sauce
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Yield: a dangerous amount (just shy of 2c)
While I created this for the butternut chocolate cake below, this would also be amazing over some ice cream, apples, off the spoon... use your imagination, not restraint ;)
1c granulated sugar
6T unsalted butter, RT
1 1/2t espresso salt*
2/3c heavy cream, RT
In a 2qt saucepan over medium heat, whisk sugar until it turns dark amber. Add butter and espresso salt and whisk until butter has melted and is well incorporated. Remove from heat and pour in heavy cream (it will bubble up) and whisk until combined. Cool 10-15min before using. I almost filled 2- 8oz glass jars. Store in the fridge, just be sure to warm before using!
|Butternut Chocolate Cake, cooling... temptation.|
Butternut Chocolate Cake
adapted from Eating Well & Oh She Glows
Yield: 8" round cake
I was tempted to try some of the ground chiles in the chocolate cake, and I totally think it could work. I might just have to make it again soon!!
3/4c + 2T white whole wheat flour (or AP flour)
1/3c maple sugar*
1/4c + 2T unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4t baking powder
3/4t baking soda
dash of nutmeg
1/8t fine ginger salt* (I ground in my coffee grinder)
7.5oz roasted butternut squash puree
1/4c sucanat (or brown sugar)
seeds of 1/4 Madagascar vanilla bean*
3T egg substitute (or 1 egg)
2T mild flavored oil
2T agave (or honey, I'm guessing maple syrup also would've worked but I just thought of that!)
1/2c roasted butternut puree
1 1/2T buttermilk (or your favorite milk)
seeds from 1/4 vanilla bean
2T +2t sucanat (or maple sugar or brown sugar)
Preheat oven to 350deg. Spray an 8" cake pan with nonstick spray (I used the one with flour).
In a medium bowl, sift together flour and cocoa powder. Add rest of dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Add butternut squash, buttermilk, sugar and seeds of the vanilla bean to the bowl of a mixer (fitted with the whisk attachment if you're using a stand mixer). Beat on low speed until well combined. Add the egg and mix. Stir in oil and honey. Fold in dry ingredients until just incorporated. Pour into prepared pan.
For the butternut layer, stir together cornstarch, sugar and spices. Add pumpkin, vanilla and milk and mix well until there are no clumps. Spoon butternut squash mixture on top of cake batter (I used a little more than half) and swirl around with a knife. Bake in preheated oven for 35-45min, until a toothpick comes clean. Mine took 40min, and while there will be a little moisture from the top butternut layer, there should be no batter from the chocolate cake. Cool on a wire rack (try to let it cool completely... I had trouble with this!).
Slice and serve with espresso salted caramel sauce. Swoon. Lick your plate. Go back for seconds :)
Thank you Joanne and Marx Foods for this opportunity-- this was alot of fun, and I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!!!
*Disclaimer: samples were provided at no cost from Marx Foods.