Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Recipe Impossible: Winter Squash

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!!

Dry Ingredients
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
1/2t cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1/8t fine ginger salt* (I ground in my coffee grinder)

Wet Ingredients
1/2c buttermilk
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!)

Butternut layer
1/2c roasted butternut puree
1 1/2T buttermilk (or your favorite milk)
seeds from 1/4 vanilla bean
1T cornstarch/arrowroot
2T +2t sucanat (or maple sugar or brown sugar)
1/3t cinnamon
1/4t ginger
1/8t nutmeg

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.


Lisa (bakebikeblog) said...

oh what a fun challenge indeed!

brandi said...

oh. my. goodness.

I bow to your winter squash creativity!!!

Any chance you have a slice of that to put in the mail? :)

Ali Pat said...

I can vouch for the deliciousness of the sauce over ice cream. YUMMMMM!!!!!

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

This cake looks AWESOME! Great job on the challenge...I bet only a few would attempt a sweet dish instead of a savory one!

GoBigGreen said...

Oh Boy, a cook! Thanks for reading my blog! I hope it helps you and you can find a PT in your area that does Postural Restoration! I just made Morrocan stuffed squash, it was so good, not the traditional Apple brown sugar boring ness i have grown to dislike, but ground beef, morrocan spices, quinoa...it was a home run!

Unknown said...

OMG . . espresso salted caramel? Those are like my favorite ingredients! Looks fantastic!

Lauren said...

I'll take a slice. Or 5. :)

Joanne said...

Moan. So amazing! that cake looks incredibly moist and the notion of espressso salted caramel is just blowing my mind. Seriously good job.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I would definitely love a slice, or two or three!!! This cake looks amazing, what a creative use of Marx Foods products!

Unknown said...

oh you totally need to try the chili in the chocolate! It would be awesome!

Elina (Healthy and Sane) said...

Caramel and chocolate are amazing together and I love how you made it a bit more nutritious with some butternut squash. Yes, you can definitely interest me in a slice ;)

Rosiecat24 said...

Wow. Oh wow wow wow. I just ate dessert, but now I want a slice of your cake (with extra sauce please!).

(And by the way, you are the sweetest reader. Thank you so much for your kind comment. xo!)

Monet said...

What a culinary masterpiece! You did such an amazing job with such a varied list of ingredients. This challenge truly created a great thing here. I'm eager to give this a go...Thank you for sharing, and thank you for your kindness!

Beth said...

That looks spectacular! What a wonderful combination of flavors.

Erica said...

whoa! How tasty is this? Super creative. I want some of that sauce to try. Great job chicky!

Alisa said...

What an amazing creation! And, yes please, I will take a slice!

Kelly said...

::Licks lips:: That looks absolutely fantastic. I've never paired squash and chocolate together but looking at your recipe I am not sure why.

SteveQ said...

Just found your blog. "Trying to find your way in a kitchen" and you come up with THAT? You've found your way.

But how hard must it be to harvest fennel pollen?!

Ricki said...

Um, yep, you definitely could interest me in a slice of that! Or, maybe, the whole thing--?? Looks utterly amazing! I love the double layers and the sauce. . . . *swoon* ;)

Delicious Dishings said...

Wow! That's so creative. I'm sure it did get rave reviews... how could it not?! :)

Meghan@travelwinedine said...

Very delicious and creative idea! This looks like something I would LOVE!

Reeni said...

This looks insanely good! And so creative! My entry pales in comparison!

Jess said...

Wow you are awesome! That looks sooo good.

Esi said...

Omg, love the butternut and chocolate combo. Must try!!

We Are Not Martha said...

What an awesome idea! It kind of reminds me of beet cake or sauerkraut cake :) It's SO pretty and I love salted caramel... So, yes, I would love a piece!


Jean said...

You're making this for us when????
Sounds insanely delicious!!
You took my creativity gene to the kitchen :)

Natalie said...

we were definitely on the same wavelength there with caramel sauce! that sounds AWESOME!

Cara said...

I can't believe I missed this opportunity from Joanne - it's so up my alley! oh well, congrats to you :) And yes, I will gladly have a slice!

Anonymous said...

Shannon this is super inventive! I made my first caramel sauce to go over an apple cake the other day and I couldn't believe how easy it was to make and how delicious it came out. Dangerous!!!


Kerstin said...

This was SOOO moist and flavorful - I can't wait to vote!!!

Joanna said...

OK, that is just so incredible! I'm adding it to my list. I think I'll make one of every challenge entry!
I had so much fun with that little box of goodies, so I need to use it all up.
Good luck to you!

Bridget said...

Deliciously creative!! But really how could it NOT be good with that salted caramel!

The Food Hunter said...

Great job! I've got a whole new respect for winter squash now.

Alyssa said...

This cake was amazing! I never would have thought to turn squash into a dessert, but this was simply delicious!

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