Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Butternut squash cake with maple whipped topping

Hello everybody!! The Fresh Pioneer is back and I have a sweet little something for your Thanksgiving week.

For once, an actual picture of the food I will be cooking and cyber serving. (See, I'm so smart I always post the first pic of something really pretty because that shows up on the link. Crazy like a fox, I am. If I posted a picture of the actual food no one would ever click.)

 So, first you need 4 cups of butternut squash, cooked and blended. (I'll pause while you get that done... *taps toes impatiently* Wait, you can buy them in little packages that go in the mircowave?? Huh.)

 Preheat the oven to 325F. Rub tummy and say , "This is going to be delicious!" Positive thinking matters.

Blend one cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of butter, 3 eggs, 3 tbs lemon juice and the 4 c of cooked squash together with ONE CUP of flour. Edna went to town with this. Squash was flying everywhere! But she was happy so I let her go...


 (Mmmmm. Edna says that butternut squash is VERY GOOD FOR US! Lots of Vitamin A and C and fiber. Of course, I think she meant it's really good before we put all that butter and sugar in, but we'll just pretend it's still going to make us super healthy!)

Next add in a small bowl ONE MORE CUP of flour plus :

2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 allspice

Mix well and add into the main mixture. Pour into small ramekins (I love those things!) or a shallow baking dish.

Place the ramekins in one inch of water and bake for about 30 minutes. They seemed to take a long time to cook. Maybe I was hungry. Maybe it was all the small people clinging to my legs and pleading with their big, googly baby eyes for SQUASH CAKES.
So, finally they're done (the tops are cracked, which is what one recipe said, but even then they were coming out goopy when poked, so I gave them more time).

So, the original recipe said the topping was sabayon flavored with Jack Daniels, which had been left alone for three weeks with two vanilla beans 'infusing the flavor'.

Got all that???
So, I went to my local supermarket, paid $15 for two whole beans, bought some whiskey, plopped in the beans, and left it in the laundry room for three weeks...

(Stephen Colbert giving me the skeptical face.)

 Fine, I did no such thing. Honestly, I think that part of the recipe was a test to see who was paying attention.

So, heavy cream whipped by a strong man, while the bowl is held by a small boy. (How's that for specific??)

Add 2TBS sugar, 1TSP vanilla and 2 TPS maple flavoring.  One dash of cinnamon for pretty.

Here's Edna all cleaned up and enjoying her serving of squash cake. She asked for just a few bites because she's watching the sugar.
I think this was one of the best things to ever have emerged from my oven. The smell was amazing and the taste was perfectly light, not too gooey or heavy, and definitely not just pumpkin flavor. Even without the Jack Daniels-vanilla bean pod- sabayon, it was delicious.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


  1. Um, are you saying that someone who has several huge bottles of vodka full of vanilla beans is crazy? Because I only have like 4 :D

    Try walking into a liquor store with a 2 year old on your hip and buying 4 bottles of vodka that they put in this real flimsy paper bag and when you walk back into the parking lot the paper bag splits open and the (thankfully plastic) bottles spill out on the parking lot and you're trying to pick them up along a busy street carrying a kid on your hip.

    I can only imagine what the people in the cars were thinking of me!

    BUT, funny story aside, it's the best vanilla extract in the world! My family brings their empty bottles over for refills. It's cheap (buy the vanilla beans off of ebay!) and powerful yummy!

    Here's my recipe in case you want to see where I get the vanilla beans and the cost breakdown.

    But don't be knocking us laundry room vanilla bean liquor ladies!

    1. Melissa!!! I never thought of doing this!!!! Oy, what a great stinkin' idea!

  2. WHA??? I amde vodka cranberry liqueur when I was in college and it was DELICIOUS. But we drank it, not cooked with it.

    Honestly, I don't think my .99 bottle of fake vanilla extract is a better money saver than four giant bottles of vodka plus vanilla beans! Maybe in the long run... but I'm a short run kinda gal. Or a no-run.

    Love your blog, btw. LOVE IT.

  3. Oops, I mean 'I don't think my fake van extract is MORE expensive than four giant bottles of vodka plus real vanilla beans.'

    I been hittin' the vodka, what can I say...

  4. I bought that many because that was the family Christmas gifts that year. :) And I always convince people to go in with me and split up the beans and introduce them to good stuff. The vanilla extract only gets better with age.

    1. I read that link and it sort of convinced me... But I'm still pretty sure that if I kept bottles of vodka around they wouldn't be used for cooking!

    2. Wait, Melissa... does it darken like store-bought vanilla or stay pale? And is it as strong? It continues to strengthen as you let it sit???? (wheels turning rapidly which isn't fair at 4:30 AM...)

    3. Uh oh. And the converts line up...

      Yankee Belle Cafe will become famous for its multitude of delicious vodka vanilla recipes.

      Vanilla vodka? Hm. Wonder which one comes first.

      Probably depends on the amount used!

    4. Hubby's taken a shot of the stuff I took a sip, but then I don't like alcohol, so my reaction wouldn't mean anything to anybody, but he sure couldn't wait to try it. Don't remember his reaction. But the man takes hits off apple cider vinegar to keep from getting colds and well, I tried that once and said I'd rather be sick, so just because the man downed it doesn't mean it was any good. :)

      It does darken, not too much more than the picture on the blog though. And it has the beautiful black granules of vanilla in it, yum.

      It is more powerful, I generally get away with half of what the recipe calls for. And when I'm done with a bottle, I leave the old beans in there and add more and it makes it even darker. (It does have to sit about a month (turn it over once or twice a day) before you can use it, though sometimes I get too impatient if I was low when I made the next batch of goodies and it's fine.

      I think I've heard of people using brandy instead of vodka, but the cheapest is vodka and I'm cheap though the taste of brandy is a bit more palatable to me if I were forced to drink it. But cheapest of cheap vodka which hubby says tastes like paint thinner (um, how does he know that?...) works just fine for extract. It smells heavenly.

      And yes, the longer it sits the better. But yeah, I keep my vanilla supply up because the family comes over with empty bottles begging. :)

  5. Not to mention you start looking for more recipes needing vanilla cuz it's just so yummy. :)

  6. I have no stories about vodka but I DO buy the cubed squash. Best invention EVER!

    And, thanks V., I can make this with COCONUT flour and have it be lower carb! Such an easy recipe. Those are the easiest to adapt.

    Melissa, I can just see it!

    Happy Thanksgiving.
    Peace, Julie

    1. Julie, you low-carb queen, what a great idea.

      What is coconut flour? Because the last time I looked, coconut wasn't a grain.

      Is this an Obama thing?

    2. What? Obama? Hahaha! I'm cackling! So lost...

  7. Oh, good! I'm so glad! But what about the sugar? Is it enough to replace the flour?

  8. Okay, I'm making my list...

    Vanilla beans from e-bay
    Vodka from the local liquor store (minus the 2-year-old)
    Frozen cubed squash (I've never seen it at the store before...)
    Coconut flour
    Recipes using lots of vanilla

    My goodness, the things one learns at the cafe!

    1. You can get two year olds at the liquor store?? Makes sense. :O


  9. By the way, Virginia dear, the butternut cakes and maple (mmm...) whipped topping look marvelous!

    1. I'm such a fan of this recipe. Honestly. It was delicious. Very fancy and not a lot of time.

  10. Cake from butternut squash? Who knew? Certainly not me. Probably because the only squash I ever buy/fix is acorn. Even then, I'm the only one who eats it. My guys just do not care for many veggies. But disguised...? Hmm....

    1. Well, I don't know if it counts when it's wrapped in buter and sugar, but it was still goooooooood

  11. This looks yummy, Virginia. Glad you and Edna gave it a whirl. :-) I don't have any ramekins though -- could I bake it in a regular cake tin do you think? And all this talk of vodka and whiskey!!! Oh my - - in a cafe too!

    1. The original recipe called for a normal cake pan, but I used the ramekins because it's easier for portion control in our house. (In otherwords, I don't eat half the pan!)

  12. Wow let's see if I have this straight -to get a kid to eat his veggies cover them with ranch dressing and to get a man to eat his veggies over them with vodka. Got it! If I ever get married I'll know how to keep my hubby happy thanks to ya'll's recipes and the local liquor store!:-)

    Susanna who loves u guys! :-)

  13. Virginia, I somehow missed this post!! Sounds so yummy!

    Melissa, I'll be over with my empty vanilla extract bottle! :)

  14. This site is going to make me jealous and starved - I can't cook at all! (and by can't I mean I won't :D)