Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fine Cooking Issue 97 Challenge: Buttermilk Cake with Spiced Vanilla Icing

I'm not a baker. It usually takes special pans or equipment, lots of ingredients, lots of steps and measuring, and you have to pay attention or you'll blow it. When you cook you can almost always create and correct on the fly. Baking is for people like my sister who revel in the details.

This is only part of the ingredients. I had already measured the flour and sugar and got the eggs and butter out to warm to room temp. I also spent a fair amount of time searching my basement for my ancient Bundt pan, that probably hasn't seen the light of day in fifteen years. I'm surprised I didn't sacrifice it in the garage sale last year.

The secret ingredient in this cake was grated butternut squash. I think a lot of people are intimidated by winter squash because they don't know how to peel it and cook it.

It really isn't a big deal. A regular peeler is all you need to get a butternut naked quick, and a grapefruit spoon is my secret weapon to get the guts and seeds out.

I usually cut the neck off and deal with the bottom, seed filled part separately.

The icing was confectioner's sugar (yeah - a box buried in the pantry), buttermilk, vanilla, a little salt and freshly grated nutmeg. I buttered and floured the pan as best I could (another deal breaker for me: any recipe starting with 'butter and flour pan...') but the cake protested when I flipped it on the plate and promptly broke in half.

No biggie. I put it back on the plate and disguised the damage with the icing.

Luckily my girlfriend Liz and her daughter just stopped by to deliver my yearly Thin Mint fix so I gave them half of the cake. Because it's really, really good, and I can't risk having it around too long.

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