Honeynut squash brings extra sweetness to this cake, perfectly balanced with fall spices and a rich, nutty maple brown butter glaze.
Prep time: 20 min | Cook time: ~1 hr 10 min | Total: 1 hours 30 min, plus cooling | Makes 10-12 servings
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup unsalted butter, soft but cool
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature
15 ounces honeynut squash purée, see notes
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 cup organic maple syrup (we used Grade A Dark Robust)
Pinch of salt
1 to 2 tablespoons lightly toasted pepitas (optional)
Heat oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour a 12-cup capacity bundt pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, and black pepper until well combined.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine brown sugar, butter, and olive oil. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing for about 20 seconds in between each egg. Add the honeynut squash purée and sour cream and mix until well combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, and use a rubber spatula to fold in the dry ingredients until well combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan, smooth the top, and firmly tap the pan on the countertop a few times to release any large air bubbles. Bake the cake until golden and puffed and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes.
Set the cake, still in its pan, on a rack to cool for 20 minutes, then use the tip of a knife to loosen the edges and invert the cake onto the rack to cool completely before glazing.
Once the cake is cool, melt the butter for the glaze in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook the butter, occasionally scraping the bottom and sides of the plan with a rubber spatula until it turns a deep golden brown and releases a nutty aroma. Watch the pan carefully so it doesn't burn.
Transfer butter and all the brown bits from the pan to a heat-safe bowl, and let cool slightly. Whisk in the confectioners' sugar, maple syrup, and salt until smooth. The glaze should be thick but pourable. If it's too thin, add more confectioners' sugar. If it's too thick, add a few drops of water.
Transfer the cake to a service platter and pour the glaze evenly over the top. Sprinkle with pepitas if desired. Let the glaze set for a few minutes before slicing.
Note: Honeynut squash purée is interchangeable with butternut squash or pumpkin but has a sweeter, nuttier flavor and can easily be found at your local farmers market during the fall.
To make honeynut squash purée, cut in a few squashes in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and top with cold butter (cut into small cubes). Sprinkle with sea salt, a few cracks of black pepper from a grinder, and a drizzle of organic maple syrup. Roast in the oven at 425 °F until tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Once cool enough to touch, either scoop the squash out or turn upside down on a cooling rack and press down to separate the squash from the skin. Purée in a food processor until smooth. Makes about a quart and can be refrigerated or frozen until use.
Recipes borrowed and adapted from NYT Cooking