Yossy Arefi’s Sweeter off the Vine focuses on seasonal fruits and how to them into delectable desserts.
The heavy dose of nuts and seeds paired with coconut oil lend this cake a wholesome and nutty texture and flavor. Make sure that the eggs and buttermilk are at room temperature to avoid making the coconut oil seize in the batter.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375ºF. Use a sharp knife to slice off a thin piece of the bottom of the squash to give it a more stable base, then cut the squash in half from root to tip. Rub each half of the cut squash with olive oil or vegetable oil and place it cut side down on a baking sheet. Add a couple of tablespoons of water to the baking sheet. Bake until the squash feels soft and a fork slides all of the way through easily, 40 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the squash. Let the squash sit on the baking sheet until it is cool enough to handle, then turn it over and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Discard the seeds and scoop out the flesh. Puree the flesh in a blender or food processor until smooth. Set the puree in a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl for 30 minutes to drain excess liquid. Store the puree in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days or in the freezer for up to three months.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF,
- Spread the walnuts, pecans, and pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are nicely toasted and fragrant. Let the nuts cool, then chop them into medium-fine pieces.
- Turn the oven down to 325ºF and butter and flour two 9 by 5 inch loaf pans.
- Whisk the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices together. Stir in the chopped nuts and seeds, reserving a few tablespoons of nuts and seeds to sprinkle over the tops of the loaves.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the oil and sugars. Mix on medium high until well combined, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the squash puree, and continue to mix on medium speed for another 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing for 30 seconds after each addition.
- With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the batter in three additions, mixing until just combined. Finish mixing the batter by hand with a rubber spatula.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Tap the pans gently on the counter to release any air bubbles, then sprinkle with the reserved nuts and seeds. Bake large loaves for 50 to 60 minutes, smaller loaves for 25 to 35 minutes. They are done when a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the loaves for 20 minutes before unmolding. Store loaves in an airtight container at room temperature for up to four days.
Reprinted with permission from Sweeter Off the Vine, by Yossy Arefi, copyright © 2016, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.