Butternut squash cake is always a favourite of mine, but this year i went a step further and made some dried butternut squash crisps to decorate it with.

They looked like petals or fall leaves so decided to arrange them like flowers.

I added a finely chopped pear and a little soft thyme from the garden along with some ground toasted hazelnuts.

I made some pumpkin butter to flavour the mascarpone frosting.

I’m not that keen on normal buttercream so i always frost my cakes with mascarpone mixed with cream.
Jump to Recipe Butternut squash crisps
The crisps wont stay crisp for long and absorb the moisture from the air so add to the cake just before serving.

I made a few batches of them and added some cinnamon. I ate quite a few of them fresh from the oven.

They are a really delicious snack on their own.

They have inspired me to make another cake and use them as leaves falling from a tree – so watch this space.

I found they kept their colour better in a low oven and baked for longer, rather than a higher temperature oven.

Bake them for 45 minutes to 1 hour, then flip and bake for another 45 minutes.

Then I removed any smaller ones that were crispy and baked the rest further until crisp.

Its time consuming, and takes about 2 hours, but i found it browned too quickly at 160 for 15 minutes each side.

(they would be perfect for fall leaves that way though)

I used grated butternut squash for the cake, like a carrot cake rather than using puree.

Then roasted butternut squash and used it in place of pumpkin to make the pumpkin puree for the pumpkin butter.

I found some hazelnuts on a dog walk so toasted and ground those to add to the cake.

Autumn is such an inspiring month for me, i find all the changing colours so fascinating.
The recipe
Usually I weigh all the ingredients for my cakes in grams, but this squash cake is in cups.

I have been baking it for years. Its always been made using american cups as i adapted a carrot cake.

I have tried to convert it to grams for you. But if you have cups, use those
Adapting it
This cake can be adapted to add other fruit instead of pear, i have used the recipe and made it with apple blackberry and butternut squash.

Also i used it for this ginger and walnut and date version.

Feel free to leave out the thyme and add more spices to make it even more autumnal and you can change the nuts for walnuts or pecans.

If you can’t get any soft leafy thyme i would only use a little of the harder variety as it can taste gritty.

Print Butternut squash pear thyme and hazelnut cake grated squash, chopped pear and thyme and toasted hazelnut sponge covered in pumpkin butter mascarpone frosting and dried butternut squash crisps. Course Dessert Cuisine european Keyword cake Ingredients For the sponge cake 1 cup (250ml-or 2 sticks) melted butter 2 cups grated butternut squash (190g) 1 pear (150g) finely chopped pear 1 cup caster sugar (200g) 1/2 cup brown sugar (85g) 2 cups self raising flour (255g) or mix plain flour with 2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp fresh thyme use soft leafy thyme and remove leaves from about 5 stems 85g ground toasted hazelnuts 1/4 tsp salt 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp vanilla extract 4 eggs Pumpkin butter 1 cup pumpkin puree 1/2 cup caster sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 tsp cinnamon 5 tbsp butter 1 tsp vanilla extract frosting 250 gram mascarpone scant 1 cup (doesn't have to be exact) 300 ml double cream 1/2 to 3/4 cup pumpkin butter to taste (start with half a cup and add more to your taste) 3 tbsp icing sugar Instructions For pumpkin butter (Make night before or at least 2 hours) In a pan add the puree, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla and mix over the heat until the sugar has melted. Once thickened add the butter and stir until it is melted. let cool and chill over night in the fridge. For the cake Grease and line three cake pans (8 inch), and preheat the oven to 160c Melt butter in a pan and let cool slightly then add to a mixing bowl and beat in the sugars until pale and well combined. Add the eggs one at a time beating at a high speed until aerated and fluffy, stopping to scrape the bowl between each one. Using a spatula fold in flour, cinnamon, vanilla and salt, Then fold in the ground hazelnuts and thyme. Peel and chop the squash and grate finely in a food processor. Then peel and finely chop pear, measure what you need and place in a kitchen towel and squeeze out the liquid and fold in to wet mixture Divide evenly between the three lined pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. let cool in tins for 10 minutes, then gently peel off paper and let cool completely on wire rack. Frosting Add cream and icing sugar in a bowl and whisk using a balloon whisk to thicken slightly then add the mascarpone and pumpkin butter and beat until thick enough to spread on cake. Don't over beat it. (if you do you can add a little more cream to loosen it) assemble cake using the cream I decorated it with dried slices of butternut squash that i cut thinly with a mandolin and dried out in a low oven (110c) for one hour on each side.

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