In some parts of the world these are known as Winter Squash which proves quite confusing as squash in Australia usually refers to a zucchini-like vegetable that look a lot like this.
While these butternuts make the best soup I thought I'd do something a little different and use them in a sweet recipe. I know you can make pumpkin cakes but it's not something I've ever done before. Salvation was found in the latest edition of Dish magazine (No 37) and their recipe for Pumpkin Loaf with Butterscotch Icing. While the icing is very nice it's not really necessary and you may well be overdosing on sugar if you choose to make it - a simple dusting if icing sugar is really all you need.
[Makes 6 small loafs]
200 grams soft brown sugar
75 grams melted butter, cooled
150 grams grated raw pumpkin
1 orange, zest only
225 grams plain flour
15 grams baking powder
2 teaspoons mixed spice
30 grams butter
60 grams soft brown sugar
Place the soft brown sugar, melted butter and eggs into a bowl and whisk until smooth. Take a spatula and stir in the grated pumpkin and orange zest.
In a separate bowl, mix together the plain flour, baking powder and mixed spice - give it a stir and then sift this into the pumpkin mix. Once mixed through, spoon out the batter into buttered and lined loaf tins - use a ice-cream scoop to evenly portion out the mixture. Fill the pans 3/4 full.
Bake in a preheated 150°C oven until golden and cooked through - these took about 40 minutes. If you are baking this as a single loaf then the time needed will increase.
Let the cakes cool slightly in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
Make the butterscotch icing:
Place the butter and brown sugar into a small saucepan on a low heat - stir well until the sugar has melted and then let it bubble for a minute. Pour in the cream and using a whisk, whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat and add sifted icing sugar a little at a time until it reaches a thick, spreadable consistency.
Slather the icing onto the cold cakes and then leave to set.
The hints of orange and the warmth of spice give this a real autumnal feel and I can imagine this would be brilliant for the halloween/thanksgiving season.