Are you looking for an easy flavorful holiday cake? Look no further! This dense, moist gingerbread recipe was sent to us by CSA Member Linda! As soon as she sent it to me it was at the top of my list of things to try – a gingerbread cake with shredded apples and butternut squash?! What a great idea, the squash and apples just melt right into the cake while it bakes, adding just the right amount of moisture and sweetness. I made Linda’s recipe with a few modifications based on this recipe, and what we had in the farm kitchen. Topped with fresh whipped cream and pomegranates, it’s the perfect festive dessert for the holidays!
This isn’t the first time we’ve used butternut squash in baking. It makes a great sub for all things pumpkin, like butternut squash pie, not pumpkin cookies, and cake. I really like the way it’s shredded here and paired with loads of fresh local ginger and a sweet liberty apple from The Good Life Farm! Butter and brown sugar add another layer of richness.
There’s one step to this cake that seems a little odd, the water is boiled before adding the baking soda. Turns out activating the baking soda in warm liquid before baking it yields a lighter, fluffier cake. If you warm the water in a larger pot than you need, you’ll be able to mix the whole cake in the pan before transferring it to a cake pan. As always I’d recommend a food processor to grate the squash and apple, but if you don’t have one elbow grease and box grater will do the trick!
Gingerbread Cake with Butternut Squash & Apples
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg or grated fresh nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup molasses
6 tablespoons butter cut into chunks
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 cup grated butternut squash
1 apple, cored and grated (skin left on)
1 teaspoon grated tangerine or clementine zest
fresh whipped cream
pomegranates tossed with tangerine or clementine zest
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 9″ inch round pan or 8×8″ square pan with butter and dust with flour.
Bring water to a boil in a medium or large saucepan. Turn off the heat and mix in the baking soda. (it will bubble and foam) Stir in the butter and let melt, then add the brown sugar and molasses. Whisk to combine. Let cool and whisk in the eggs.
In a medium sized bowl stir together the flour, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and salt together. Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet.
Fold the grated apple, squash, ginger, and zest into the batter. Transfer to the prepped pan. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cake cool in the pan, then invert onto a plate. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream topped with pomegranates.