Monday, December 21, 2015

Squash Tea Cake

Squash Tea Cake
It stared at me from the back of the fridge. I stared back, feeling ever more guilty as each day passed. Leftover squash! What to do with it? Use it in soup? Nah ... Done that too many times. Use it in pie? Always a good idea, but I didn’t have enough of it. Use it to ... Yes! I’d use it to prepare Squash Tea Cake!

I love this easy recipe! When I didn’t have quite enough leftover squash, I added an avocado. The result was delicious. Made from any kind of squash, this sweet tea bread is ideal for serving drop-in visitors. An added bonus: It also freezes well (see Note).

Squash Tea Cake:

1 c. (250 mL) granulated sugar

1/2 c. (125 mL) brown sugar
1 c. (250 mL) mashed, cooked squash (see Further Note)
1/2 c. (125 mL) canola oil
2 eggs
1/4 c. (60 mL) cold water
2 c. (500 mL) all-purpose flour  (see Head-Scratching Note)
1 tsp. (5 mL) baking soda
1/2 tsp. (2.5 mL) salt
1/2 tsp. (2.5 mL) nutmeg
1/2 tsp. (2.5 mL) cinnamon
1/4 tsp. (1.25 mL) ginger
1 c. raisins (125 mL), plumped (see Huh? Note)
1/2 c. chopped, toasted pecans (see Yet Another Note)

Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. In mixing bowl, combine granulated and brown sugars, cooked squash, oil, and eggs. Beat until well blended. Add and stir in water. Combine together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add to squash mixture, combining well. Stir in raisins and pecans. 

Spoon batter into spray-greased and floured 9x5x3 in. (23x13x6 cm) loaf pan. Turn batter into pan, baking 60-to-75 min., until skewer poked into center comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack. Remove from pan after 15 min., continuing to cool on rack. Wrap loosely overnight, slicing one day after baking.

Note: When this tea bread is fully cool and firm, slice it into serving-sized pieces, separating each slice with a piece of parchment paper. Freeze in an air-tight container. Separating and thawing each slice will then be very quick.

Further Note: With only 2/3 c. (160 mL) squash, I added 1/3 c. (80 mL) mashed avocado.

Head-Scratching Note: I recently promised to deliver recipes in  metric and Imperial measurements. But heres where things get complicated. Strictly speaking, foods such as flour and sugar should be measured by weight, rather than volume. This blog hails from North America, where it’s rare to weigh such items. This is why I’ve expressed 1 c. all-purpose flour or sugar, for example, as 250 mL rather than 120 g. It’s far easier for us cooks to rely on a measuring cup than a weigh scale, even though weighing ingredients (as professional chefs do) is a more accurate measurement. To read more about increasing your chance of successful cooking, see my 2011 blog titled How to Measure Ingredients Accurately:

Huh? Note: To plump 1 c. raisins, add 2 tbsp. water to raisins in covered microwave-safe container, heating 30-to-60 sec. on full power. Cover container with cello wrap, slightly turning back one corner to allow steam to escape.

Yet Another Note: To toast nuts, spread small baking sheet, heating at 350 deg. F. about 10 min. Chopped nuts toast more quickly than whole ones. A toaster oven works very well for this small job.

You cant help but love this simple Squash Tea Cake!
Ready for the freezer, with parchment separations.

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