Have to share this autumnal squash cake and AMAZING fluffy maple frosting!
I went to a bridal shower this past weekend and was asked to bring a cake. The bride-to-be (my sister in law) is a self proclaimed chocolate hater (luckily her brother (my husband) did not inherit that gene :-)), so no chocolate. She also doesn't really like copious amounts of butter, so I wanted to stay away from buttercream or other buttery frosting.
I'm sort of over pumpkin desserts, but I had some beautiful butternut squash puree in my fridge, so I decided to use that. I found this Leite's Culinaria cake recipe via a Smitten Kitchen cupcake recipe.
The cake, made with the butternut squash puree in place of pumpkin, turned out wonderfully. (I left out the black pepper-- seemed risky.) I found the flavor to be much more subtle and delicate than a pumpkin cake.
Now, I really wanted to do a maple frosting. But with so much butter in that cream cheese frosting, I veered in a different direction. I found a fluffy maple frosting in my favorite baking cookbook, Jim Fobel's Old Fashioned Baking Book: Recipes from an American Childhood, in my own words below. The frosting is glossy and gorgeous, and fluffy, marshmallowy, and meringuey. The maple flavor is subtle and it is just sweet enough.
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract (I found this a bit excessive-- would do 1 tsp next time
Bring an inch of water to a simmer in a pot.
In a heat-proof bowl (off the heat), combine the syrup, sugar, egg whites, and salt.
Put the bowl over the simmering water and beat until stiff peaks form (took me about 8-10 min but my mixer doesn't have much power).
Take off the heat and continue beating for another minute, then add the vanilla and beat it in.
Frost layers immediately.