Layers of moist butternut squash cake, gingersnap cookie and maple cinnamon cream cheese frosting.
Lately, Ryan and I have been traveling so much for work that it’s been hard to find time to hang out, just the two of us. So, a few weeks ago, we spent a long weekend in New York for a little getaway. I know I’m in New York a lot for work, and you’re thinking, “why would I go back for fun?”. Well, I simply just love that city and never really get to enjoy it when I’m working. Plus, no matter how many times you’ve been to New York, there’s always something new to do or explore, and there’s always new food to try! Plus, my little sister and my best friend live there. Two more reasons I love NYC.
We did happen to go on a rainy weekend, but with umbrellas and rain jackets in tow, a little moisture didn’t stop us from having a good time and walking all over the city. It also didn’t stop us from getting ice cream at my new favorite shop in the West Village, Van Leeuwen.
You guys! If there’s one place to try next time you’re in NYC, this needs to be it. (Or Doughnut Project around the corner – ahhh, just do both!).
Of course I sampled just about every flavor on the menu, and by far, the vegan butternut squash brown sugar pecan cookie was my favorite. It blew me away! Creamy and flavorful, it consumed my thoughts for the entire weekend and ever since I’ve been home.
And per my usual thought process, with each bite of ice cream, I thought about how I could take the flavor combination and turn it into a cake.
As soon as I got home, I started working on it and here’s what I came up with: butternut squash pecan cake layers, gingersnap cookie layers with candied ginger, and maple cinnamon cream cheese frosting. This cake is SO good! Just look at all these layers!
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray, line with parchment and spray again. Set aside.
In a medium bow, sift together the cake flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and ground ginger. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and eggs together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Add the oil and beat on medium until combined. Add the cooled butternut squash and mix until combined. Add the vanilla.
With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Mixture will be thin.
Fold in the candied pecans.
Evenly distribute the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out mostly clean.
Let pans cool on wire racks for 10 minutes before inverting cakes onto racks to cool completely.
For the Gingersnap Cookie (recipe adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray, line the bottom of the pans with parchment and spray again. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between each addition.
Add the molasses and stir until well combined.
Stir in the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until incorporated.
Fold in the candied ginger.
Put about 2 cups of dough in each of the 8-inch round pans and flatten with the back of your hand to create a flat surface.
Bake the cookie layers for 14-16 minutes. Keep an eye on the cookie layers. You don't want to over bake the cookie or it will be too hard to cut with the cake.
For the Maple Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about two minutes.
Gradually add in the powdered sugar with the mixer on low speed.
Add vanilla, maple extract, cinnamon and maple syrup and beat until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.
After leveling each cake layer, place the first cake layer, top side up, on a cake board. Spread about 3/4 cup of the frosting over the cake layer. Top with one round of the gingersnap cookie. Apply another 3/4 cup frosting on top of the cookie. Repeat these steps until you get to the final cake layer.
Place the final cake layer, top side down, on top of the last layer of frosting. Apply a thin coat of frosting around the entire cake to lock in the crumbs. Freeze the cake for 10 mins.
After the crumb coat is set, apply the final coat of frosting with the remaining buttercream.