Butternut squash pear thyme and hazelnut cake
grated squash, chopped pear and thyme and toasted hazelnut sponge covered in pumpkin butter mascarpone frosting and dried butternut squash crisps.
For the sponge cake
- 1 cup (250ml-or 2 sticks) melted butter
- 2 cups grated butternut squash (190g)
- 1 pear (150g) finely chopped pear
- 1 cup caster sugar (200g)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (85g)
- 2 cups self raising flour (255g) or mix plain flour with 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp fresh thyme use soft leafy thyme and remove leaves from about 5 stems
- 85g ground toasted hazelnuts
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 5 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 250 gram mascarpone scant 1 cup (doesn't have to be exact)
- 300 ml double cream
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup pumpkin butter to taste (start with half a cup and add more to your taste)
- 3 tbsp icing sugar
For pumpkin butter (Make night before or at least 2 hours)
In a pan add the puree, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla and mix over the heat until the sugar has melted. Once thickened add the butter and stir until it is melted. let cool and chill over night in the fridge.
For the cake
Grease and line three cake pans (8 inch), and preheat the oven to 160c
Melt butter in a pan and let cool slightly then add to a mixing bowl and beat in the sugars until pale and well combined.
Add the eggs one at a time beating at a high speed until aerated and fluffy, stopping to scrape the bowl between each one.
Using a spatula fold in flour, cinnamon, vanilla and salt, Then fold in the ground hazelnuts and thyme.
Peel and chop the squash and grate finely in a food processor. Then peel and finely chop pear, measure what you need and place in a kitchen towel and squeeze out the liquid and fold in to wet mixture
Divide evenly between the three lined pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
let cool in tins for 10 minutes, then gently peel off paper and let cool completely on wire rack.
Add cream and icing sugar in a bowl and whisk using a balloon whisk to thicken slightly then add the mascarpone and pumpkin butter and beat until thick enough to spread on cake. Don't over beat it. (if you do you can add a little more cream to loosen it)
assemble cake using the cream
I decorated it with dried slices of butternut squash that i cut thinly with a mandolin and dried out in a low oven (110c) for one hour on each side.