Confession: I may have perhaps been a teensy bit overzealous when purchasing butternut squash & pie pumpkins at the farmers market this fall. I also may or may not have just spent an entire afternoon making purees of said squash that I had in long term storage.
With several pounds of pumpkin and squash purees in the freezer, there was only one logical thing to do–I bring you Exhibit A.
Harvest Coffee Cake makes great use of butternut squash or pumpkin purees. I realize that the Pumpkin Craze was so Fall, and as we enter the winter season, y’all might be a tad tired of the whole idea, but if you bear with me, I think you’ll be glad that you did.
The original recipe was called Squash Coffee Cake, and came to me via my Bonus Mom. (I’m not sure where is came from before then.) And because ya’ll know that I can’t leave well enough alone, I made numerous changes in the quest to come up with our favorite version. This coffee cake is moist and perfectly spiced; it’s made with 100% whole wheat flour, real butter, and is so full of vegetable & fruit purees that you can feel good about eating cake for breakfast.
At least that’s what I tell myself.
Did I mention that the cake is super delicious? Because there is that to consider, too. Believe me when I tell you that whenever I make Harvest Coffee Cake, my boys (all 5 of them) gobble it up with 24-36 hours. They don’t even mind that there are vegetables inside their cake–not that I prominently advertise that fact or anything.
For the cake, gather some white whole wheat flour, granulated sugar, leavening, warm spices, eggs, butternut squash OR pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, and unsalted buttah. If you can’t find white whole wheat flour (such as King Arthur,) then go ahead and use the all-purpose stuff. Regular whole wheat flour is too heavy for this cake.
Making your own squash purees is a lot easier than you may think, but if you really don’t feel like making your own, then canned, unsweetened butternut squash or pumpkin purees will do in a pinch. Do whatever works for you!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and then grab a 9-inch springform pan and some shortening. If you don’t have a springform pan, this cake can be coaxed into a 9 x 11 x 2 inch baking dish, or a 2.5 Liter round baking dish. Baking times will need to be adjusted.
Grease the springform pan well with the shortening and set it aside. In my experience, shortening works much better for this application than baking spray.
Cream the butter and sugar together until it becomes nice and creamy. It should be noted that I was feeling exceptionally lazy when I made this cake so I ended up with a lot of not-so-pretty mixer shots. My apologies. 🙂
Stir in the eggs, one at a time, until they are just incorporated into the creamed mixture before adding the vanilla.
Mix in the leavening–the stuff that works its chemical magic during the baking process–otherwise known as: baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Boring, but essential ingredients in baking.
Give the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves a chance to perk up the party going on in the mixing bowl by stirring them in on low speed.
Gradually add the flour, stirring in between each addition, and scrapping down the sides of the bowl, as necessary. I like to add flour in 3 separate additions so that my kitchen doesn’t look like a flour-bomb went off after I turn on the mixer. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been there.
Scoop the squash puree into the mixing bowl, and mix until that batter just comes together. Be careful not to over-mix or the cake will be tough. Set the batter aside while you make the filling/streusel.
The streusel is comprised of granulated sugar, brown sugar, butter, flour, cinnamon, and old-fashioned oats.
Combine the sugars, cinnamon, oats, and flour in a small bowl, by stirring with a fork.
Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender or your fingers, until crumbly.
The streusel should look like small to medium-ish sized pebbles.
Spread half of the cake batter in the bottom of the prepared pan. Now grab the filling ingredients. Oh, yes! There is a filling involved!
The filling is simple–just a little unsweetened applesauce and half of the streusel.
Spread the applesauce evenly over the first layer of batter, to within 1/4-inch from the edge of the pan.
Evenly sprinkle half of the streusel over the applesauce.
Spread the remaining batter over the filling, and smooth to the edges of the pan to seal in the filling.
Sprinkle the remaining filling over the whole she-bang. Bake at 350° F for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Just look at how pretty and golden brown the streusel becomes! Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the pan set on a wire rack. After 10 minutes, gently run a knife around the interior edges of the pan to loosen the cake from the sides. Unlock the spring, and remove the outer ring of the pan.
Allow the coffee cake to cool completely on the base of the springform pan.
While the coffee cake is cooling, gather the glaze supplies: powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and either hot water or citrus juice. Citrus juice adds a nice layer of flavor to the cake, but water will do in a pinch.
Combine the glaze ingredients in a small bowl, and stir them with a fork until smooth.
Use the same fork to drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake.
Use a large spatula or cake lifter to slide the coffee cake onto a serving plate. Serve immediately.
Leftover cake keeps well for 3 or 4 days when wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature.
Or so I’ve heard. I wouldn’t know because whenever I make Harvest Coffee Cake, it disappears overnight. I’ve been told that the notorious Not Me eats all the coffee cake when I’m not looking. It’s a weird phenomena in our house.
Harvest Coffee Cake
For the Cake:
½ C. unsalted butter, softened
1 C. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 C. all-purpose flour (or 100% white whole wheat)
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1 C. pumpkin (or butternut squash) puree
½ C. unsweetened applesauce
¼ C. brown sugar, packed
¼ C. granulated sugar
¼ C. all-purpose flour
¼ C. old-fashioned oats
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbs. cold, unsalted butter
½ C. powdered sugar
1 ½ tsp. hot tap water
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan; set aside.
For the Streusel:
- In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour, oats, and cinnamon. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender until crumbly; set aside.
For the Cake:
- In a large bowl, cream together butter, and granulated sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- In another bowl, add the dry ingredients: the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Whisk to combine.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, stirring until just incorporated.
- Spoon half of the cake batter into the prepared springform pan, smoothing the batter to level.
- Spread the applesauce over the batter in the pan.
- Sprinkle half of the streusel over the apple sauce.
- Spoon the remaining batter evenly over the streusel, and smooth to the edges of the pan.
- Sprinkle the remaining streusel on top of the batter.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 50- to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool cake in the pan for 10 minutes before removing the side of the pan.
- Allow cake to cool completely, on the base of the springform pan, set on a wire rack.
- Once completely cool, transfer coffee cake to a serving plate, and prepare the glaze.
For the Glaze:
- In a small bowl, use a fork to stir together the powdered sugar, hot water, and vanilla extract, until smooth.
- Use the same fork to drizzle the glaze over the cooled coffee cake.
Serve immediately. Leftover coffee cake will keep for 3 to 4 days if tightly wrapped and stored at room temperature.