I wanted a version of pumpkin bread that felt a bit more exciting, and kabocha was the answer. Here it's combined with turmeric and a bit of garam masala for an unexpectedly complex loaf cake. To cook the squash, I recommend roasting it whole. Poke a few holes through the leathery exterior and bake on a foil-lined baking sheet in a 425°F oven until a skewer slides easily into the flesh, about 90 minutes for a medium squash.
Reprinted from Dessert Person. Copyright © 2020 by Claire Saffitz. Photographs copyright © 2020 by Alex Lau. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House. —Food52
- Prep time 10 minutes
- Cook time 1 hour
- Makes 1 standard loaf
hulled pumpkin seeds (1.4 ounces/40 grams)
1 1/2 cups
all-purpose flour (7 ounces/200 grams)
1 1/2 teaspoons
baking powder (0.21 ounces/6 grams)
Diamond Crystal kosher salt
large eggs (3.5 ounces/100 grams), at room temperature
maple syrup (1.2 ounces/35 grams)
plus 2 tablespoons sugar (6.2 ounces/175 grams)
virgin coconut oil (3.9ounces/110 grams), warmed slightly to liquefy**
mashed cooked kabocha squash (8.2 ounces/232 grams)
- Preheat the oven and prepare the pan: Arrange an oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat the bottom and sides of the loaf pan with coconut oil. Line the bottom and two longer sides with a piece of parchment paper, leaving an overhang of an inch or two on each side, and set aside.
- Toast the pumpkin seeds: Spread the pumpkin seeds out on a small rimmed baking sheet and bake, shaking halfway through, until they’re golden, puffed, and starting to pop, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Mix the dry ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, turmeric, salt, and garam masala. Set aside.
- Mix the wet ingredients: In a separate large bowl, whisk the eggs briefly to break up the yolks and whites, then add the maple syrup, vanilla, and ¾ cup of the sugar (5.3 oz / 150g) and whisk vigorously until the mixture is smooth and slightly thickened, about 30 seconds. Slowly stream in the coconut oil, whisking constantly, until fully incorporated. **** Whisk in the mashed kabocha squash until smooth (a few lumps are okay).
- Mix the wet ingredients into the dry: Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the kabocha mixture. Whisk gently just until you have a smooth batter with no dry spots. Fold in the pumpkin seeds.
- Fill the pan and bake: Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until the top is risen and cracked and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes, then use a paring knife or small offset spatula to cut between the cake and the pan along the shorter sides. Use the parchment paper to lift out the loaf and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
- DO AHEAD The cake, well wrapped and stored at room temperature, will keep up to 4 days.
*Feel free to omit the garam masala if you can’t find it (or if you don’t care for the flavor) and use 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon as a replacement.
** Use refined coconut oil or vegetable oil if you don’t like the flavor of coconut.
***Substitute an equal amount of canned pumpkin for the kabocha to make this a zero-prep recipe. You can also use mashed roasted sweet potato.
**** It’s okay if the coconut oil solidifies when it hits the eggs and sugar mixture, forming small lumps (this might happen if the eggs are still a bit cold). Any lumps will smooth out in the oven.