Butternut Squash Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce

by Carlye Cunniff
( November 3rd, 2015 )

Butternut Squash Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce

I have a secret.

I don’t like pumpkin pie. I don’t like pumpkin spice lattes. I don’t even really like pumpkin beer.

Shocking, I know. I avoid pumpkin-flavored things on Thanksgiving, and only make a pumpkin pie if I absolutely have to (in order to avoid any meltdowns).

I’ve found that the trick to negotiating with one’s family about the intended absence of pumpkin pie is better done if you have an alternate. A stand in for the beloved traditional treat. I believe I’ve found that stand in with this Butternut Squash Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce.

Butternut Squash Cake with Salted Carmel Sauce

Just listen to that name, aren’t you hungry already? This cake is fall-flavored, moist, decadent and almost tastes like pumpkin pie. At least it tastes like pumpkin pie should taste, if pumpkin pie were a better dessert option. Butternut squash actually tastes more like sweet potatoes to me, and since this cake is made by hand-mashing roasted squash, it has a denser, more potato-like consistency too. Yum.

I used coconut flour, raw sugar and coconut oil to make this cake, but make no mistake: I did not use those ingredients to make this dessert healthy. The coconut flavors are a nice little addition to the cake, and using raw sugar adds not only flavor, but a denser consistency. This dessert is not healthy. I don’t believe dessert should be healthy. I think unhealthy dessert is, in fact, healthy.

So, I urge you to try a different squash this holiday season. Forgo tradition and boldly go where few have gone before (and by that I mean bake this butternut squash cake).


1/2 of a butternut squash, peeled and cubed

2 1/2 Cups white flour

1 Cup coconut flour

2 Teaspoons baking powder

1/2 Teaspoon baking soda

3 Teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (I am completely aware of the disconnect between by pumpkin bashing and large amount of pumpkin pie spice included in this recipe).

1/2 Teaspoons salt

2 3/4 Cups raw sugar

1 Cup coconut oil

4 eggs

For the Salted Caramel Sauce:

6 Tablespoons butter

1 Cup brown sugar

1 Cup heavy cream

2 Tablespoons corn syrup

1/2 Teaspoon sea salt


Prepare a bundt pan with oil and a light dusting of flour.

Roast your cubed squash in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until a fork just pierces the skin. After the squash is finished roasting, turn the oven down to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mash the butternut squash with a potato masher, like you’re making mashed potatoes. Set aside.

Butternut Squash

In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt.

In a stand mixer, mix sugar and coconut oil, until blended nicely.

Add the eggs one at a time while continuing to beat the mixture on a medium speed.

Butternut Squash Cake Batter

Add the mashed butternut squash to the mix, continuing to beat.

With the mixture on low, add the already combined dry ingredients to the squash-sugar-oil mix.

Mix until combined.

Scoop the batter into the prepared bundt pan – it will be quite thick, almost like a bread dough.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour.

Butternut Squash Cake with Salted Carmel Sauce

For the Salted Caramel Sauce:

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.

Once the butter is melted, add the sugar, cream and corn syrup.

Continue to heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly.

Remove from heat, and stir in the salt.

Serve the cake with a healthy portion of salted Caramel sauce – it makes a great afternoon treat with a hot cup of coffee, or a semi-fancy dessert for a special occasion.

Do you have a favorite holiday cake that doesn’t involve pumpkin? I’d love to hear about it, leave a comment!

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Best Halloween Barmbrack Recipes

by Carlye Cunniff
( October 27th, 2015 )

Brambrack Bread

Many say that the origin of Halloween lays in Ireland. Samhain (pronounced Sow – in) is the Irish festival of the dead. Samhain also welcomes in the winter cold,  celebrates the end of the harvest, and demarcates the spiritual New Year for many. Samhain is now celebrated as Halloween, and most Irish families celebrate the day like their American peers (with costumes and trick or treating). Halloween being an Irish festival seems only natural to me – a country that still walks a line between Christianity and belief in the ‘little people’ is well suited for a mysterious night when the poor souls of the dead are close. Believers of Samhain in Ireland, like many cultures, cover mirrors so the dead can’t enter the world through them. Animals are sprinkled with holy water to protect them. Water and bread are left out to ensure any spirits who make it into the world are warmly greeted.

One less ominous Samhain tradition is Halloween Barmbrack, an Irish fruit bread baked with trinkets inside. I couldn’t pick just one barmbrack recipe to share – there are so many tasty versions out there. Instead, I curated a list of the best Halloween Barmbrack recipes; your family can begin creating their own Halloween tradition.
One thing that remains the same throughout the recipes is the baked in treats – from rings to matchsticks, getting a parchment-wrapped surprise is a lovely way to celebrate Halloween.

Have your own barmbrack recipe that isn’t shared here? Let us know in the
comments below!

Halloween Barmbrack, An Irish Tradition from La Domestique.

Jess of La Domestique shows us how to make traditional barmbrack in a circular pan, just like her husband’s mother used to create. She also shares a lovely story of the barmbrack. Gorgeous photos, easy recipe and great discussion about the traditions of the bread.

Irish Barmbrack, from Donal Skehan

Who better to show us how to make Irish bread than and Irish lad himself? Donal shares his recipe for traditional barmbrack. It includes soaking the dough is whiskey and tea overnight, yum! There is also a video for those of us who could use some extra guidance.

Irish Tea Barmbrack, from Edible Ireland

This recipe calls for lots of specific fruit, and is potentially the most fruit heavy of the the bracks I’m sharing. Another great story of finding the special treats in the bread accompanies this recipe.

Ballymaloe Halloween Barmbrack, from Irish Examiner


This version of barmbrack looks long and complicated at first, but it’s actually a less time-consuming option. Instead of using yeast (and waiting for it to rise) this brack is made with self-rising flour. The page also includes a recipe for homemade candied peel, which is used in many of the barmbracks.

Irish Barmbrack , from All Recipes

This simple recipe recommends cooking the barmbrack in a Bundt pan, and suggests enjoying it more like a cake than bread. Instead of relying on fruit alone, lemon marmalade stands in for some extra flavor. I do recommend wrapping any trinkets before baking them in – wouldn’t want anyone to miss their prize while enjoying their cake!

Photo Credit: Irish Bread, Kathy Maister, Licensed under CC 2.0.


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Homemade Potato Garlic Pizza

by Carlye Cunniff
( October 20th, 2015 )

Homemade potato garlic pizza

Halloween is quickly approaching, which means everything we eat could potentially be used to ward off vampires and other terrifying creatures. If you are as attached to garlic as I am, you will likely be able to breath garlic-breath any time of the year. For those of you who limit your garlic intake, you might consider breaking your garlic-fast for this homemade potato garlic pizza.

Homemade potato garlic pizza


This easy dinner-time meal is inspired by two dishes from one of my favorite spots in Seattle, The Alibi Room. They serve a garlic clove appetizer, which is just a roasted bulb of garlic that you spread on tasty bread and crackers. It’s amazing. They also serve a potato pizza – they make it with chorizo and other tasty ingredients. What was I to do besides combine my two favorite meals into one? This pizza is a tribute to the Alibi Room I suppose,  check them out here.  I might just see you at the Greenwood location.

Homemade Potato Garlic Pizza

So, like I said, vampires beware! This pizza is full of flavor – a basil-spinach pizza sauce, roasted garlic and potatoes and caramelized onions combine with mozzarella to hit the comfort food spot. Give yourself some time to make this, cooking all the ingredients takes some time. If you’re going to use homemade pizza dough, you’ll certainly want to plan ahead.


Potato garlic pizza

Pizza Dough (see this awesome recipe from Smitten Kitchen, or use a store bought crust, I won’t tell)

1 large white onion, sliced

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

1 large russet potato, thinly sliced

1 Tablespoon dried rosemary

1 Tablespoon dried oregano

salt and pepper to taste

1 bulb of garlic

1 bunch fresh basil

2 Cups fresh spinach

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 Teaspoon red chili flakes

16 Oz mozzarella, thinly sliced



Preheat the oven to 450 degrees

Heat a touch of olive oil in a heavy bottom pan, add white onion, stirring frequently

Add the brown sugar and a pinch of salt to the onion, this will help the onion get all caramelized and wonderful. You’ll cook it until the onion is tender and slightly browned, about 15 minutes.

Caramelized onions

While the onion is cooking, get your potatoes ready for roasting. Toss this with olive oil, rosemary, oregano and salt and pepper. Lay them flat on a baking sheet.

Working with the entire clove of garlic, cut the tops off, so you can see the inside of the garlic just exposed. Rub the top with a little olive oil and sea salt.

Garlic clove

Put the garlic clove right in the center of the potato pan – stick the whole thing in the oven and roast for 20-30 minutes.

While your onions are caramelizing and your potatoes/garlic is roasting, prepare your sauce.

Again, you can use a store bought pesto sauce here too, but this is a very easy make at home version if you have a food processor.

Combine basil, spinach, salt, pepper, red chili flakes and olive oil in a food processor, blend until it looks like pesto.

Pizza sauce

Knead and roll out your pizza dough – I don’t have a fancy pizza pan so I just roll it out on a baking sheet.

Add the basil/spinach sauce, then layer on the finished potatoes and caramelized onions.

Homemade pizza sauce

Removing the garlic from it’s skin is a little tricky because it will be very hot. I use a combination of a knife and my fingers to squeeze the softened cloves out of their paper. Just be careful!

Roasted garlic

Arrange your garlic cloves around your pizza.

Finally, layer on your sliced mozzarella.

Put the whole thing in the already-hot oven, check it after about 15 minutes. The bake time will vary slightly based on your pizza dough, so check in with your recipe for a perfect cook time.

Homemade potato garlic pizza



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