Before October ends in just a few hours, I figured I'd better end my blog sabbatical and post this October Butternut Cake recipe -- though it is good enough to make in any month. It's a light and delicious white cake studded with nuts, and finished with a brown butter frosting.
When I first encountered this unusual vintage recipe, I expected it to feature butternut squash. But no. It doesn't even call for real butternuts (a type of walnut) or butternut flavoring. The butternut portion of this recipe refers to the instruction to saute almonds in butter.
After the cake ingredients are mixed, fold in half of the sauteed nuts.
Pour into a greased and floured pan and bake until done.
While the cake is cooling, start the frosting. Brown the butter carefully (it can turn from delightfully fragrant to burnt in just a moment). When done correctly, brown butter has a slightly nutty flavor.
The frosting will look rather unappetizing, until the liquid is added.
The original recipe card is below, and below that is my (clearer) instructions.
Production notes: Make sure the butter is quite soft, as it is added directly to the dry ingredients. I didn't have maple flavoring, so just used vanilla.
October Butternut Cake
Preheat oven to 350 F
Grease and flour an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 cake pan
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. granulated sugar
2 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 c milk
1 t. vanilla (or 1/2 t, vanilla and 1/2 t. maple flavoring
1/3 c plus 1 T butter
1/2 c chopped almonds (reserve 1/4 c for frosting)
In a small skillet melt 1 T butter and saute nuts until fragrant. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients well.
Add 1/3 c softened butter and mix well.
Add egg, milk and vanilla. Combine well.
Fold in 1/4 c almonds.
Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
4 T butter
2 c confectioner's sugar
3 or 4 T milk
1/2 t vanilla or maple flavoring
In a small saucepan, brown the butter.
Transfer to a bowl and add 1 c confectioner's sugar. Mix well
Add milk, remainder of sugar and flavoring.
Beat until smooth.
Fold in 1/4 c almonds
Spread on cooled cake.