Friday, October 24, 2008

Acorn Squash Spice Cupcakes with Orange Sage Buttercream Icing!

It has been months since I have participated in a Joust, that is, The Royal Foodie Joust hosted by Jen, The Leftover Queen. The winner of the previous month's challenge, which was Susan at Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy, chose acorn squash, oranges and sage as the three Joust ingredients. Our challenge is to use all three in a recipe, post on our blogs and then at the end of the month, fellow Leftover Queen Forum members vote for the best recipe. (You can stop by the site and see all of the entries for the month)

I have been thinking about what to make for weeks! Luckily, acorn squash is readily available at the farmers' markets now. I knew there would be savory dishes and wanted to come up with a sweet recipe, as well as challenge myself. So, these cupcakes are the result. I rarely make cupcakes, even though I know they are quite the rage. I am happy to say that I have a willing arsenal of friends and neighbors on standby, so 18 cupcakes will not be lurking in the house, begging to be eaten!

So, may I now present, my soon-to-be world famous........

Acorn Squash Spice Cupcakes with Orange Sage Buttercream Icing
makes 18 cupcakes

For the cupcakes
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup organic cane sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp good cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground sage
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup acorn squash puree
toasted acorn squash seeds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line muffin tins with cupcake liners.

To make the acorn squash puree; cut 1 squash in half, scoop out the seeds, place in a microwave safe container with a bit of water, cover and cook until soft, in my microwave that took 9 minutes. Let cool, then scoop the cooked squash into the food processor and puree until smooth. This can be done a day in advance.

To make the cupcakes; place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and lightly whisk to combine. In another bowl, add the egg, milk and oil, whisking to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined, do not over mix. Then add the squash puree, again stirring to combine. At this point I transfer the batter to a large 4 cup glass measure. This makes it easier to pour into the cupcake liners without spilling or dripping. Fill liners about 2/3 full.

Place the cupcakes in a preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack. While the cupcakes are cooling you can toast the seeds and make the icing.

To toast the seeds, place the cleaned, dry seeds on a pan and lightly spray them with olive oil. Toast at 375 degrees for about 8-10 minutes or until you just hear them pop, stirring at least once. When they are toasted, remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with flaked sea salt. Set aside to cool completely.

For the icing
6 tbl softened butter
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 tbl orange juice
zest of 1 orange
2 sage leaves, very finely chopped

Place the butter in the bowl of the mixer and beat on high until light and fluffy.

Add about half of the powdered sugar beat until incorporated, starting out a low speed, then increase slowly to high speed. Then add the other half and repeat the mixing process. In a small bowl combine the orange juice, zest and sage. Then add to the butter mixture, beating on high until fluffy. If too stiff, add a bit more oj.

Now you are ready to ice your cupcakes!

I decided to give mine the red carpet treatment and pipe the icing, very fancy, I know. After piping, I grated more orange zest and topped each with some of the salted seeds. Let me tell you, these are sooo yummy, and a little healthier than your average cupcake. So far, my tasters have given me great reviews!

Here's hoping I win the apron this month!

Before and after being zested and seeded.

This one was sacrificed in the name of quality control. A tough job, but someone has to do it!

For more yummy pictures, just click on the Flickr widget on the sidebar!


Jesse said...

WOW - these look amazing! I'm going to have to make some of that icing!

Cakespy said...

These are amazing. Long live the harvest season!

paoix said...

nice! this i can almost smell it from here. i'll vote for this! if you send me some i'll guarantee 10 friends to vote for this :) haha

Michele said...

Sage is one of my favorite herbs and I love the idea of a sage buttercream. Best of luck in the joust!

Colleen said...

Gosh these look and sound fantastic!! I will definitely be trying them out. Thanx so much for sharing them....well done!! xxx

Katie said...

They look so perfect! I will have to try these very soon.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Fabulous! These are beautiful and very creative. They also look scrumptious! Great job!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

I just love all these flavours! Such an interesting creation! And delicius I bet!

kat said...

oh those sound just wonderful! great entry

Brittany said...

Those are darling. They look deelish.

Foodycat said...

Amazing! Fantastic use of the ingredients. I wanted to do a sweet dish but I just could not get my head around the sage - now I can see exactly how the flavour would work in your frosting.

Ingrid said...

They look great ....GOOD LUCK!

Trisha said...

You really do have a bounty of yummy sounding squash recipes over here! These cupcakes are a fantastic idea. Love the savory-sweet combo, the whole wheat flour and the zest.

Sarah said...

I'm not a baker, but I'm tempted to make this for Thanksgiving... yum !

Christy Sews said...

I just wanted to let you know that I got my package today! It is so wonderful. Bootsy and I thank you so much. I'd write more, but I have to copy this recipe -- it looks wonderful!!

Maggie said...

Great joust entry! I haven't ever had sage in a sweet recipe but the combination sounds so good I have to give it a try.

Foodycat said...

Gosh they look good! Those cupcakes deserve to be world famous.

Foodycat said...

Ooops - forgot I already commented. But they do look so amazing!

Summer said...

Thank you for listing my blog as one of the blogs you follow!! i really appreciate it, A LOT!
your photos are so so wonderful to look at...thank you so much for sharing your great recipes and photos. Happy Halloween!!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Now that is an amazing and creative entry! Great job! Glad to see you back in the competition this month!

Farhan said...

Hi Kim!!! Wow, you received the package fast! I'm sorry the letter sooo didn't correspond with what was in it. The mail man said that the kaya would get thrown away!! So I didn't want to risk the whole box bouncing back.

I'm sorry to hear abt the rough patch.. *hugs*

Sophie said...

Delicious use of the acorn squash! So unique :).

Rachel said...

I tried this frosting as I was looking for an orange frosting to go with chocolate cupcakes. I was happily surprised how well it turned out but I do have a question. Do you leave your cupcakes out or refrigerate them? I generally chill mine but it caused this particular frosting to thicken and almost harden quite a bit... not in a brittle way just not soft and fluffy like jar frosting. So I was wondering if leaving them on the counter instead would fix this issue.