Turmeric Spiced Cakes with Cashew Buttercream

Last week I pulled out original pencil-to-paper plans that I created in 2018 for St. Anne the Tart. I pulled out the recipes we created in those early days. I re-read the words I had written about the ethos of who we are. And I baked. I baked for no reason at all except that when I feel a little lost, I find myself again when I’m whisking, stirring, kneading, proofing.

Sharing a little recipe with you today – if you’ve got a serious sweet tooth, sit this one out. I, while loving to bake, prefer savory to sweet. And if I’m going to have my sweets, I prefer them on the savory side, thank you very much. While I love Claire Saffitz’s recipes and see no need in tweaking or altering, I did for this recipe simply out of necessity. Its often said that cooking can be improvised while baking cannot. I disagree strongly with this idea. Once you have your sea legs about you in the area of baking, then is the time for experimenting…or in my case, altering because it was snowing and I didn’t want to go to the store.  

Developing recipes is a serious love of mine. But sometimes I just want to bake what the true genius bakers are creating. While I love Claire Saffitz’s recipes and see no need in tweaking or altering, I did for this recipe simply out of necessity. Its often said that cooking can be improvised while baking cannot. I disagree strongly with this idea. Once you have your sea legs about you in the area of baking, then is the time for experimenting…or in my case, altering because it was snowing and I didn’t want to go to the store.

xo Megan

Turmeric Spiced Cakes with Cashew Buttercream
Based on Claire Saffitz’s https://food52.com/recipes/84152-kabocha-turmeric-tea-cake-recipe and https://minimalistbaker.com/cashew-buttercream-frosting/

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (7 ounces/200 grams)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (0.21 ounces/6 grams)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
3/4 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
2 large eggs (3.5 ounces/100 grams), at room temperature
2 tablespoons maple syrup (1.2 ounces/35 grams)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar (6.2 ounces/175 grams)
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil (3.9ounces/110 grams), warmed slightly to liquefy
1 cup mashed cooked squash (I used Buckskin) (8.2 ounces/232 grams)

Buttercream
1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked in hot water 1 hour or cool water 6-8 hours)
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk or cream
3-4 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt


Instructions for Cake
**I made large cupcakes. This recipe is for a loaf pan. Baking time for cupcakes will be less.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Mix the dry ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, turmeric, salt, and garam masala. Set aside.
4. 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).
5. 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.
6. Fill the pan and bake: Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of 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.


Instructions for Buttercream
1. Soak cashews in very hot water for 1 hour or in cool water for 6-8 hours. Drain thoroughly and add to a blender. To the blender, also add remaining ingredients, depending on which style of frosting you're going for.
2. Blend until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. It's important to get the frosting as creamy and smooth as possible, so blend on high until the texture is silky and smooth.
3. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more maple syrup for sweetness, vanilla for vanilla flavor.
4. Transfer frosting to a medium mixing bowl (with room to blend / whisk) and cover. Place in the freezer and chill for 45 minutes. Then remove from the freezer and whisk. Freeze for another 45 minutes - 1 hour and whisk again. Then leave in the freezer until semi-firm to the touch (cheesecake texture // ~ 2-4 hours) and use a hand mixer (or whisk) to blend until creamy and smooth. Depending on how firm your frosting is, this may take a little work at the beginning as it softens. If too thick, microwave in 15-second increments until blendable (or leave out at room temperature to soften).
5. Your frosting is ready to use! Or it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days (or the freezer for 1 month). The nature of this frosting is like most other frostings in that it will soften out of the refrigerator. So, if serving a cake with this frosting, it's best to keep the cake refrigerated. Once ready to serve, it is fine staying out of the refrigerator for several hours.