I woke up yesterday still wearing my Buddy Christ shirt from Halloween (guess who we were!) and feeling mildly sugar hungover + for reals hungover + a bit discombobulated by how bright it was given that my phone read 7:35 am. So I made coffee and decided to go through this month's Book of the Month, Gjelina, and find some things to make for you all.
This squashy chocolate-studded loaf was one of the very last recipes, and it looked so very pretty and easy enough that my brain could handle making it in spite of the metaphorical coat hanger crammed into my skull. You sift together the dry ingredients, mix up the wet ones, combine them briefly and fold in the chocolate, and pour the whole thing into a pan. If you've ever made pancakes or muffins or put together an IKEA bookcase, this recipe is going to be cake for you (bahaha).
I'm so sorry, all of the candy has made me especially weird today.
I, like most of America, am all about the pumpkin-spiced stuff, but I was somewhat surprised that one of my favorite parts of this recipe ended up being the glaze. It's a simple powdered sugar glaze that is fortified by olive oil, and good lord, is it delicious. I ate most of it out of the bowl and felt thoroughly sugared afterwards, but it was completely worth it. I think I might borrow it and use it to glaze this cake. Travis suggests omitting the glaze if serving this cake for breakfast, but don't do it, I beg of you. It's really fantastic, and it helps to cut through the richness of the cake (which, with the oil content and chocolate, is certainly up there, though in a very good way).
If anything, if you want it to be more breakfasty, halve the chocolate. I know, I can't believe I said that either.
GJELINA'S SQUASH, OLIVE OIL, AND CHOCOLATE CAKE
Makes 1 9x5-inch loaf - serves 8-12
The original recipe calls for you to make your own kabocha squash purée, which adds some depth of squashy flavor. I've adapted the recipe for using canned pumpkin, but if you'd like to make your own purée, there are instructions at the end of the recipe.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup canned pumpkin purée or homemade squash purée
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
FOR THE GLAZE:
1 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted, plus more as needed
2 Tbsp hot water, plus more as needed
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp pepitas (raw, hulled pumpkin seeds), toasted in a dry skillet until nutty and browned
2 Tbsp crushed cacao nibs
Preheat the oven to 325˚F, and generously butter a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
Whisk (or sift) together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, olive oil, pumpkin purée, and eggs. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and whisk until just combined. (Adding the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients helps to prevent little dry pockets in the bottom of the bowl.) Fold in the chopped chocolate.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 75 to 90 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in its pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run an icing spatula or a thin knife carefully around the edges, and invert the cake from the pan. Re-invert the cake so that it is right-side-up and let cool on the rack for another 20 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate.
To make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk the confectioner's sugar with the water until smooth. Add more sugar and/or water until you have a glaze that is the consistency of honey. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly to combine.
Pour the glaze over the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Sprinkle with the pepitas and cacao nibs and let the glaze set completely (about 1 hour) before serving.
To make your own squash purée: Remove the seeds from a 1-pound piece of kabocha squash and drizzle the squash with olive oil. Place squash cut-side down on a baking sheet and roast in a preheated 425˚F oven for 30-45 minutes, until the squash is very soft and beginning to caramelize around the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool. Scrape out the soft flesh into the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until smooth.
Place the puréed squash on a large square of cheesecloth, and wrap into a tight bundle. Put the bundle into a colander, and place over a large bowl. Let drain at least 4 hours, or up to overnight. Twist the top of the bundle to squeeze out any additional liquid. Unwrap the drained squash, and measure out 1 cup of purée for the cake recipe. Cover and refrigerate any remaining purée for another use (may be stored for up to 5 days).