Baking / Free from / Fruit & veg / vegetarian

Spiced butternut squash whoopie pies with maple cream cheese filling

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Hip hip hooray, it’s whoopie pies today! If you’re mad enough to ask WHY…because:

– it’s autumn and there are squash and pumpkins EVERYWHERE;
– an American friend just had a baby and I wanted to bring her something (not another babygrow) that reminded her of home; and
– my friend Anouk asked me to make a cake containing squash.  And I always do as I’m told.

There is a surprising amount of squash packed into these little beauties but I can promise any veggie-phobes that the cakes don’t actually taste of vegetable as such – they’re just very moist and soft and secretly a little bit good for you.

If you live somewhere very strange and you can’t get squash but you can get pumpkin, that works brilliantly too and it has the bonus of being spookily(?) Hallowe’en-y. A word on tinned pumpkin purée: If you love it, do it but making it yourself is healthier, more gratifying and you’ll have lots of leftovers – try stirring in a knob of butter and seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper for a delicious alternative to mashed potato…

These sponges are full of spice and all things nice (in this case, squash) and the filling has the tang of cream cheese with a mellow overtone of maple syrup. Quintessentially autumnal, delicious and a bit like carrot cake. But not.

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Whether you’re baking these for a Hallowe’en party, a new mother or just because it’s Sunday, they are definite crowd-pleasers. No more chucking that squash, Anouk.

Bon weekend, bakers!

Spiced squash whoopie pies with maple cream cheese filling

Makes about 16 small pies

Ingredients:

For the sponges:

– 1 butternut squash (recipe requires 200ml squash purée)
– 120ml sunflower oil
– 200g soft dark brown sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
– 2 tablespoons maple syrup
– 1 large egg (free-range please)
– 250g plain flour, sifted
– 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1 teaspoon ground ginger
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
– 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
– 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the maple cream cheese filling:

– 60g unsalted butter
– 200g icing sugar
– 120g full-fat cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
– 2 tablespoons maple syrup
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

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Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Cut the butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds and bake, flesh-side up, for 45 minutes to an hour, until soft. Tip: If a fork goes in easily, it’s good to go.

When the squash is cooked, set aside to cool and turn the oven down to 170°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Roughly cut the squash into chunks and blend until you have a smooth purée. Tip: There is no need to peel the squash as the skin goes really soft and is full of goodness but you can if you don’t fancy it!

Using the beater attachment of your food mixer, beat together the oil, sugar, vanilla and maple syrup. Beat in the egg and then 200ml squash purée, scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure all the ingredients are incorporated.

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Fold in the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, spices and salt and mix until any lumps have disappeared.

Drop blobs of the batter onto your baking tray (you’ll probably have enough for three batches), about 3cm apart. Tip: I used a heaped teaspoon per blob but you could go bigger and increase the cooking time.

Bake for about 12 minutes, until slightly springy when gently poked. Cool on a wire rack.

For the filling, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the cream cheese and maple syrup until you have a smooth mixture. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes (this will set it a bit).

To make the whoopie pies, sandwich spoonfuls of the maple cream cheese filling between pairs of sponge biscuits. Tip: Depending on how much filling you like in your pies, you may have some filling leftover – what can I say? There are worse leftovers!

Dust with icing sugar before serving.

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Sources: Recipe and photos by pip &  little blue. Basic whoopie pie recipe adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery’s Cake Days.

4 thoughts on “Spiced butternut squash whoopie pies with maple cream cheese filling

  1. Pingback: How to make pumpkin purée | pip & little blue

  2. Pingback: Pompoen Whoopies | Keukenatelier

  3. Pingback: 2013: Top 10 recipes | pip & little blue

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