I fell in love with this recipe the first time I tried it. Funnily enough, I came across it on Baked NYC’s food blog, Baking Society, not from the Los Angeles restaurant/cookbook, Gjelina, the recipe is originally from.
The use of olive oil instead of canola oil or butter gives this loaf a more complex flavour, especially when paired with the Kabocha squash. Olive oil naturally speaks to my Greek heritage – show me a recipe with it and I’m immediately interested. That, and tahini (tahini shortbread sandwich cookies, anyone?).
The addition of chocolate in this loaf is super delicious, but also not 100% necessary. I would recommend trying it both with chocolate and without and see which option you prefer!
Kabocha Squash, Olive Oil, and Bittersweet Chocolate Cake
Yield: One 8×4” or 9×5” loaf
Notes: You will need ample time for the recipe, as the squash need to be baked, cooled, and strained before using.
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground nutmeg
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup kabocha squash purée (made from one 1-lb piece of squash)
- 1 cup plus 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ⅓ cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 heaping cup semisweet chocolate chips or 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 ¼ cups confectioners sugar, sifted
- 2 Tbsp hot water
- 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbsp seeds of your choice! I used sunflower and poppy
I often do this a day or two in advance and store it in the fridge until needed. It should keep for five or so days.
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Cut squash in half, scoop out guts and seeds, and rub the cut-side lightly with olive oil.
- Place cut-side onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Roast in the oven until the squash is very soft. I normally test this by poking it with a knife: if it slides in easily, you’re good to go! If there’s a fair bit of resistance, give it a bit longer. This normally takes about 40-45 minutes in my oven.
- Let cool, then scoop out all the flesh and purée it in a food processor.
- (optional) Wrap puréed squash tightly in a piece of cheesecloth, then place in a collander over a bowl to drain any excess water. Allow to drain for 4 hours. Measure 1 cup from drained squash for the recipe, and get creative with the rest! (I listed this step as optional because after baking this loaf multiple times, I did not find it to noticeably affect the final result).
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Butter or grease an 8×4” or 9×5” pan. (The original recipe called for a 9×5”, but I used an 8×4” with great results). Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and also butter/grease it.
- In a large bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, olive oil, squash purée, and eggs.
- Whisk the squash mixture into the dry mixture.
- Stir in the chocolate.
- Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake until browned and a toothpick comes out clean, about 75 to 90 minutes (mine took 85). Rotate loaf 180° about halfway through baking.
- Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and let cool completely.
- In a small to medium bowl, whisk together confectioners sugar and hot water.
- Slowly whisk in 2 Tbsp of olive oil.
- If too thick, add additional hot water 1 tsp at a time. If too thin, add additional confectioners sugar 1 Tbsp at a time.
- Pour the glaze over the cake, spreading it around with a knife or offset spatula if too thick. Allow some glaze to drip over the sides of the loaf.
- Sprinkle the glaze with the seeds of your choice! For extra flavour, toast sunflower or pumpkin seeds in a pan over medium heat for a few minutes before sprinkling over the loaf.
- If you aren’t too tempted to eat it right away, allow to set for about an hour before serving. The loaf will keep in the fridge for up to five days.