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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wilde in a Hurricane

Hello everyone!  I hope that you are all safe and sound after this crazy storm that ripped through the east coast.  If you are far away from the path of Sandy, I hope you enjoyed your Halloween last night!  Can you believe that Halloween has been rescheduled here in the state of New Jersey?

Kids in NJ have had a rough few years with trick-or-treating.  Last year there was a freak snowstorm just before Halloween.  It brought down so many trees and power lines, they cancelled trick-or-treating due to safety reasons.  This year it's the same problem.  Hurricane Sandy blew down so many huge trees and brought down a ton of tree limbs.  They fell on homes, cars and power lines, which is the reason behind postponing Halloween again this year. 

Boyfriend and I fared the storm with very little to talk about.  Montclair (our town) is located only ten miles from the city and shore, but we sit high on a hill overlooking the city.  We knew we would have no issues with flooding.  All day Monday, as Sandy blew and blew, our lights flickered until they finally went out around 6:00pm.  What do you do when the power goes out?  We stared out the window at the rest of Montclair, which still had power somehow.

Luckily we had just finished cooking dinner, so we enjoyed dinner by candlelight.  So romantic with all the wind and rain howling outside.  It isn't that cold out right now and our water continued to run, so we just hunkered down for the next few hours. 

Tuesday morning we woke without power.  My office had a delayed opening, but with all the bridges, tunnels and trains shut down, there was no way I could get to work.  BF and I had cereal for breakfast and spent the major portion of the day doing a puzzle.  Around 5:00pm the power came back on.  With a high five, we celebrated the return of electricity.  We are lucky, we were powerless for only 24 hours.  Our apartment happens to be on the same grid as a fire station and hospital.  Many millions of people are still without power.

My thanks go out to the hardworking people of the public transit, power companies and the first responders that are helping everyone in the tri-state area through this disaster.  Stay safe out there everyone.  I for one will be here at my apartment, because there is no public transportation for me to get to work!  Working from home this week, as much as a lab chemist can work from home!

Before the power went out on the Wilde household, I made this delicious fall cake.  Sure, you can make a pumpkin cake, but I thought I would change it up and make a butternut squash cake!  I made this last week and brought it to the office.  While placing it in the lunchroom, I put a label on it reading "Pumpkin cake!" because I'm pretty sure people would be suspicious of a squash cake.  Give this a try if you find yourself with an abundance of butternut squash this fall!

One Year Ago: Pumpkin Raisin Muffins
Two Years Ago: Pear Cake with Pine Nuts

Butternut Squash Cake
A Wilde Original

To make this cake, you need to roast a butternut squash.  Cut a squash in half lengthwise and place cut side down on a baking sheet.  Roast squash for 35-40 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Once it's done, you should be able to pierce the flesh easily with a fork.  Remove cooked squash from the skin and eith pass through a potato ricer or blend in a food processor or blender.

6 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup butternut squash puree
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray.  Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the cake pan.  Place parchment circle in the pan and coat with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla extract followed by butternut squash.  Sift flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves directly into the bowl.  Mix gently until there are no streak of flour remaining.

Pour cake batter into the prepared cake pan.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake, comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.  Remove cake from the pan and let cool completely on the wire rack.

When the cake is completely cooled, frost with caramel frosting.
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