My goal with this massive winter squash harvest is to come up with multiple, tasty ways of making that squash disappear. Here’s the latest: apple/pumpkin upside-down cake.
With time, I have become more comfortable with seat-of-my-pants cooking, including baking. I hate to say it but Ruhlman is right: so much of cooking and especially baking IS proportions: this much plus that much equals expected output. And when eating down the stores of something tasty and plentiful, like Thanksgiving’s squash, my other expected output is “well, how bad can it be: apples, pumpkins, flour, eggs, sugar?”
In a warm oven, put 2 T butter to melt in a 9×13 or similar sized cake pan while you prepare the upside-down topping. Peel and cube two large apples, retrieve the warming pan and toss the apples in the butter with 2 T sugar and 1/2 t cinnamon; wrap up sides to grease them, then distribute the apples evenly on the bottom and set aside.
Cream 1/4 cup of butter with 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (depending on how sweet your squash puree is); crack 2 large or 3 small eggs into the mix and continue to blend until smooth. Stir in about 2 cups of pureed pumpkin or other winter squash and a cup of yogurt or buttermilk. Set aside.
Sift together 2 cups flour with 1-1/2 teaspoons each of baking powder and baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, along with another 1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice. Add this dry mix to the wet and stir together. Add milk to thin if it seems very stiff.
Bake in a 350* oven until a toothpick stuck in its center comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes. Let cool slightly, run a knife around the sides of the cake, place a cookie sheet or large platter atop the pan and invert them, tapping the bottom of the pan to free it. Adjust the apple chunks along the top and try not to eat in one sitting.