Acorn Squash Bundt Cake + Honey Walnut Frosting

Years ago now, I made squash cookies. I remember freezing them so they would be out of sight. I remember you eating them from the freezer.

My favorite moment was waking up in the middle of the night wondering where you were. I suppose I didn’t like that part, but rather, what I found: cookies had been eaten, and you were asleep on the floor with your face in a pile of candy wrappers.

I had to accept that I will probably just love you forever, in spite of [ ]. And that is okay, because

I will love a lot of people forever.

And a lot of those people have either stuck around, or come and gone, or come and gone and come back to me. Some of them I haven’t met, just yet. Everything is best the way that it is, I believe.

I think of it in terms of my eyes. I woke up four months ago and they hurt. They hurt really badly. I came to view this as a physical manifestation of all the things I had seen, and what I still had to see about those things, and what I was replaying for myself to see in my mind (that maybe I didn’t need to see anymore).

I had taken on a new challenge at the time. It was a thing I had told you I wanted to do. By the way, it turned out, I could do it! And, in the exact location I told you I wanted to do it, years ago (when I was just fantasizing about something happening in my life).

The thing didn’t even exist back then. But, it has been here for a while now, and you have not been.

Anyway, months ago, my eyes got worse and worse, for months. To recap, I had taken on this brand new thing, and I had this eye thing, and then I found out about another thing, and it turned out that treating that other thing made my eyes a little bit better, but still not great, and then all of a sudden I was taking a Lyft to pick up my car when my vision came back because I unexpectedly had surgery and I don’t (can’t, won’t) ask people for help in my personal life these days.

I went to bed that night answering calls for my help from my new challenge, and then I was woken at 5:15am the next morning to more calls and text messages. Off I went. I did not prefer it, but I did what was necessary. I do not know who I have become, but I know that it grew from the person you knew.

I am proud of all I accomplished in-between.

and the reason I am talking about my eyes, I suppose, is because

they do not hurt anymore and when I look at them I appreciate them in a way that I did not when I felt entitled to them and I know some new things now that help me to better take care of myself which I am working on every damn day and to be clear all of this means something greater because sometimes things just need to reinvent in order to get to where they (and you) are going even if the getting there can be pretty ugly sometimes

like streaks of juice and gourd guts across the pan and smashed squash innards scooped from their shell, then blasted to oblivion but after,

[butter and sugar and eggs and vanilla to meet that sweet, autumn scent of cinnamon spice and a smattering of smooth, sweet honey and cream cheese and walnut crunch on top]

And meanwhile, you were the one who got yourself there all along.

One Year: Elvis Cake
Two Years: Candy Bar Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Three Years: Chewy Toffee Cookies
Four Years: Pumpkin Spice Drop Cookies with Marshmallow Icing

Acorn Squash Bundt Cake + Honey Walnut Frosting
Makes 1 Bundt Cake

1 Acorn Squash (about 2 lb), halved and deseeded
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp allspice
pinch of Chinese Five Spice
2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 8-oz package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup dark honey
1-1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped

CAKE: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the squash halves cut-side down and roast until tender, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely before scooping the flesh from the squash and mashing or pureeing. This can be done ahead of time (and the squash can be refrigerated until it is time for use). Once the squash puree is prepared and completely cool, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a bundt pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, allspice, and Chinese Five Spice. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar. Beat in squash puree. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients in thirds, then transfer to bundt pan, ensuring the batter is evenly spread. Bake 30-35 minutes, until a tester comes out clean, with moist crumbles. Let cool 15-20 minutes before turning out onto a rack. Cool completely before frosting.

Beat together cream cheese and butter. Beat in vanilla and honey. Beat in up to 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, adding it in half cups until the frosting is smooth, but with some texture. Stir in walnuts. Frost cake and serve. Meow.


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