Cake:1/2 cup unbleached flour
Buttercup Cream:8 cups buttercup squash (or butternut, acorn, delicata, pumpkin, etc. or combination of squashes), peeled, deseeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
Topping:2 T. cocoa or carob powder
Begin by preparing the cake base. Lightly oil (or spray with a light mist of oil) a 9-inch springform pan and set aside. In a small bowl, sift together both types of flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. In a medium bowl, place the soy milk, maple syrup, oil, vanilla, and almond extract, and whisk well to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, whisk until well blended, and pour the batter into the prepared springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Place the pan on a rack to cool, but do not remove the cake from the pan.
While the cake base is baking, start the buttercup cream. In a large saucepan, place the squash cubes, 1 cup apple juice, cinnamon stick, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt, and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer the mixture for 25-30 minutes or until the squash is soft. Remove the lid from the pan and continue to cook until all of the liquid is absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat, remove the cinnamon stick and discard it, and allow the squash mixture to cool for 10 minutes. In a small saucepan, place 1/2 cups apple juice and the agar-agar flakes, and let sit for 10 minutes to soften. Place the pan over low heat (do not boil) and simmer for 10 minutes to completely dissolve the agar-agar flakes. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cups apple juice and arrowroot, add it to the agar-agar mixture, and continue to simmer the mixture while whisking until the starchy-white color disappears. Add the maple syrup, tahini, vanilla, and almond extract, and whisk well to combine. Transfer the cooked squash mixture and the agar-agar mixture to a food processor, and process until very smooth and creamy. Pour the buttercup cream into the springform pan, spreading it evenly to cover the cooled cake base, and set aside.
To prepare the topping, in a small measuring cup with a spout, stir together the cocoa, maple syrup, oil, and vanilla to form a thick paste. Slowly stir in the soy milk, adding 1 T. at a time, just enough so that it drizzles off the edge of a spoon. Drizzle the topping in 4 horizontal lines over the top of the buttercup cream. Using a sharp knife or toothpick, pull through the buttercup cream and the lines of topping, in an up and down motion over the top of the cake, to create a marbleized effect or pattern. Cover the top of the springform pan and chill the cake for several hours or overnight. Remove the springform ring from the cake and transfer it to a large plate or platter. Use a warmed knife to cut the cake into 12 pieces.
Yield: One 9-inch cake or 12 pieces
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