You know that classic squishy, cozy pumpkin bread? This is that same lovable loaf—except pastry chef Nicole Rucker ratchets up every flavor, then splashes a genius, extra-glossy glaze over the top. And just like the classic, it makes a very happy gift that keeps astonishingly well for days.
As former Gjelina chef Travis Lett wrote in the Gjelina cookbook of Nicole’s cake, “This cake goes down equally well as a breakfast pastry, tea cake, or simple dessert. The deep mineral flavor of the kabocha, and the rustic crumb it produces is swirled with dark bittersweet chocolate.”
A few more tips: If you’re wondering if you can bake this cake ahead, yes—not only does it keep extremely well, but I happen to love the flavor most on days two and beyond. If you can’t find kabocha squash, red kuri squash is a good substitute, or other dry, creamy squash varieties. If you needed to substitute butternut or other more watery varieties, Nicole recommends adding in this step from the original recipe: “In a large piece of cheesecloth, wrap the pureed squash in a tight bundle. Put in a colander set over a bowl, and let drain at least 4 hours. Squeeze by twisting the cheesecloth to remove extra water.”
Recipe adapted slightly from Gjelina: Cooking from Venice, California (Chronicle Books, October 2015).