All the pictures I’ve seen online show them as a beautiful grey green color, but mine was red striated with a green so dark it is almost black.
Excellent question. I have no idea. Maybe making them in the suggested ramekins equals fancy dessert? Whatever. Make these. They’re great.
They turned out just beautifully. Not heavy at all, with a spicy, sweet flavor and a moist crumb. This squash is seriously amazing. You could sub out the Kabocha with a different squash, but it won’t be the same. If substituting, you will probably want to drain the milk out of the stewed squash, before blending. Kabocha is very dense, with a dry, crumbly texture when cooked, quite different from, say, a butternut squash.
Recipe Adjustments: Of course, I made some changes which I think turned out rather well. I reduced the amount of sugar and oil as a whole, also subbing out some of the sugar with maple syrup and some oil with melted butter. I only own 4 of the 6 ramekins required in the original recipe and some of the epicurious reviewers commented that 2 cups of Kabocha make a TON of puree, so I decided to double the rest of the recipe. I ended up using one muffin tin and half of a mini muffin tin. Additionally, this recipe calls for a fabulous looking brown sugar cream. I did not make this because I like to delude myself into believing I have willpower or something. It looks awesome, though and I may try it another time.
P.S. The leftover squash puree is absolutely delicious topped with a sprinkling of brown sugar. Seriously. Automatic side dish if you like the sweet/savory thing.
Prepare your squash: Kabocha is very hard squash. Peel off the tough skin. Cut a slice off one end to help stabilize and cut in half. Scoop out the pith and seeds, then chop into chunks.
Make your puree: Combine squash and milk in a small pot. Scrape the vanilla bean, adding seeds and pod to the pot. Simmer over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender. Remove from heat. Remove vanilla bean and puree until smooth.
Mixing up the batter: Preheat oven to 375°F. Prep your muffin tins to your preference.
Place 1 cup squash puree in large bowl (reserve remaining puree for another use). Add sugar, oil, beer, and egg to puree and blend until smooth.
Sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt over the wet ingredients; mix or beat to blend.
Divide batter among prepared ramekins.
Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 15 minutes.