Buttermilk cake with spiced vanilla icing
The secret to this moist, tender cake is grated butternut squash, which is folded into the batter just before baking. Use the large holes on a box grater to grate the squash.
For the cake...
4 ounces (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened; more for the pan
13½ ounces (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the pan
1½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¾ cup buttermilk
2¼ cups peeled and grated butternut squash (about 8 ounces)
For the icing and garnish...
9 ounces (2¼ cups) confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons buttermilk; more as needed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon table salt
¼ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
Make the cake
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Butter and flour a 10-cup Bundt pan; tap out excess flour.
  3. In a large bowl with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment,
  4. beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the oil and beat until combined, about 15 seconds.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well on low speed.
  7. Add the vinegar and vanilla and mix again until just combined.
  8. Add half of the flour and the baking soda, salt, ginger, and nutmeg, mixing on low speed until just combined.
  9. Add half of the buttermilk and mix until just combined. Repeat with the remaining flour and buttermilk.
  10. Stir the squash into the batter and transfer the batter to the prepared pan; smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
  11. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.
  12. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes; then carefully invert the cake onto the rack and remove the pan. When the cake
  13. is completely cool, transfer it to a serving plate.
Make the icing
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, buttermilk, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt until smooth.
  2. Add more buttermilk, a few drops at a time, as needed, until the icing is pourable but still quite thick.
  3. Pour the icing back and forth in thick ribbons over the cooled cake.
  4. Sprinkle the ginger on top.
  5. Let the icing set at room temperature, about 45 minutes, before serving.
Serves 10 to 12
Make-ahead notes: This cake can be made a day or two in advance. After the icing has set, wrap the cake in plastic and refrigerate. Let come to room temperature before serving.

from Fine Cooking, Feb/Mar 2009, pp. 80