"Autumn Cozies" - Squash and Carrot Spice Cake recipe {vegan!}

For my Twitter followers, you may remember my excitement about two months ago when I decided to experiment with red kuri squash. By experiment I clearly mean use-for-the-first-time-ever, because I had no idea red kuri squash existed until I picked some up from the Squash Queen at Hymer's Fall Fair. Red kuri squash is my new best friend. But I've only eaten it in one form, about a dozen a times, in the exact same delicious way: red kuri squash and carrot cake muffins/mini loaves.

When I decided to bake the squash into muffins, the result was the birth of my new favourite recipe. Something I had to give a name. These are my tweets from the night of its conception (September 26):

I have a red kuri squash and I'm not afraid to use it!
Red kuri squash and carrot cake muffins! Fluffy, moist AND vegan... On a roll in the kitchen! These bad boys need a cute name.
I shall call them Cozies! All because they 1. Make my house smell like Christmas, 2. Taste like happiness, and 3. Make me want to snuggle.
I'll be putting my Cozies #recipe up on my blog! Perfect potluck muffins. The #vegan thing is just a bonus. !
I'm SO HAPPY that I decided to bake tonight. Cozies are my new favourite food. Heh

Now, I'm not claiming not to be a chatty person. But I clearly couldn't shut up (more than usual) about this discovery. Kinda like I can't shut up now and just type up the recipe to share with the world. Yeah, kinda like that.

Now that I've babbled on about it, here's the recipe for Autumn Cozies (cozies in muffin form, cozy loaf in loaf form). I've used it for a potluck, Thanksgiving, an impromptu cupcake party, and as a movie-night snack so far (weird, I know). Definitely celebration friendly!!!

Squash and Carrot Spice Cake
{Yields 1 loaf, 4 mini loaves, 12 muffins or 24 mini muffins}

Wet Ingredients:
1 cup cooked & mashed red kuri squash
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup unsweetened rice milk
1/3 cup room temperature vegan margarine
2 tbsp white vinegar

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup natural sugar
1 cup grated carrot, tightly packed
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
1/4 tsp ground mace
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 320 F.  In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients, including the grated carrot. Make sure the carrot is coated with the flour mixture. In a separate bowl, (you can use a hand mixer) mix wet ingredients together. The margarine should be smooth and not lumpy (see below).

Grease the pan you're baking with, whether it's a loaf pan, cupcake pan, or mini cupcake pan (don't use liners...liners = doom for this recipe). I highly recommend using standard muffin tins or mini loaf pans. When the oven is ready and the pan is greased, add wet to dry and mix using a handmixer. Pour/scoop the batter into the pan/pans right away, while it's still fluffy from mixing.

Feel free to lick the batter out of the bowl and off of the spoons/beaters. It's delicious, and you won't get sick because it has no eggs in it! That's a very important bonus to vegan baking in my household.

Bake regular muffins for 25 minutes, mini-loaves for 40 minutes, mini-cupcakes for 12 minutes, a full sized loaf for an hour---OR, until a toothpick comes out clean. Trust your gut if all else fails or you forget to time it; they will be amazingly light and fluffy if you get it right. If they're slightly undercooked, they're still tasty, just very dense and moist. You may even prefer them that way.

Cozies are delicious when eaten fresh out of the oven (slightly cooled, unless you're impatient like I am) and are just as delicious for several days unrefrigerated. I left a batch out for five days on the counter (in a bowl under a tea towel) and they tasted as fresh as they did on day one. I love vegan baking for that! Of course, they didn't last any longer than that because we ate them all.

Give this recipe a try, you absolutely won't regret it! Pop me a note to let me know how your cozies turned out!!!

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