Updated (again): We’ve been nominated in the Austin Blogger Awards in two categories – Best New Blog and Best Food Blog for Recipes! We’re very excited and we would love to ask for your votes! Voting runs through 5pm CST on Friday, 12/3…soooo…if you like what you see here, please go here to vote. We’ll come up with some magical recipes to say thank you! :)

When I stop to think about what I was doing at this time last year, it’s kind of crazy. Lots of things have changed. For starters, I wasn’t engaged: I wasn’t planning a wedding, dress shopping or signing up for premarital counseling. Needless to say, the past few months have been very exciting!

But, my personal life isn’t the only thing that has changed. Last year at this time, my work life was completely different, too. Our organization was smaller at the time, and I was in a corporate support role rather than the client-facing consulting role I’m in today. At about this exact time, I was probably addressing hundreds of holiday cards. A task that I in no way loathed. I’ll say it now, and I’ll probably say it again…I LOVE Christmas. It is my favorite holiday, and I am always beside myself for the whole month of December. I could hand-address holiday cards all day without complaining. (And I did.)

So although I love the position I’m in now, I’ve been secretly wishing I could contribute *something* to my company’s holiday planning. And then my boss emailed me. As it turns out, our holiday card this year will be an electronic cookbook featuring a seasonal recipe from each of the cities where we have an office, and he asked if I would like to submit one of my personal faves. Ummmm, YES. Yes I would.

I wanted to pick a recipe that is true to Austin and the Texas Hill Country. This cake is perfect because it just so happens that Texas’ state tree is the Pecan Tree. We’re usually right on Georgia’s heels for the top-producing pecan state. An average crop in Texas yields 60 million pounds!

The cake batter is made with local, homegrown butternut squash and seasonal spices, but Texas pecans are the real star of this dessert. Both the cake batter and the glaze are chock-full of them. They’re part of the 2lb. bag of “fresh crop” I picked up in Fredericksburg a couple weeks ago, and when they’re toasted, the flavor is unrivaled.

Gather Up:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 ½ cups roasted and pureed butternut squash
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup freshly grated coconut
½ cup toasted pecans, chopped

For the Butter Pecan Glaze:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup cream + 1 tablespoon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a bundt pan.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

In an electric mixer beat the butter at medium high speed until light and creamy, scraping down the bowl often.

Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, again scraping down the bowl often.

Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Beat in the butternut squash and the vanilla until combined.

Add the flour mixture and beat at low speed until just blended.

Remove from mixer and fold in coconut and pecans.

Spoon into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the sides of the cake have just started to pull away from the pan.

Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes. Turn out onto cooling rack and cool completely.

To make the glaze, melt the butter over medium heat in a small saucepan until bubbling. Add the pecans and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.

Mix in the brown sugar and the cream. Continue stirring until the mixture comes to a rolling boil. Cook and stir constantly for 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and cool until thickened. Drizzle over the cake.