Even though butternut squash is probably one of my favourite vegetables, it is very rare that I can actually be bothered to prepare it myself. So even though they aren’t in season, the decision to make this cake was slightly opportunistic: some ready prepped cubes leftover from dinner gave me the perfect cheat’s way out. However, the cake is still pretty good! Although it is slightly heavier, it is incredibly moist and not as dense as you might think. I have tried experimenting with vegetables in baking before (and I can guarantee this won’t be the last time they make an appearance in some form) but this is definitely the most successful of my bakes so far.
I based my recipe on Charlotte Notts’ post on Nigella Lawson’s community page, making a few of my own tweaks. I also decided to ice it with an orange buttercream and decorate the top with dried cranberries. I thought this gave the cake quite a delicate touch. However, while I quite like this I’m not sure how my dad feels about it since it eventually turned into his birthday cake; I have to admit it isn’t the most masculine thing to ever grace the planet. He had to settle for a birthday beer to counteract it, which is probably more up his street anyway. And, ultimately, it tastes bloody good (modesty at its finest) so I hope you enjoy!
Butternut Squash and Orange Cake (serves approx. 8)
For the cake:
- 150g Self Raising Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Mixed Spice
- 0.5 tsp Ground Ginger
- 120g Golden Caster Sugar
- 2 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
- 135ml Sunflower Oil
- 160g Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 Orange
For the Icing and Decoration:
- About 3/4 block of butter, room temperature
- Icing sugar (make sure you have plenty)
- Orange Juice
- A small handful of dried cranberries
- Boil the butternut squash in water for about 10 minutes until completely soft, then drain and mash with a fork.
- Preheat your oven to 180C/ 160 Fan/ 320F
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and spices and then mix with the sugar.
- Gradually fold in the oil, eggs and the zest of the orange. Then add a little bit of orange juice, making sure the mixture doesn’t become too runny.
- Stir in the puree until combined.
- Spoon the batter into a lined cake tin and bake for 45-55 minutes. Once cooked leave to cool.
- To make the icing, put the butter into a mixer with the whisk attachment. Add quite a lot of icing sugar to begin with and mix until smooth. Once combined add in a small amount of orange juice and whisk again. Then adjust the levels of icing sugar and orange juice in order to get the desired flavour and consistency.
- Spread onto the cake with a pallet knife. I crumb coated mine, but this isn’t necessary if you aren’t bothered about having a smooth finish . Finely chop the cranberries and sprinkle on top.