Saturday, 17 November 2018

Butternut Squash, Ginger and Orange Cake (Gluten Free)

A deliciously dark and decadent, spiced ginger cake with fragrant orange notes, with a lovely moistness and lightness from the grated squash.

When you end up with four butternut squashes (primarily from your veg box delivery), you need to be a bit creative to use them all up!

Having already made a tasty squash and tomato soup, curry, and some buttery squash and swede mash for the freezer, it seemed like I could turn towards the dark side (cake!), and come up with something new.

This cake is made with gluten free flour, as one of us in the family can't have gluten (hence the majority of my cakes and bakes are gluten free), but you could make it with normal flour if you prefer. Also, the cake is naturally dairy free, so if you wanted to, you could use dairy / lacto free substitutes in the topping to make the whole think dairy / lacto free.

  • 500g butternut squash flesh, peeled and coarsely grated (a 1kg squash will yield this from chopping it in half from side to side, and using the top half - the thinner part without seeds in it)
  • 275g self-raising gluten free flour (e.g. Doves Farm brand)
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 x 15ml tbsp ground ginger (if you want it REALLY spicy, you can go for 3 tbsp - but be warned, it will have a real kick!)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 150g light brown soft sugar (e.g. muscovado)
  • 150g dark brown soft sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten (215-220g)
  • 250g neutral flavoured oil (e.g. sunflower, groundnut, vegetable etc.)
  • 2 heaped teaspoons black treacle (30g)
  • 175g sultanas (or your preferred form of dried fruit)
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange (reserve 1 tbsp juice for frosting, ONLY add 1 tbsp to the wet mix)

  • 235g cream cheese (preferably full fat) or lactose/dairy free equivalent, room temperature
  • 100g butter, very soft (or lactose/dairy free equivalent)
  • Zest of 1 orange, plus the 1 tbsp of orange juice from above
  • 115g (preferably golden/unrefined) icing sugar

1 x 9" square baking tin (if using a silicone tin, as I do, place on a baking tray)

1. Remove the cream cheese and butter from the fridge, weigh out, cover, and set aside to come to room temperature. If your house is cold, you may need to warm the butter on defrost until it's really soft, before you make the frosting. Coarsely grate the peeled butternut squash, then zest one of the oranges onto the grated squash, and then juice the orange into a separate small bowl or jug, and reserve 1 tbsp of juice for the frosting.

2. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 and lightly grease the cake tin and line with greaseproof baking paper.

Mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, ground spices and sugar in a large bowl, making sure there are no lumps of sugar.

Beat the eggs together, and then beat in the oil, the black treacle (tip, heat your teaspoon up first, and the treacle will just slide off it), 1 tbsp ONLY of the orange juice (reserve the rest), and then mix in the grated squash and orange zest, and the sultanas (make sure they're not stuck together in clumps).

5. Add the egg/oil/squash mixture to the flour/spice/sugar mixture and combine thoroughly, then immediately pour the mixture into the lined cake tin. (If using a silicone tin, place on a baking tray first). It's quite a wet batter.

Place into the middle of the oven and cook for approximately 50 to 60 minutes, or until cooked through - where a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out hot and clean. Remove from the oven, leave for a few minutes in the tin, and then poke holes with a skewer all over the top while it's still warm, and evenly sprinkle over the remaining orange juice (excluding the reserved tbsp for the icing), then allow to cool in the tin for about an hour or until completely cool to the touch.

7. To make the frosting, ensure the cream cheese has come to room temperature, give it a very quick beat until it's smooth, and beat together with the softened butter (note - if you over beat the cream cheese, it will go runny - so make sure the butter is super soft, or when you add it the coldness will mean it's lumpy, then you're in danger of over-beating it and ending up with a runny sauce instead of cream cheese frosting - mentioning no names!!!), then add in the reserved tbsp orange juice, grate in the zest of the other orange, and the icing sugar. I find it easiest to use a hand-held electric beater/mixer for this.

8. When the cake is completely cool, spread with the topping and enjoy with a nice cuppa tea or coffee! Will keep in an airtight box for a few days in a cool room, or refrigerate or freeze to keep for longer.

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