Before we went to France for a few weeks in the middle of August we had the usual scramble to eat up everything in the fridge and veg drawer (resulting in a few rather “interesting” but none the less tasty pasta bakes and gratins). As always, not wanting to throw good food away, we took a random selection of stuff with us to finish up.
This included half a butternut squash and a couple of oranges. This is why, in temperatures of 30°C, I found myself in my little French kitchen baking a Halloween cake !!
I used my ancient food processor to grate the squash. This resulted in rather large bits of vegetable in the cake, which I was rather dubious about. Still, once it was grated there was nothing I could do about it – the whole thing was blitzed in seconds, which was the whole point of course, but it gave me no time to change my mind and try to grate it a bit smaller by hand.
As it turned out, it was no detriment to the quality of the cake once it was baked, even though the bits of squash were rather obvious !!
As usual I didn’t have all the right ingredients in stock so I had to make a few substitutions. Instead of the 3tsp mixed spice in the recipe I used 1tsp each of ginger, cinnamon and ground nutmeg. I didn’t have any sultanas so used raisins instead and in place of the light muscovado sugar I used a soft light brown sugar as that’s what seems to be available in French shops.
The recipe gives instructions for a cream cheese topping which was absolutely delicious. I also added a few gold star sprinkles, just because I found them in the cupboard when I was hunting for my baking ingredients.
The cake was delicious, very large, very moist and very moreish. I think this will become my favourite pumpkin cake and I am entering it into this month’s Tea Time Treats Challenge, hosted by Karen of Lavender and Lovage, in conjunction with Kate of What Kate Baked. The current challenge is for flapjacks, oats and traybakes.
300g self raising flour
300g soft light brown sugar
3tsp mixed spice (or 1tsp each of ground ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon)
2tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 eggs, beaten
200g butter, melted
1 orange, juiced and zested (you will only use 1tblsp of the juice)
500g pumpkin or butternut squash, weight when peeled
For the topping
200g soft cheese
85g softened butter
100g icing sugar
1 orange, juiced and zested
Preheat the oven to 200°C / 180°fan / gas mk 6. Butter and line a 30 x 20cm baking tin with baking paper.
Put the flour, sugar, spices, bicarb, raisins and salt into a bowl and mix well to combine.
Put the melted butter into another large bowl, beat in the eggs then stir in the orange zest and 1tblsp orange juice. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the pumpkin or squash and mix well again to make sure it is all combined evenly.
Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden and springy to the touch.
While the cake is baking you can make the frosting by beating together all the ingredients (only half of the orange juice). I found this easiest to do by simply blitzing it all together in the food processor. Keep in the fridge until needed.
When the cake is done, leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack. Prick all over with a skewer and drizzle the other half of the orange juice.
When the cake is completely cool beat the frosting to loosen it and then spread it over the top of the cake. Swirl with a fork or add sprinkles.
Cuts into 20-24 pieces. Keeps well in the fridge for a few days.