Pumpkins and squash are synonymous with Autumn and October’s feast of Halloween. Here I have taken inspiration from my favourite winter salad of butternut squash, goats cheese and walnuts to create a twist on a traditional pumpkin cake.
The roasted butternut squash cake is incredibly moist and fragrant with spices, contrasting nicely with the tangy goats and cream cheese frosting. Goats cheese may not initially sound appropriate for a cake but I urge you to try it, the taste is subtle and the overall combination divine!
For the roasted butternut squash
– 280g peeled and deseeded butternut squash cut into 2cm dice
– 2 tbsp walnut or rapeseed oil
For the butternut squash cake
– 280g butternut squash puree
– 100g butter (or rapeseed oil)
– 115ml buttermilk
– 325g soft brown sugar
– 4 medium eggs
– 240g plain flour
– 2 ½tsp baking powder
– ½ tsp bicarbonate soda
– ¾ tsp ground ginger
– 1 tsp ground cinnamon
– ¾ tsp ground nutmeg
– ¼ tsp ground cloves
For the goats cheese icing
– 115g soft goats cheese
– 115g cream cheese
– 60g unsalted butter
– 475g icing sugar
– Grated zest 1 orange
For the honeyed walnuts
– 50g honey
– 25g soft brown sugar
– 50g toasted walnuts
1. To make the butternut squash puree, heat the oven to 160°C/315F. Place the diced butternut squash in a roasting tray and drizzle with the oil. Roast for 30-40mins until soft. Leave to cool slightly before blending in a food processor until a coarse puree is achieved. Set aside.
2. To make the butternut squash cake, grease and line three 6” cake tins.
3. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat and set aside.
4. In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the butternut squash puree, soft brown sugar and buttermilk for approx 5 mins. Beat the eggs and add gradually, beating well between each addition.
5. Meanwhile sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and spices into a bowl. Add to the squash and sugar mix and whisk until just combined. Pour in the melted butter and whisk again until combined.
6. Pour the mixture into the pepared tins and bake for 20-25 mins until springy to the touch and until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for approximately 15-20 mins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
7. To make the goats cheese icing, have all the ingredients at room temperature before placing both cheeses and the butter in an electric mixer and beating well on high speed for several minutes until well combined. Sift in the icing sugar, add the orange zest and beat on a low speed until combined. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat until light and fluffy. If icing is a little runny refrigerate until firm enough to spread onto the cake.
8. To make the honeyed walnuts, pour the honey into a small pan and add the sugar as well as ½ tbsp cold water. Without stirring heat gently until sugar is all dissolved. You can tilt the pan from side to side to ensure even heating.
9. Meanwhile toast the walnuts before adding to the honey mixture. Continue to cook over a slightly higher heat without stirring until the syrup caramelises and turns a golden brown. Then, pour the mixture out onto a piece of baking parchment and refrigerate until set.
10. To assemble the cake, once the cakes are cooled, level each cake layer. Place one layer on a plate or cake board and spread one third of the icing on top. Repeat with the second and third layer. Top with the honeyed walnuts.
– This cake is incredibly moist and will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Cove Cake Design was founded in 2013 by Suzanne Brady. A former scientist, with a PhD in Biochemistry followed by a career working for Cancer Research UK, Suzanne discovered a natural love of baking after becoming a full-time mother in 2008. A keen student, she completed a Professional Masters Certificate in Cake Decorating, Royal Icing and Sugar Flower Techniques at Squires International School and a PME Knightsbridge Diploma in Sugar Flowers. With an eye for perfection Suzanne subsequently honed her skills with online and self-taught techniques. And so in 2013 Cove Cake Design, a nod to the stunning Sandycove area of Dublin where Suzanne and her family call home, began its baking journey.
From the outset Suzanne’s ethos has been to work closely with each client, drawing on a wide source of inspiration to create a bespoke cake unique to each occasion. With a delectable menu reflecting the quality of ingredients sourced and the design precision with which Suzanne decorates each cake it is unsurprising that Cove Cake Design has flourished into a thriving home business whose cakes have been recognised and featured in numerous magazines and blogs from around the world.