Chocolate and butternut squash cake
Chocolate and butternut squash cakeSubscribe to Sainsbury's magazine
For the candied squash decoration (optional)
- 200g caster sugar
- ¼-½ medium butternut squash (about 200g prepped weight – use the rounded base), deseeded
For the cake
- ½ medium butternut squash, peeled and deseeded (about 400g prepped weight)
- 75g cook’s dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids), chopped
- 100g soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 200g caster sugar
- 3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
- 300g ground almonds
- 1 tbsp gluten-free baking powder
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
For the salted squash and chocolate buttercream
- 150g cook’s dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids), chopped
- 100g soft butter
- 250g icing sugar, sifted
- a pinch of sea salt
- To make the candied squash decoration, preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Put the sugar and 200ml cold water in a medium pan, slowly bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Cut the squash into 3mm-thick slices (use curved shapes from the bulbous end of the squash), add to the sugar syrup and boil for 10 minutes. Remove using tongs or a slotted spoon; transfer to a baking tray lined with baking paper. Lay them flat and keep them spaced apart. Bake for 16-18 minutes. Remove from the oven and use tongs to arrange them on a wire rack, in curls. Leave to cool and crisp for an hour.
- For the cake, make the butternut squash purée; cut the 400g prepared squash into 2-3cm chunks. Cook in a pan of boiling water until tender, around 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6. Grease and line 2 x loose-bottomed 20cm cake tins.
- Drain the squash and allow to cool, then blend to a fine purée using a stick blender; it should be quite wet. You should have at least 300g. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of barely simmering water. Leave to cool slightly.
- Cream the butter and the sugar in a large bowl using an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then add a third of the beaten egg to the mixture. Mix well and add 250g of the butternut squash purée. Don’t worry if this curdles slightly as it will come together with the dry ingredients. Put the almonds, baking powder and spices in a bowl with a pinch of salt and mix well; add to the wet mixture, mix well.
- Add the melted chocolate to the cake mixture, along with the remaining eggs. Mix well. Divide between the 2 prepared cake tins and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tins for about 10 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the buttercream, melt the chocolate, set aside and leave to cool slightly (about 10 minutes). In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy and light using an electric hand mixer, then add 50g of the butternut purée. This won’t immediately combine so just ensure it is mixed in as well as possible. Gradually add the icing sugar until fully incorporated. Add the melted chocolate and beat until light and fluffy. Add sea salt to taste.
- To assemble the cake, use a palette knife to spread the top of one sponge with some of the icing then sandwich together with the second sponge. Spread the rest of the icing on top and decorate with the candied squash slices, standing some of them upright.
Chocolate butternut squash cake