Butternut Squash & Walnut Cake with Maple Icing

Of all the recipes that I have posted on this blog, the one I wanted to work on the most was the Butternut Squash Muffins. I wasn’t entirely convinced about the finished result and I also felt unhappy that the recipe was in cups and not grams and ounces. So this week I have been working on another version – Butternut Squash & Walnut Cake with Maple Frosting. I like the fact that the butternut squash goes in raw rather than adding a baked puree. It add moisture to the cake in the same way as a carrot cake does and is much less heavy.

Week after week, when cooking the Riverford Lunches, people ask me how to get their kids to be more adventurous with vegetables and try new flavours. Cakes are such a great way of doing this, especially if you can include a vegetable that they believe to have a particular aversion to, be it beetroot, parsnips, carrots or butternut squash. By getting them to try new vegetables this way it challenges their preconceptions of what they do and do not like.

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Butternut Squash & Walnut Cake with Maple Icing
160g/ ¾ cup butter, softened
230g / 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
380g / 2 ½ cups plain flour
300mls / ¾ cup buttermilk
300g / 2 cups grated butternut squash (about ½ a butternut squash)
75g / ½ cup chopped walnuts

Icing
150g cream cheese, softened
400g Icing Sugar
2 tbsp Maple Syrup
Chopped Walnuts for the top

Pre-heat oven to 170°C. Grease and line a tin. Either about 30cms round or a 30cm x 30cm square.
In large bowl beat the butter and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs until fluffy. Beat in baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add flour alternately with buttermilk, scraping side of bowl. Beat 1 minute. Stir in squash and the walnuts. Pour into the tin. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. The amount of cooking will depend on your tin size. Cool completely. In medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and the maple syrup. Beat until smooth and creamy. Frost cake. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts if you like.

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