It’s not even funny how good this cake is. I mean seriously good. The squash makes for an incredibly moist sponge brought to life by warming spices and it is sandwiched together with heavenly, creamy chocolate mousse spiked with a tiny bit of chilli heat for a tingling surprise.
This recipe came about as I had half a huge butternut squash to use up and didn’t fancy making another soup (from which the first half was used). Butternut squash is extremely versatile and when pureed it can be used in all manner of recipes too. Squash puree is also fantastic stirred into a cheesy sauce for a pasta bake amongst many other things. But before I go on a ramble about the many uses of the vegetable, let me tell you about its use here.
I have used squash in place of the popular tinned pumpkin puree which is full of additives, preservatives and sweeteners. While I am aware that this cake is not exactly a diet food, I at least know exactly what is in it and can add flavour with beautiful, natural spices.
To create squash puree, peel and deseed the butternut. Cut into small dice and place in a microwavable bowl. Cover with clingfilm and microwave on full power for 5-8 minutes or until the squash can be easily… squashed between your fingers. Drain away any water that may have collected from the steam in the bowl then mash until smooth. You can do this in a blender for very fine results but I was saving on the washing up and used a potato masher which gave slightly coarser puree that I personally really liked in the overall bake. You are now left with about 2 cups of puree, depending on the size of your squash, which is just perfect for this amazing recipe.
For the cake:
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1⅓ cups golden caster sugar
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup yogurt (I used yeo valley 0% fat)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups butternut squash puree
- 4 eggs
For the chocolate mousse filling/topping:
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips (70% cocoa)
- 1 cup cold double cream
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon chilli powder
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease and line 2 round 20cm cake tins.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a separate large bowl, combine sugar and oil. Stir in yogurt, vanilla, and squash. Beat eggs in one at a time, mixing very well after each addition.
- Gradually add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared tins. Bake for 40-50 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the tins straight away and place on a wire rack. Cool completely.
- While that’s happening, melt the chocolate chips and allow the chocolate to cool a bit. Whisk together the heavy cream, cocoa powder, cinnamon and chili powder. Whip just until the cream reaches the “stiff peaks” stage. Carefully fold about half of the chocolate into the cream. Then fold in the remaining chocolate.
- When the cake is completely cool, layer the cream in the middle and on top of the cake.