When I started to take the golden blend apart – looking at the cinnamon, turmeric and black pepper – it made me think of the Middle East. All the flavours of the bazaar sit really well alongside dates and roasted walnuts – and suddenly butternut squash seemed like the perfect addition. Sure, it’s most often eaten as a savory vegetable but you’ll find that it brings surprising sweetness and moisture to this cake.
Gizzi Erskine’s Golden Squash, Walnut and Date Cake
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 lemon, zested
3 medium free range eggs
250ml olive oil
200g light muscavado sugar
280g butternut squash, grated
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
350g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
40g Rooted Spices’ Christmas Sugar
1 tsp Rooted Spices’ Golden Blend
1/4 tsp salt
For the icing
540g cream cheese
200g icing sugar
250ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Preheat the oven to 165C.
Grease the bottom and sides of a 23cm diameter x 8cm deep loose bottomed tin with oil and line with greaseproof paper. Not only will this prevent the cake from sticking, but also from burning – as it’s a large cake which takes a relatively long time to cook.
Put the dates in a bowl and pour over the orange juice, zest and lemon zest. Allow the dates to soak whilst assembling the rest of the ingredients.
Toast the walnuts on a baking tray for 10 minutes – being careful not to burn them. Meanwhile, whisk the muscavado sugar and olive oil for approximately 2 minutes until the mixture becomes a pale coffee colour. Crack one egg into the mixture, whisk for 1 minute, then repeat with the second egg and finally the last egg – then whisk for further 2 minutes.
Next, stir in the grated squash, followed by the vanilla bean paste. Add the flour, baking powder, Rooted Spices’ Christmas Sugar, Rooted Spices’ Golden Blend and the salt. Whisk until well combined.
Finally, stir in the walnuts, dates, orange juice and zests. Mix with a spatula until everything is evenly distributed.
Pour out the mixture into the cake tin, and place in the oven for 1 hour 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 2-3 hours.
To make the icing, whip the cream, vanilla and icing sugar so it thickens enough to hold its shape. Fold the cream and sugar mixture into the cream cheese until its smooth and spreadable. Chill for 1-2 hours while the cake is cooking and cooling.
Remove the cake from the tin. If the top is a little crusty and domed, level it with a knife, then cut the cake horizontally into 3 even slices. Lay the base slice on to a cake plate or stand.
Spread over 4-5 tablespoons of the icing on the base and place the next layer on top, then repeat. Use half the remaining icing to ice the sides of the cake – leveling it to a 3mm layer. Spread the remaining icing on top and level it out flat.
You may have some icing left over, and its up to you how thick you want to make it, personally I prefer a slightly thinner layer, but I know many of you out there will opt for more!