Butternut Squash Tray Bake

  • Time: 3 Hours
  • Serves: 10
  • Level: medium

I had some pumpkin I needed to use and thought of a cake – but one similar to a carrot-type cake rather than a drier muffin-like cake. This recipes seems to tick all the boxes – a good use of pumpkin/squash in a cake. The texture is like carrot cake – oh, and then there’s that frosting…

Mr WDC
Well everybody who has eaten this says it's delicious. Mrs WDC insists I post the recipe so she can make it - perhaps that's the best compliment of all!

What you need

For the tray bake

Wet ingredients:

The cooked pulp from a medium sized delica pumpkin, kaboucha or butternut squash.  You need 2 cups of dense cooked pulp. About 500g when prepared. NB: A butternut squash weighing 1650g will produce about 910g pulp

3 eggs

125g unsalted butter

125ml groundnut oil

60g stoned dates

125ml apple juice

1/2 cup packed dark muscavado sugar – about 85g

1 cup packed light muscavado sugar – about 170g

1 very ripe small banana – about 55g

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

Dry ingredients:

140g white spelt flour – or ordinary flour

140g wholemeal spelt flour – ordinary wholemeal flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground allspice

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground ginger

125g chopped walnuts or pecans or mix of both

For the frosting

100g unsalted butter softened

150g icing sugar

280g light cream cheese

2 tbs marmalade, or apricot jam (optional)

2 tbs full fat creme fraiche

1/2 tsp vanilla

Lemon



How Dad Cooked It

This recipe is based on a ‘melted’ style of cake. I have used spelt flour. I’m sold on the whole notion of this grain and always have some in the larder. However, you can substitute plain flour and wholemeal. I use half oil and half butter – this gives lightness from the oil and richness from the butter. I really like the added complexity that marmalade gives to the frosting. I was after a golden colour of frosting when the idea occurred, but some people do not like the bitterness of marmalade – I cannot see why apricot would not work just as well, or lemon or orange curd – or zest of lemon or orange – or otherwise omit these additions.

NB: Making cooked pumpkin or squash will take a couple of hours – you need to allow time for this. The pumpkin can be cooked the day before and stored in the fridge.

  1. Cook the pumpkin or squash. Set the oven to 180C, Gas 4. Cut the pumpkin or squash into quarters and scrape away the seeds. Sprinkle with a little salt and drizzle a little oil over the pieces. Put on an oven tray flesh side up, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes then remove the foil and bake until tender (total cooking time can be between 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on type of squash or pumpkin. Turn off the heat and leave in the oven for half an hour. Take out the pieces and scrape the flesh from the skin – do this with a spoon or a sharp knife. Put the flesh in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Line an oven tray. Grease a 30cm x 20cm. tin with butter and line with greaseproof paper.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C, Gas 4
  4. Prepare the wet ingredients. Chop the dates and place in a large saucepan. Add the apple juice and dark brown sugar. Bring to a simmer and stir until the dates have disintegrated. Add the light brown sugar, the butter and oil, heat until well mixed and melted. Add the banana and mash into the mixture. Add the pumpkin or squash and mash until well mixed, finally add the salt and vanilla. Turn off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  5. Prepare the dry ingredients. Chop the nuts and put into a bowl, set aside. Measure the remaining dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix well with a whisk. Sprinkle a few drops of water from your finger tips over the nuts and mix with your wet hand. Using your dry hand, take large pinch of the flour mixture and add it to the nuts. Mix with your dry hand. This coats the nuts and helps prevent them from sinking.
  6. Finish the batter. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until well mixed, add the cooled wet ingredients into the bowl and mix well. Add half the flour to the wet ingredients and stir with a spoon. Add the remaining flour and stir until just mixed. Finally add the nuts to the mixture and stir gently to incorporate.
  7. Bake the tray bake. Fill the batter into the oven tray and level. Put into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until firm and bouncy to the touch and a wooden skewer just comes out clean. Don’t over cook. Cool for 20 minutes. Take the bake out of the tray and place upside down on a wire rack. Peel the paper from the cake and allow to cool.
  8. Make the Frosting. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the marmalade (if using) and beat. Then add the vanilla, cream cheese and creme fraiche and continue to beat until fluffy and light. Taste and adjust – use lemon if a little sharpness is needed.
  9. Finish the tray bake. Turn the cake over and place on a serving tray. Frost the tray bake on the top only.
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