The weather people love to get us (well me)excited about the prospect of heavy snow. So this morning woke up excited like a child at Christmas only to pull back the curtains and find the most pathetic sprinkling of snow, which soon disappeared after a heavy downpour.
Today is Stir-up-Sunday, the last Sunday before Advent and when you traditionally make the Christmas Pudding. Due to a busy diary I made my Christmas pudding a couple of weeks ago, but still wanted to do some Christmas baking this weekend. For the last couple of years I’ve been making suet-free mincemeat and this year wasn’t going to be any different. I often alter the recipe each year depending as to what I have in. This year I used Green Goblin cider and Pussers Rum. The smell while it was bubbling away on the stove was heaven. I’ve made a promise to myself that I’m going to do Christmas baking throughout December and I’ve found a recipe for chocolate stollen which is next on my list. Watch this space.
This year I have well documented the plight of the Blue Ballet Squashes in the garden. A few weeks ago one was roasted for roast dinner and the second has been patiently waiting on the kitchen worktop for us to do something with it. After making the beetroot brownies a couple of weeks ago a fellow blogger pointed me in the direction of another Hugh F-W cake recipe that had appeared in the Guardian and contained butternut squash. I decided that if they cake would work with Butternut, it would work with Blue Ballet squash. Now I used to be a passionate hater of vegetables in cakes, but Hugh is slowly turning me around to them.
After grating 1kg of apples for the mincemeat the last thing I wanted to do was grate some squash. Plus a “squash + sharp knife = ouch” incident from a couple of years ago permanently scared on my thumb, I’m a bit fearful of this humble vegetable. This is when the trusty food processor comes into play and rather than grated squash I used finely diced squash. It produced a very thick cake mix and I was a bit apprehensive that I wouldn’t work, but it produced a perfect, beautifully moist cake where the flavours had all combined and the squash had melted into the cake. Absolutely delicious. It would also work well with a orange cream cheese frosting but Hubby has begged me to leave it as it is.
It’s a bit of a mouthful when it comes to the name of a cake, but hey ho!
Blue Ballet Squash Honey Drizzle Cake
makes 1 2lb loaf
180g self-raising flour
90g light soft brown sugar
90g golden caster sugar
pinch of mixed spice
pinch of grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
zest and juice of 1 orange
180g butter, melted
300g squash, peeled, deseeded and grated/finely diced
75g walnuts, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
5 tbsp honey
1) Preheat oven to 180oc. Mix together all dry ingredients and orange zest. Then beat in butter and eggs until you have a smooth batter. Gently fold in squash, walnuts and sultanas. Pour into a lined 2lb loaf tin and bake for 50-55 min until skewer comes out clean.
2) About 5 min before cake is ready in a small pan heat honey, lemon juice and orange juice, simmer until it has thickened. When cake is ready take it out of the oven, skewer a few holes in the top of the cake and pour drizzle mix over. Allow to cool in the tin (due to the moisture content of the cake it takes a great deal longer than you expect to cool).