There’s one question that I need to get out of the way quickly before my lovely husband gets any ideas. Yes, these little cakes do have vegetable in them, but no, they don’t count as a portion of veg. I hope I haven’t upset anyone else with that revelation? A portion of veggies you see needs to be at least within shouting distance of 80g, and a slice of carrot cake or any of its culinary siblings come in nowhere near that, not even nutritionist Kathryn’s Chocolate and Beetroot cake or Heidi’s Special Zucchini Bread. These little squash bites are in the same boat – a meagre 12.5g of squash per cake. But don’t worry, it is not so much what you are putting in that is important here, it is what the squash lets you leave out. Here’s the low down on why these are worth firing up the oven:
- Crystallised ginger and butternut squash are the perfect autumn flavour combo
- Roasted butternut squash provides plenty of moisture leaving the recipe to be naturally low fat
- Flour is OK (unless you have coeliac disease), especially wholemeal, but just doesn’t do as much good stuff for you as oats. This recipe is loosely based on the kind of proportions you would use to make muffins but skips half of the flour in favour of low GI, cholesterol busting oats.
- There’s no butter or marg in here, just two tablespoons of rapeseed oil to make twenty cakes. Rapeseed oil is the one also known as vegetable oil or canola and is predominantly monounsaturated like olive oil (indeed you could use a mild olive oil instead if you prefer).
- You won’t miss the butter, I promise, because there are also a handful of buttery macadamia nuts in there.
These are an every day sorta cake. They aren’t particularly pretty or delicate (meaning that you can dunk them in your tea), but they are as nutritionally well balanced as you can expect a cake to be. Like most low fat cakes they don’t keep for too long but this works in their favour – I keep a batch in the freezer and when I fancy something sweet with my tea I take one of these out at breakfast and it is ready to eat by coffee break.
This is an entirely self-invented recipe and I’m not a baking expert by any means; feel free to tweak the recipe and report back on any improvements you come up with! I’m sure you can think of plenty of things to do with the rest of the butternut squash but if not pop it into the freezer for now (I have an easy savoury recipe to use the rest on its way).
My foray into vegetable-based baking coincides with a beta carotene theme for regular blogging event Sugar High Friday so I thought I would take the opportunity to join those guys for a change (the event is hosted this time around by Leslie at Definitely Not Martha). It sounds good so I will put a link to the round-up here when it appears.
Recipe for Butternut squash, oat and ginger cake bites
Makes about 20 small cakes
Note: if you don’t have any leftover butternut squash available, a medium squash cut in half takes about 35 minutes in a medium oven. Allow to cool slightly then scoop out the flesh.
250g roasted butternut squash flesh (flesh only, skin and seeds removed)
2 Tbsp rapeseed oil (aka vegetable oil, canola)
1 medium egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g golden caster sugar
30g macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
1 tsp baking soda
250g wholemeal flour
0.5 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
0.5 tsp allspice
4 balls crystallised stem ginger, chopped
Preheat your oven to 180 C, 350 F, Gas mark 4 (I have a super-enthusiastic fan oven so used 160 C).
Give the squash a good stir to make sure that there are no big lumps in it (you can use a food processor if you want but I like to save on the washing up – a good beating with a wooden spoon should do it). Remove any fibrous/burnt/unpleasant bits.
Add the oil, egg, vanilla extract, sugar and ginger to the squash and mix well.
Combine the remaining (dry) ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and stir to distribute the ingredients evenly.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix gently until thoroughly combined.
Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Dollop out the cake mixture into small mounds (about a heaped tablespoon), leaving a little bit of space between each one. You might need to baking sheets.
Cook for 15 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.
These store in an air tight container for a few days (you can also freeze them and defrost just a few as needed).