Light Chocolate Cake

Adapted from Heavenly Chocolate Heartache by Harry Eastman

I do NOT recommend you tell your children the secret ingredient in this cake (which is butternut squash). You'd never know that this cake was made with butternut.  My kids fall upon it when I make it.  There is a lot of sugar in the icing which isn't ideal but you could try replacing that with maple syrup to taste. It is a firm favourite for a birthday cake too.  Article Image

Serves 12

You will need either one deep or two normal 20cm loose-bottomed cake tins.
Grease the tins with some butter or margarine and line with circles of greaseproof paper.
Preheat the oven to 160ºC.

3 medium eggs
160g caster sugar
200g peeled and grated butternut squash or sweet potato (this is the peeled weight).  Use a very fine grater and don’t grate it until you are ready to use.
120g flour (works well with plain or spelt flour)
3 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
80g ground almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
¼ teaspoon salt
125ml of buttermilk, or milk mixed with a teaspoon of lemon juice to make buttermilk

65g unsalted butter, softened
220g icing sugar, sieved
65g mascarpone or cream cheese
4 teaspoons cocoa powder
pinch of salt


  • Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl for at least four minutes until they are pale and fluffy, and have doubled in size.
  • Beat in the butternut squash or sweet potato that you have just finely grated. Add the sifted flour, cocoa powder, ground almonds, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Mix well. Add the buttermilk and beat again to make sure all the ingredients are well combined.
  • Pour evenly into the two tins, or the one deep tin.
  • Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 30 minutes until they are risen, springy and look cooked, and have nearly stopped hissing when you put your ear to them.
  • Cool the cakes on a wire rack. When they are cool turn them out, remove the greaseproof paper from the bottom and leave to cool completely.
  • To make the icing, beat the butter with half the icing sugar in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. Mix them together until they form a thick paste. Then beat fast for 10 seconds to loosen the butter thoroughly. Add the mascarpone or cream cheese, sifted cocoa powder and salt, as well as the other half of the sifted icing sugar. Beat together until combined.
  • Refrigerate the icing for 15 minutes before using. Give it a good mix again and spread in the middle and on the top of the cake.

Delicious and healthy.