Another thing that I miss is cake. The problem is, good cakes involve butter. LOTS of butter. I went to Paris last year and ate a lot of cake, and the reason all the cake was so amazing was BUTTER. It’s so hard to make a healthy cake.
I have got hold of a book which changes all that! Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache by Cook Yourself Thin’s Harry Eastwood is described as ‘The ultimate feel-good book of natural cakes that taste naughty’. And it is ace. Harry makes low fat cakes that taste yummy by adding vegetables – I know, I know, this sounds crazy suspicious but I have just two words for you: CARROT. CAKE. Back on board? Thought so.
I tried out her chocolate cake for my friend’s birthday, as we were both watching our figures. I carefully didn’t say anything until people had eaten it and then burst out ‘IT IS LOW FAT!!’ No one had guessed. That’s the true test, right? It was super moist and full of flavour. This recipe uses a LOT of butternut squash – which, yes, you have to grate yourself. It does take ages. But, hey, surely that burns calories? Unlike carrot cake, though, you cannot tell it's there in the texture.
I played around with the recipe a bit, substituting plain flour for rice flour, and low fat cream cheese for mascarpone. I also got fed up with the icing technique and just added extra cream cheese to loosen it up!
"Light Chocolate Cake"
200g peeled and grated butternut squash
120g plain flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
80g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
FOR THE ICING
50g unsalted butter, softened
200g icing sugar, sifted
50g mascarpone / low fat cream cheese
4 tsp cocoa powder
1 - Preheat the oven to 180c / 350f. Line the tins with baking parchment and brush a little vegetable oil over the base and sides.
2 - Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl for 4 full minutes until pale and fluffy. Beat in the grated butternut squash, followed by the flour, cocoa powder, ground almonds, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Add the buttermilk before beating again one last time to make sure that all the ingredients are well introduced to one another.
3 - Pour the mixture evenly into both tins, then place in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes.
4 - Once cooked, remove the cakes from the oven, unmould, peel off the baking parchment and leave them to cool down completely on a wire rack.
5 - You can make the icing whilst the cakes are cooking, as long as you don't ice them until they are completely cold, otherwise the icing wil run off. Beat the butter with 100g of the sugar in a large mixing bowl. You will need to work them together patiently, using the back of a wooden spoon. It will seem like an impossible task at first, but they will eventually turn into a lovely rich paste.
6 - Once you reach this stage, beat vigorously for 10 seconds to loosen the butter even further. Add the mascarpone, cocoa powder and the remaining sugar. Beat once again to combine.
7 - Refrigerate the icing for 15 minutes. Give it a good beating with your wooden spoon before icing the middle and top of the cold cake. Decorate as you fancy!
With Easter coming up, and various Royal Wedding parties and Baby Showers and all sorts of other things, I’m looking forward to trying out some of Harry’s other recipes. I’ll be sure to post my results. If you’re intrigued, check out the book – or, friend of the Knees girls, Helen, has posted about this too!