Disqus for Where Are My Knees

Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

There are a lot of things I miss when I’m dieting. After not eating them for a couple of weeks, you stop craving them as much, but it doesn’t mean you don’t still MISS them. I’m not going to lie, you guys, I could totally go for a KFC right now. I don’t care if it’s ostensibly deep fried cardboard – YUM.

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"

3 eggs
160g sugar
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
125ml buttermilk

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!


  1. Aw thanks for the little mention! I was just about to shout 'I LOVE THIS BOOK TOOOO!' but then saw you had linked to me anyway ;-) the courgette cake is really amazing - I've made it for work before using rice flour for my gluten free colleague but EVERYONE loved it! The icings are still naughty but the cakes aren't but the best bit is that you can't really tell at all. I really must try more recipes out of it this year!

  2. I was with you until you said 'butternut squash' and now I'm extremely dubious. Can you truly not tell? Actually never mind, I'm exceedingly unlikely to actually sit and grate butternut squash when I could just eat normal fatty cake and then feel guilty afterwards! That's the trouble with having successfully lost weight - you immediately go "NEVER doing that shit again!", then you inevitably put a little bit back on, as I have, and then you think "Oh well, that should be easy enough to lose, it's only a couple of pounds" - well maybe easy enough for people with will power, but I simply cannot get back into the diet mindset. Two years ago I would have gladly grated vegetables, but these days "Can't-be-arsed-itis" has taken over completely! Argh!

    (That was much longer and ramblier than I intended, sorry about that!)

  3. oooh we have that book in one of the libraries I work in. It sounds great, I've not tried cake with butternut squash in before but I'm sure I would love it. I want to try something baked with beetroot in to xx

  4. I NEED this book! Definitely buying it. Cheers for this :D x

  5. I'm ALWAYS craving cake, so I need this book!

  6. Words cannot describe how much I need this book in my life.
    But grating a butternut squash? Damn thats weird!

  7. A lady in my work has made as a few cakes from this book, all surprisingly tasty and you'd never be able to tell they were made from veggies, not even once you knew. I'm not a huge cake person but I would recommend trying this for those who are .

  8. With the butternut squash do you use 200g and then grate it or use 200g of the grated sqush?
    Also how finely did you grate yours? With a microplane grater or an ordinary cheese grater?

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