How about a healthier squash cake recipe today? If you want a healthier cake option this one has loads of good stuff in it to qualify for the title: lots of squash, olive oil, bran and pistachios, all of them packed with nutrients and vitamins.
Autumn and winter are blessed with such lovely produce as squashes. Nowadays there are so many different types in most places it’s hard to pick a favourite. But the kuri squash is my absolute favourite for making cakes.
In the past few years I’ve developed a huge taste for squash (see my squash rice here). Now I put it in rice, roast it with meat and chicken and make cakes and desserts with it. The cake I made with the pretty kuri squash and pistachios was just fabulous. I was asked to make it again by resident critics and my friends at work gave it a thumbs up too.
You don’t have to look for kuri though. Any type of squash such as butternut squash and winter squash (pictures below) will work very nicely in this recipe.
Most recipes for squash cake call for puréed squash. I only very briefly steam grated squash with a little amount of water or use mashed leftover baked squash. The grater attachment of a food processor will make grating really easy. I’ve used raw grated squash in cakes with very good results too.
If you are familiar with my recipes you’ve probably noticed that I try to make my food and cakes a bit healthier by tweaking recipes. I usually do this for cakes by reducing the amount of sugar, using more fruit and vegetables in the batter, adding bran to the flour as well as using olive oil instead of butter or vegetable oil. A while back I posted my recipe for my Saffron and Walnut Courgette (Zucchini) Cake which was made much healthier and lighter in the same way as this one.
Don’t be alarmed by the amount of spices in my squash cake recipe. I use much more in my cakes than is usually recommended in other recipes. Cinnamon makes the cake smell and taste heavenly and may also help make this a “healthier” cake option because it has been proved to considerably cut blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
I have another reason for putting so much spices in the cake too. According to traditional Persian herbal lore spices such as cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, allspice, ginger and nutmeg are “warm” in nature. Squashes and pumpkin on the other hand are considered “cold”. The perfect dish according to this ancient lore is one in which a balance is struck between “warm” and “cold” ingredients. It’s quite an interesting concept and very hard to explain in scientific terms.
The pistachios and sugar on top are quite optional. You can substitute chopped walnuts or almonds or skip both sugar and nuts and still have a delicious cake.
One last thing: This cake improves in flavour after a day or two so it’s a good idea to make it ahead and let the flavours to meld together and mature.
To make this lovely cake you will need the following ingredients: