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Almond and butternut squash Halloween cake

It’s almost Halloween and once again if you are out and about with friends it is nice to have something to offer them.

The intriguing thing about this recipe is it contains no added fat. The only fat the recipe contains comes from ground almonds. Yet the cake is very moist because it contains finely grated butternut squash and eggs. It is also gluten free.

This cake can be made in a large cake tin, 23 cm across, or ten mini muffin tins. If you need to make the cake ahead of time it can be frozen without its icing. Just allow three to four hours to defrost and then decorate it up for the occasion.

Serves 10


3 free range eggs

180g caster sugar

200g peeled and grated butternut squash

1 tsp almond essence

100g gluten free flour

200g ground almonds

2 tsp mixed spice

2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

For the icing

400g icing sugar

4 large tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For the mini pumpkin decoration

100g readymade marzipan

orange food colouring gel

cocktail sticks (to make the marks on the pumpkin)

stalks for the pumpkin i.e. chocolate matchsticks


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/ gas mark 4. If you are using a large 23cm diameter cake tin line it with baking parchment. If you are making small cakes simply brush the sides of the muffin tins with a little oil.

Whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and fluffy. This will take about 5 minutes. Add the grated butternut squash and the almond essence and stir well. Add the flour, ground nuts, baking powder and salt and mix the ingredients well. Pour the mixture into the prepared tins and place in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes or 15 - 20 minutes for the smaller cakes. Insert a skewer to see if the cake is cooked. The skewer should come out of the centre of the cake clean.

Once cooked remove the cake from the oven, allow to stand for five minutes and run a knife around the edge of the cake tin. The cake(s) should then be easy to turn out from the tin.

To make lemon icing

Mix the lemon juice and most of the icing sugar together to form icing the consistency of a thick batter. It should coat the back of a spoon. If mixture is too thin add more sugar until desired consistency is reached.

To make mini marzipan pumpkins

Squeeze a few drops of the orange food colouring gel onto the marzipan and mix well. When you have the colour you like, roll the marzipan into a long cylinder about 2cm in diameter. Cut lengths of marzipan 2cm long and then roll each piece into a ball. Using a cocktail stick, mark the divisions of the pumpkin and then insert a stalk.