Chocolate Squash Cake (or Chocolate Pumpkin Cake)


For reasons I cannot fathom, the North Americans and the British call butternut pumpkin ‘squash’. In fact, all pumpkin we have in Australia is considered ‘winter squash’ by North Americans and only the big orange ‘Halloween’ pumpkins are ‘proper’ pumpkin. No doubt we are considered the strange ones for labelling so many ‘squash’ as pumpkin types! Regardless, this is all to say I initially thought I was making a chocolate zucchini cake (also sometimes called a squash) and was most surprised to find grated pumpkin in this chocolate cake.
As lovely and moist as the cake is, thanks to the addition of the grated pumpkin, it was really the prunes which gave it a velvety depth of flavour. All in all, a most unusual cake (once again from Marian Keyes’ Saved By Cake) which will increase you fruit, vegetable and fibre intake in one delicious slice!


  • 100g butternut squash (or pumpkin, depending on where you live!)
  • 225g dark chocolate
  • 175g butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 175g dark muscovado sugar
  • 100g light muscovado sugar (I used 275g brown sugar in place of the two different muscovado sugars)
  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 150g dried figs (or prunes), finely chopped

Ganache Icing

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 100ml double cream
  • Coloured sprinkles (‘Hundreds & Thousands’) to decorate

Preheat the oven to 180° and grease and line a slice tray (23 x 30cm). Grate the pumpkin and set aside.
Melt the chocolate and butter together in the microwave, checking after each 20 second burst.
In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and sugars, then pour in the melted butter and sugar.

You can see here, I have whipped the egg whites separately and beaten the yolks with the sugars. This was in order to crate some height and lightness in the cake as Marian Keyes had warned it could be quite dense and flat.
If you wish to follow my method, beat together the egg yolks and sugars and mix in with the melted chocolate. Then fold in to this mix the beaten egg whites.
To this batter, add 275ml cold water and stir well.

To this mix, sift in the flour and baking powder and combine.Finally, stir in the grated pumpkin and chopped prunes and pour into the prepared baking tray.

Bake for approximately 50 minutes , checking at 40 minutes with a skewer.

While the cake cools in the tin, make the ganache by warming the cream over the stove and melting the chocolate in the warm cream until it is smooth. Leave to stand a little, then pour over the cake still in the tin. Sprinkle with the hundreds & thousands (or any other toppings you may wish) and leave to sit for a while.

You won’t be able to remove the cake as a whole, but rather slice in the tin and remove piece by piece. I think it was worthwhile separating the  egg whites to create that extra height; it made the cake extra fluffy. If you’d like a chocolate cake with added health benefits and a beautiful flavour, this is the cake for you.

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