This loaf makes a perfect breakfast or tea afternoon’s party dessert. The combination of cinnamon, ginger and cardamom with butternut squash is really appealing, and smells wonderful. My secret ingredient is orange. Orange peel, orange juice, all creates one beautiful symphony, topped up with a lovely buttercream. So easy and tasty!
Butternut Squash Chocolate Loaf is suitable for kids 3 plus, because of the spices, buttermilk and chocolate presence. My little one couldn’t be faster to lick the spoons, it is a very nice dough to work with, similarly to cupcakes or brownies. Therefore, do not hesitate to involve your kids and have fun by creating something so magical. Yummy!
Total Time: 2 hours
175g of ripe butternut squash (the round part preferably), washed, peeled, cooked in cubes
150g of good quality dark chocolate (I used 70%)
300g of plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon of baking powder, sifted
2 tablespoons of good quality cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon of orange zest
1 teaspoon of cinnamon, sifted
A pinch of ground ginger, nutmeg and cardamom
125g of butter, soft in cubes
250g of raw sugar
3 whole eggs
100ml of buttermilk
The Orange Buttercream:
60g of butter, soft
Juice from ½ orange
1 teaspoon of good quality vanilla extract
160g of icing sugar, sifted
Orange zest and cocoa powder to sprinkle with
First, cook the butternut squash in hot boiling water in a small deep pan on medium heat until soft, for about 10-15 minutes. Then, take it all out and mold into a hand blender to cool down.
Second, melt the chocolate in a steam bath until you get a beautiful shiny texture. Take off the heat and let it cool down in a cold bath. Set aside.
Third, preheat the oven to 160 degrees.
Meanwhile, prepare the dough.
In a medium mixing bowl place flour with baking powder, cocoa powder, orange zest, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cardamom. Stir.
In a large mixing bowl place softened butter and sugar. Start whisking until incorporated well.
Next, whisk in the eggs, one at a time. First on lower speed until running. Then, increase the speed to the highest and continue until it gets into a foamy and fluffy texture. Continue until all the eggs are in.
Pour the buttermilk into the chilled squash and blend until it is smooth. Taste.
Mold the squash into the chocolate and mix it all with a spatula. Set aside.
Mix all in the bowl into a buttery-egg mixture. Half of the flour mix, half of the chocolate-squash mix and give it a good stir with a spatula. Repeat.
Once all is in, give it a last good stir to avoid lumps.
Mold into a lightly greased large loaf tin (10x28cm) and beat against the table to release the air and spread it evenly.
Bake it in the oven for about 1 hour until a wooden skewer comes clean from the middle.
Take it out, ease the edges with a knife and let it cool down.
The Orange Buttercream
In a small mixing bowl place butter, orange juice, vanilla extract and icing sugar.
Mix until it is very smooth, do not over beat it. In case it splits, add few more icing sugar and mix it fast with a metal spoon. No worries.
My culinary tip is to add some more melted chocolate into the frosting. This way you get a beautiful double chocolate orange loaf.
Layer The Loaf with the chilled Buttercream and be generous. Sprinkle with cocoa powder and orange zest. Slice into heaven and enjoy with your beloved.
Makes a large loaf of 10x25cm.