Monday, 14 May 2012

Baking: butternut squash poppy lemon cranberry loaf

Show me a cake recipe that uses grated/pureed veg or fruit and I'm sold. I'm not deluded enough to convince myself that a slice of banana bread, carrot cake or zucchini bread would count as 1 portion of my 5 a day (how awesome would that be!) but I can't help loving any cake that keeps fresh for a few days without drying out. When I came across a Fresh from the Oven challenge I knew I had to take part. This month's challenge calls for a fruit breakfast bread and is hosted by La Cuisine de Sarah. While perusing various recipes I came across this pumpkin loaf and I knew the search was over. First of all, it uses butternut squash and we know how I feel about this beautiful vegetable. Secondly - poppy seeds and lemon! Exciting. And finally - it's easy to make and modify. After deciding that adding a few handfuls of dried cranberries and orange fruit flakes (hey, who said they only belong in kid's lunchboxes?) can only add to the flavour and make the bread more moreish I rolled up my sleeves and started baking.

To make this delicious bread you'll need:

225 g pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cubed
3 tbsps full fat milk
175 g self raising flour
1 large egg
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
120 g caster sugar (the original recipe calls for 150 g but I decided to reduce it slightly as the cranberries are quite sweet)
1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
50 g unsalted butter, cubed
2 tbsps poppy seeds
zest of 1 lemon
2 handfuls of dried cranberries
1 small packet of orange fruit flakes (I used these)

Please ignore the fact that the egg is missing from the line up of ingredients pictured above. I have no excuses. I forgot (but I added it to the cake mix!)

Start by preheating the oven to 180 C/160 C fan. Grease a loaf tin and line with a strip of baking parchment.

Boil cubed butternut squash/pumpkin until soft (this will take about 10-15 minutes), then drain and leave to cool.

When it's cooled down puree it in a food processor or use a hand blender. Transfer the pulp into a mixing bowl, add the egg and milk and mix.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and spices into a food processor, add cubed butter and blitz until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add it to the puree and gently stir with a spatula. Add poppy seeds, lemon zest, fruit flakes and cranberries and fold them in.

Spoon the batter into the tin and bake for 45 minutes until golden and risen. Cool on a wire rack and eat!

As I expected, the loaf is really moist, with hints of tartness from cranberries and lemon zest; poppy seeds are a nice touch and add a bit of texture. I imagine this bread will stay fresh for a few days (I say 'imagine' because mine barely lasted a day - me and my husband destroyed most of it as soon as it was cool enough to eat and I ended up baking another one as I promised to bring it to the office for my workmates to taste! It's delicious and easy to make - I'm already thinking of using the same mix to make muffins :)


  1. Everything about this loaf appeals to me. I can't get poppyseeds here but think I'll have to bring back some from the UK just to make this.

    1. Hi Sally, thanks for your comment! Poppy seeds can probably be skipped in this recipe, but they add a nice crunch! Whereabouts do you live - I'm intrigued about which country doesn't have poppy seeds :)


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