If you have a mum anything like mine, you’ll be wanting to make her a cake this Sunday. I know most of us think our Mum is the best Mum going, but mine is as good as they come. I’m sure yours is lovely and all, it’s just that mine is The Best. Sorry, but facts are facts.

So, I’m baking cake this Mother’s Day. To celebrate her continuing to top the Mum charts and to show her how much I love her (yes, sorry, this one will get a bit soppy). Because there really is no better way to show someone your love than to cook for them is there? The time spent, the skills expended, the care taken to make it just so – something about the level of consideration required is touching in a way that a card in the post just isn’t.

In my case, a cake is also symbolic because Mum is a terrific baker. Not the fashionable sourdough-and-cronuts sort, but a proper suet-pastry-and-scones sort. Nothing flashy, but her technical knowledge is rock solid. She won the coveted Quiche Cup in the village show one year; though it turned out to be something of a double-edged sword because, whilst we enjoyed her glory (and the quiche), others narrowed their eyes and cultivated their rivalry. No, it’s never been the same since that spinach and pine nut quiche. But that’s the price you pay for good pastry, I suppose.

Anyway, the cake is a symbol of all she has taught me about baking. I have her to thank for my pernickety baking ways; my anxiety over suitably chilling ingredients, my drug-dealer precise scales, not to mention my encyclopaedic collection of biscuit cutters and tart tins (no, a 19cm tin will not do when the recipe calls for 22cm). Because Mum has taught me that you can’t just busk it with baking. My Dad is the busking sort of cook (see my Father’s Day blog). But with Mum, you stick to the rules – a good lesson to learn in the kitchen and a much needed tempering to my Father’s wing-it attitude.

squash cake mother's day

So, cake. And not just a homemade cake. A home grown one too. This cake, which is a little odd, I don’t mind admitting, is made with home grown squash, thyme and sage and has a good dollop of feta and honey in the frosting. Trust me on this one. It’s sweet, moist and puddingy but not the sort of cake to set your teeth on edge. Which is, in my option the perfect sort of cake. And just the ticket for a perfect sort of Mum.

Squash, sage & thyme cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Serves: 8-10

Squash, sage & thyme cake

A sweet and puddingy cake - like a carrot cake that took a different path in life. The ingredients sound a bit unusual, but it's both easy to make a totally delicious.

  • 300g self raising flour
  • 250g light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g butter
  • 500g squash (butternut is fine) peeled, de-seeded and grated
  • 10 sage leaves,chopped
  • 200g full fat cream cheese
  • 200ml double cream
  • 75g feta
  • 75g honey
  • 3 tsp thyme leaves
  1. Line two 20cm cake tins and preheat the oven to 185C.
  2. Mix the flour, sugar, bicarb' and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat then add to the dry mix together with the eggs, squash and chopped sage. Mix well. Pour into the cake tins and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.
  4. For the frosting, use a spatula to mix the cream cheese, double cream, honey, feta and 2/3 of the thyme until it forms soft billowy peaks. You will need to use the spatula to break up the feta so it distributes evenly.
  5. Once cooked, remove the cakes from the tins and leave to cool. Once completely cool, spread a third of the cream cheese on one cake, pop the other cake on top then cover the whole thing liberally and messily with the rest of the cheese frosting. Sprinkle with the remaining thyme leaves and serve.
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