Butternut Squash & Orange Cake with Caramelised Choux Pastry Balls – Happy Birthday Grandma!


Have you noticed where you buy your cut flowers from? I noticed for a while back in the UK the small bunches of fair trade flowers were nearly always from Kenya.  The three clusters this week have all been by lake Naivasha. From miles away you can see huge expanses of poly tunnels, the flower trade is certainly big in Kenya.  Unfortunalely for the workers and the project, a few years a go in todays cluster, the new owner of the neighbouring flower farm sacked all their staff over the age of 60. They all lived in the farm as housing was provided as part of their contract.  They were forced to move away to find other work which meant that after driving 4 hours there and back the team were only able to find 5 study patients out of 50, disappointing but at least the team saw many other non-study locals and were able to enjoy and celebrate Mum’s birthday ( see video below)


She walked into the lounge to find flour, eggs and spoons all over the new sofa, when she asked what I was doing, I replied ‘making a cake’. I was two at the time, and Mum loves telling the story of how I made so much mess but how she didn’t shout at me when she realised what I was doing!  Well it looks like my ability to create mess has been passed on to the next generation and as Mum nurtured my mess making/cooking we hope to do the same for Lucas. We are just thankful for the tiled floor in our flat!

Dear “Gan-ma”, Mum, Mother-in-law – Thank you x

This is a birthday gift (video) to you from us and the eye team – click to play

I don’t know if you noticed in the video but there are two duplo people who ‘look’ like Grandma and Grandad helping blow the candles out, Lucas loves them. They drive the bus, rescue the sheep from the farm road, go in his bath, help draw chalk tractors on the roof, they are very good a putting their arms over their heads and diving into buckets of water, you name it Grandma and Grandad can do anything!


Butternut squash orange cakes


3 free range eggs

240g castor sugar

300g finely grated butternut squash

Grated zest and juice of 1 half oranges

75g sweet potato flour

75g rice or plain flour

75g ground ground nuts

75g ground almonds

2tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt


75g unsalted butter

300g icing sugar

Finely grated zest and juice of one orange

Tbsp yogurt


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C, line two 15cm cake tins
  2. Whisk eggs and sugar for 5 minutes until pale and fluffy and quadrupled in volume.  Add grated butternut squash and orange zest and whisk again.  Mix in four, ground nuts, baking powder and salt along with the orange juice.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the two cake tins, gently flatten with back of a spoon and place in oven for 30mins until slightly browned and knife is clean when poked in.  Cool in the tin.
  4. To make the icing cream the butter with 100g of the icing sugar then gradually add the remaining ingredients and beat.
  5. Ice when the cupcakes are cool.

Caramelised choux pastry puffs

Choux pastry


100g plain flour

¼ teaspoon salt

75g unsalted butter

3 free-range eggs at room temperature.

  1. Sieve the flour into a bowl.  Put the salt, butter and salt into a pan heat gently until the butter has melted then quickly bring to the boil and tip the flour in all at once.
  2. Remove from the heat and beat strongly with a wooden spoon until it becomes a smooth heavy dough.  Put the pan back on the heat and beat for another two minutes to slightly cook the dough.
  3. Let the dough cool then gradually beat in the eggs again with a wooden spoon.  Add enough egg that the mixture just falls from a spoon.
  4. Place dough in a piping bag and pipe small blobs about 1.5cm wide and 1cm tall.
  5. Place in the oven for 10-12 minutes at 200°C, then open the door to remove the steam and bake for a further 5 minutes until crisp and golden.  Remove from the oven make a small hole in each one to remove the steam then bake for a further 3-4 minutes.



125g castor sugar

50g water


  1. Heat until the caramel is just a shade lighter than a desired colour, remove and place pan in cool water.
  2. Using tongs dip each choux ball into the caramel and place on non-stick mat to dry.
  3. When all is cool assemble the cake.