How to turn a marrow glut into a glorious cake – recipe

·3 min read

“Do you have any ideas for cooking marrows?” Hetty Ninnis, head grower and sustainable landscapes manager at Newquay Orchard in Cornwall, asked me recently. “We missed a day’s picking, and have ended up with 50 kilos of the things.” Inspired, I came up with this cake.

Marrow, orange and olive oil cake with cashew cream

Newquay Community Orchard has set up a new Community Supported Agriculture Scheme (CSA) at Fentenfenna Farm just outside town. It works with The Canteen at the Orchard, supplying vegetables in exchange for meals for its volunteers. This symbiotic relationship between farm and restaurant creates a closed loop system that reduces waste by saving surplus produce, such as Hetty’s wheelbarrows full of marrows. A large surplus of any ingredient needs lots of ideas to save it, and marrows are delicious fried, steamed or barbecued, such as in my recipe from a few years ago for burnt marrow with burnt butter. They also make a delicious, moist and flavourful cake.

If you’d like to get ahead, make the cashew cream icing the day before. It’s not essential to soak the cashews before blending them, but it will give them a more satisfying, creamier texture.

I use a heritage wholegrain flour such as emmer wheat, einkorn or spelt flour, for flavour, nutrition and planetary health, but regular wholewheat flour will work well, too.

For the cashew cream icing
250g Fairtrade cashew nuts
1 tbsp orange blossom water
, or orange juice
¼ tsp sea salt
4 tbsp unrefined sugar

For the cake
130ml extra-virgin olive oil
180g unrefined sugar
Zest and juice of ½ orange
, plus extra zest to garnish
2 tsp psyllium husks
350g wholewheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp sea salt
100g ground almonds
350g marrow
, grated with the skin on, plus extra skin to garnish
300ml oat, almond or soya drink
2 tsp cider vinegar

Make the cashew cream first. Soak the nuts in plenty of cold water for four to eight hours, then drain and blitz in a high-speed blender with the orange blossom water, salt and sugar, until a very thick, double-cream consistency; if need be, add a little extra water (or orange juice) to thin or extra cashews to thicken it. Store in the fridge.

Now for the cake. In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil, unrefined sugar and the zest from half an orange. In a second, smaller bowl, mix the psyllium husks with the juice of the half-orange, leave for 30 seconds to coagulate, then whisk into the oil mix until emulsified.

Add the flour, baking powder, bicarb, ground ginger, salt, ground almonds, marrow, oat drink and cider vinegar, then mix until well combined. Transfer to a greased and lined 20cm cake tin and bake in a 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6 oven for 45 minutes, or until cooked through.

Remove and leave to cool fully in the tin, then turn out and use a palette knife to ice the cake with the cashew cream . Sprinkle a fine grating of both orange zest and marrow skin over the top, slice and serve.