Golden saffron pumpkin cake by Hayley McKee

Photography by Tara Pearce

Photography by Tara Pearce

Serves 8-10

The warm, honey-like notes of saffron lend the pumpkin-flecked batter of this cake an addictive quality. Nasturtium butter helps form the cake's base - adding to its sunset looks and grassy, garden vibe - while the egg yolks deepen the colour and give it a lovely, crumbly texture.

150g butternut pumpkin
5g nasturtium petals
230g caster sugar
170 g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of saffron threads
6 egg yolks
1 egg
300g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
icing sugar  and whipped cream, to serve

Add the pumpkin to a steamer set over a saucepan of lightly simmering water and cook until tender. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool, then mash 80 g of the pumpkin to a bowl until smooth. Reserve for later the remaining pumpkin.

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Lightly grease and line a 20 cm round cake tin with baking paper.

Rub the nasturtium petals into the sugar using your fingertips. Don’t be delicate here; the more you rub, the more the petals will infuse their flavour into the sugar.

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the sugar and petal mixture together with the butter and saffron threads for 6 minutes on high speed until creamy and voluminous. Continue to beat on low speed, adding the egg yolks one by one followed by the whole egg, then add the mashed pumpkin, flour, baking powder and baking soda. Mix together until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin, then gently push the reserved cooked pumpkin pieces into the batter so they’re evenly distributed. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool slightly in the tin for 5 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with fresh cream.

This recipe will give you a good batch of shells to reuse in your garden. Crushed coarsely they make an excellent slug and snail repellent and can add calcium to your soil, which can be a great boost to your tomato, beetroot and capsicum plants.

This recipe extracted from Sticky Fingers, Green Thumb by Hayley McKee. Published by Hardie Grant. Photography by Tara Pearce.