For the cake mix

  • Self-raising flour, 180 g
  • Ground almond, 50 g (optional, you can substitute with extra flour)
  • Mild oil (rice bran, odourless coconut, rapeseed...), 100 ml
  • Milk (oat, almond, coconut…), 100 ml
  • Unrefined brown sugar (demerara type), 140 g
  • Chia seeds, 2 tbsp (otherwise, ground flaxseed, the tip of a teaspoon)


  • Pumpkin*, a couple of slices
  • Garam masala, 1 tsp
  • Walnuts, 4-5 
  • Vanilla essence, 1 tsp


1) Peel the pumpkin slices, dice it and roast at 180 °C until soft; it should take around 30 minutes. If lazy, grated raw squash would work as well!

2) Pour the milk in a glass or small bowl and add the chia seeds. Let it stand while you move to the next step, mixing every now and then with a spoon – the chia seeds tend to clump. If you use ground flaxseed, you can skip this step and simply add it with the rest of the ingredients.

3) In a bowl, mix the oil, sugar, flour and ground almond. It’ll be quite a thick mixture.

4) Once the chia seeds have swollen a little - it usually happens in 5-10 minutes - add the mixture of milk and chia to the bowl and mix well until smooth. Add also the roast squash, vanilla and garam masala. 

5) Line a baking tin and pour the mixture in.

6) Shell the walnuts, scatter them on and bake at 180 °C until golden - a knife should come out clean when the cake is ready. In a 15 cm diameter tin, it takes around 40 minutes. Every oven is different, so trust your judgment!


The cake mix can be used with any other flavouring - chocolate, fruit, nuts… The orchard is the limit!

*Cake tested at Hubbub, using a pumpkin rescued from the field during a glean.

Recipe by Ilaria Mezzogori, from The Elephant's Secret Kitchen