Want To Up Your Carrot Cake Game? Here's How...
I love vegetable cakes. Mainly because I love finding new and versatile ingredients to add to my bakes. Shocking people with what can be created and having their perceptions changed. Divisions have been created between sweet and savoury ingredients but what happens when we throw the rule book out the window. When done well, perceived savoury ingredients can be mixed into a sweet recipe to make something amazing. I have used courgette in chocolate cake to improve texture, sweet potato in brownies, beetroot in red velvet cake and of course, classic carrot. Carrot cake is one of the favourite types of cake so I don't see why we can't expand our vegetable cake collection.
To ease you into this idea, I am sharing a honey parsnip cake recipe. Parsnips are closely related to carrots and are a sweet root vegetable. So not only is this recipe healthier than a traditional cake but it really holds its own against one of the nation's favourites: carrot cake.
Good quality honey is a great source of antioxidants and, although, honey is higher in calories than regular sugar it is sweeter which means less is needed in comparison to sugar. Certain types of honey have also shown antibacterial properties.
Parsnips are low in calories and high in fibre which makes it an ideal ingredient to aid weight loss. They are also a great source vitamin c, which helps with immune function, and vitamin K, which helps your body heal.
Honey Parsnip Cake
For the Cake
2 tbsp Runny honey
220g Grated parsnip
230g Caster sugar
155ml Sunflower oil
240g Self-raising flour
1tsp Baking powder
1 tbsp Vanilla essence
The scary Bundt tin has reared its head (a little dramatic?). If you have watched any baking shows you may have seen people struggling with this type of tin. Often wishing, with fingers crossed, that the cake will come out of the tin in one piece. I'm not going to say that Bundt tin difficulties aren't a possibility but with my method, you shouldn't have any problems.
The reason Bundt tins can be tricky is because they have lots of ridges that makes it difficult to grease properly and there's no using of baking parchment without losing the lovely shape of the tin. This difficulty often ends up with the top of your cake left in the tin. However, I like to use the butter and flour method which always works for me.
Lining the Tin
Melt around 20g of butter. Brush this butter into every nook and cranny of the tin (a pastry brush is really helpful here). Add around 2 tbsp of plain flour to the tin and move the tin around so that a light layer of flour sticks to the butter. Move the flour around while only holding the outside of the tin, you don't want to touch the flour because it can mix with the butter which isn't what you want. Once the whole inside is covered in a light layer of flour, tip the tin upside-down to remove any excess flour.
This method also allows you to easily see which parts of the tin aren't greased properly because there will be gaps without flour. If this happens, just dab a little bit of melted butter onto the area and then some flour.
Roasting the Parsnip
Unlike carrots, parsnips aren't nice when they are raw so roasting the parsnip beforehand is an important step. Grating the parsnip straight into the cake will leave it with a vegetable flavour and we don't want that. If you have leftover roasted parsnip, from a roast dinner or such, (that wasn't roasted with herbs etc.) then you can use that for this cake as well. Just pulse them in a blender until you get a course, grated, texture but make sure you don't blend it into a paste.
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan
Mix the honey and grated parsnip together and then spread it flat over a baking tray. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking tray.
Making the Cake
Beat the sugar and eggs together on high speed until they have doubled in size (around 2 minutes with an electric mixer). Add the oil and beat again on high speed until the volume returns (around 1 minute).
Fold in the flour, baking powder, vanilla and roasted parsnip until fully combined and then pour into the prepared Bundt tin.
Baking the Cake
Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes at 190C/170C fan until a skewer comes out mostly clean, with only a few crumbs, when it is poked. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.
Decorating the Cake
For the icing
100g Icing sugar
1 tbsp Water
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
Remove the cake from the tin and set aside while you make the icing. Mix the icing sugar, water and vanilla together until smooth. Drizzle the icing over the top of the cooled cake and then decorate with dried or candied fruit and edible leaves to give it a pop of colour. Enjoy!