Parsnip and apple cake

Parsnip and apple cake

With an urge to bake, a little research on vegetable cakes was necessary. Before sugar was widely available, vegetables were used to sweeten dishes such as cakes and jams. Carrot cake has stood the test of time but parsnips add similar flavour and sweetness and as I've discovered, they're a lot more fragrant. With a basic sponge recipe, I think you could experiment with this one and swap the parsnip for courgettes or beetroot, maybe even throw in a handful of raisins.

Ingredients:

  • 175g cooking apples (weight after peeling and coring), chopped into 1cm cubes or you can grate. And an extra apple for decoration.
  • 200g grated parsnip
  • 110g unsalted butter
  • 275g plain flour
  • 1 & 1/2 tblsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 ground all spice
  • 1/2 whole nutmeg, grated
  • 100g chopped mix nuts (or go for just one type if preferred)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 85g golden caster sugar
  • 6 fl oz milk

Method:

1. Line a cake tin with baking paper (I used a round 23cm spring form tin) and pre-heat the oven to 190 °C

2. Melt butter on a low heat and put to one side. Weigh/measure out the flour, baking powder, salt and spices and sieve them all into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs sugar and milk and slowly pour in the butter. Make sure the butter has cooled down otherwise you'll end up with scrambled eggs!

3. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and fold in but don't be tempted to mix it too much, then add your parsnips, apples, nuts (this is where you could add the raisins) and fold in. Pour mixture into tin and level off.

4. Thinly slice an apple and overlap each slice on top of the cake and pop in the oven for about an hour. At around 30-40 mins, the apple on top will start to brown so you may want to loosely lay a little tin foil over the top to stop it from burning. After an hour, run a knife or metal skewer through the centre, if it comes out clean, it's ready.

5. I'd recommend leaving it to cool in the tin for at least 20 minutes before removing. Gives you plenty of time to put the kettle on!

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