Vegetable cakes are nothing new. They’ve been popular for a very long time now. But have you ever tried a Jerusalem artichoke cake? It’s chewy, crunchy, moist and abundant with a very pleasing nuttiness. A sharp lemony cream cheese icing sets it off beautifully.
A friend recently passed on a recipe for me to chocolatify. He reckoned that not only was this cake unusual, but it was also possibly the best cake he’d ever made. I was intrigued by the inclusion of Jerusalem artichokes and immediately took up the challenge.
At this time of year we have no problem getting hold of this particular root vegetable as it grows, almost of its own volition, down on our plot. I adore the taste of artichokes, but also find them a real pain to clean. So I don’t use them as often as I probably should. The cake includes roasted hazelnuts and I could see how well these would work with artichokes which have nutty notes of their own.
Jerusalem Artichoke Cake and Lemon Cream Cheese Icing
Initially, I’d planned to follow the recipe as written. Well apart from adding chocolate and using my usual half wholemeal, half white flour mix of course. But things went a little awry. I didn’t have any raisins for a start, so had to substitute sultanas.
But mostly, I didn’t read the recipe carefully enough and ended up using a different method entirely. I also didn’t think I needed to peel the artichokes, although I scrubbed them well and cut out the bad bits. I was right, they don’t need peeling.
If I didn’t know better, I wouldn’t have known there were Jerusalem artichokes in the cake. But wow, I’m sure they added to the overall nuttiness. This cake was truly delicious: chewy, crunchy, moist and abundant.
The Alunga buttons left chocolatey hotspots throughout the cake which contributed nicely to the overall richness of taste. The sharp lemony cream cheese icing offset the sugar, although, thankfully, it wasn’t too sweet at all. It was actually quite similar to a carrot cake, only, dare I say it, much nicer.
How can I put this politely? I didn’t notice any, er, unfortunate consequences to eating the Jerusalem artichokes in this way, so it got a double thumbs up from us.
Cacao Barry Chocolate Drops
Some time before Christmas, I was sent three lovely bags of Cacao Barry chocolate drops. This is a new range of high quality couverture chocolate they’ve introduced. It uses a new fermentation method which purportedly gives a more intense taste.
The Q-Fermentation TM method uses natural ferments found in the plants and soil of the plantation which is said to give a purer bean with a fuller flavour. I’m looking forward to trying the chocolate out in a few sophisticated recipes where the flavour can shine through.
However, I decided as there were so many lovely ingredients in this cake it would be good to use a special chocolate too. From previous experience, I’ve found that milk chocolate chips tend to work better in this type of cake as a very dark chocolate can sometimes take over rather than enhancing.
The 41% Alunga milk chocolate seemed ideal. With its strong caramel notes and high cocoa content, I found it hard to stop dipping into the bag as I went along. I’m looking forward to trying the Inaya 65% and Ocoa 70% dark chocolates in due course.
Other Sweet Vegetable Bakes You Might Like
- Almond squash cake
- Beetroot chocolate cake
- Carrot cake flapjacks
- Chocolate courgette squares
- Chocolate pecan pumpkin cake
- Golden beetroot cake
- Kale apple cake
- Nettle lemon & white chocolate cupcakes
- Parsnip & walnut chocolate chip cake
- Spinach cake with lemon
For more recipes and ideas on how to use vegetables in sweet bakes, head over to my Sweet Vegetable Bakes board on Pinterest.
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Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make this Jerusalem artichoke cake, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
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Jerusalem Artichoke Cake – The Recipe
Jerusalem Artichoke Cake
- 1 tbsp brandy
- 120 g sultanas
- 80 g hazelnuts
- 200 g Jerusalem artichokes - scrubbed & trimmed
- 150 g unsalted butter
- 150 g light muscovado sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 200 g flour - half wholemeal, half plain
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- large pinch of sea or rock salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- good grating of nutmeg - about ½ tsp
- 50 g milk chocolate drops - 41% cocoa
Cream Cheese Icing
- 180 g cream cheese
- 40 g light muscovado sugar
- 1 organic lemon
- dark chocolate shavings (optional)
- Soak the sultanas in the brandy in covered bowl for at least one hour. But soak for longer if you can - overnight is ideal.
- Toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan for a few minutes until the nuts brown a little and the skins loosen. Leave to cool, then rub the nuts in a piece of kitchen towel to remove the skins. Roughly chop the clean hazelnuts.
- Grate the Jerusalem artichokes. A food processor is probably best for this.
- Cream the butter with the sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Beat in the brandied sultanas.
- Beat in the eggs, one by one, alternating with a little of the flour.
- Sieve in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and spices.
- Stir this in lightly together with the nuts and chocolate.
- Fold in the artichokes.
- Scrape the mixture into a deep 20 cm (8") lined cake tin and bake for about 50 minutes at 180℃ (350℉, Gas 4) until well risen, brown and an inserted skewer came out almost clean.
- Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Cream Cheese Icing
- Beat the cream cheese and sugar together.
- Grate in the lemon zest and squeeze in nearly half of the juice.
- Beat it all together then slather over the top of the cooled cake.
- Shave some dark chocolate over the top to decorate, if liked.
This Jerusalem artichoke cake is my offering for this month’s We Should Cocoa. Linzi over at Lancashire Food is kindly hosting and has asked us to combine an ingredient we have never used with chocolate before. I was initially going to send over the paprika and cocoa roasted cauliflower that I made earlier in the month. But in the end I decided this was a more unusual and worthy entry. I can honestly say, that I have never until now, eaten Jerusalem artichokes and chocolate together.
I’m also using this vegetable cake as my entry to Family Foodies over at Bangers & Mash. Hidden Goodies is the theme this month. These artichokes are very well hidden and I suspect few would ever guess what the cake contained. This challenge is co-hosted by Lou at Eat Your Veg.
Not only is this Jerusalem artichoke cake made from scratch, but some of it is grown from scratch too. So I’m sending it off to Javelin Warrior for his Made with Love Mondays.