CT gets a bit sniffy about watching endless cookery programmes, although he does cave in for the Great British Bake Off. So when he’s away I take the opportunity and catch up on the odd programme. He’s been away enough over the last couple of months for me to see the entire Simply Nigella series. Her parsnip spinach soup I simply had to try.
Having finally got around to digging up our parsnips, we needed to start using them fast – you can see by the photograph below how huge they were, but also somewhat manky. It seemed to me that parsnips would pair well with nuts as they have their own rather nutty quality, so I wanted to use one of the nut oils that I’d recently been given. I’d fancied making a parsnip cake for years and finally I got around to it. I had a trawl through my various cook books and surprisingly enough, I found quite a few recipes. I didn’t, however, find anything that seemed right to go with chocolate, so I got my thinking cap on and came up with my own parsnip cake recipe.
This is what I did:
- Spent ages cleaning parsnips and chopping out the bad bits!
- Grated 200g of clean parsnips.
- Chopped 100g milk chocolate (G&B 35%)
- Beat 150g cardamom sugar (caster) with 3 eggs until thick and pale.
- Added a pinch of salt and 125ml walnut oil and beat some more.
- Sifted in 200g flour (half wholemeal spelt, half white), 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda.
- Folded this in together with the parsnips.
- Gently stirred in the chocolate bits.
- Scraped into a 23cm round cake mould (in retrospect should have used my 22cm one, which would have given a deeper cake).
- Baked at 180C for 36 minutes.
- Spooned 60g cardamom (caster) sugar into a jug.
- Added 3 tbsp orange liqueur.
- Stirred and poured over the hot cake.
- Left in the mould to cool completely.
The cake rose well and had a very light but moist texture. I was surprised to find I couldn’t detect the parsnip at all, either by taste or by eye. I can see why this was a good way of bulking out expensive cake ingredients in the past. The cake had a lovely nutty flavour to it, but not distinctively and definitively of walnut; the parsnips no doubt played their part. The chocolate worked well as did the orange sugar topping which was delicious, though had a certain heady alcoholic quality to it. All in all, this was not bad for a first attempt.
If truth be told, I prefer my cakes to be a bit more substantial and I’m not a huge fan of using only oil in a cake. Next time, I think I’d use half butter and half oil. That way, I’d hope to get a better texture but keep the lovely nutty flavour. However, if dairy is an issue, these nut oils make for a good substitute and of course the milk chocolate can be changed to dark or, dare I suggest it, left out all together!
I am submitting this to Ren’s lovely Simple and in Season event found at Fabulicious Food.
Update 5 March 2012 – Charlotte of Go Free Foods adapted this quite significantly and came up with a pumpkin orange & cardamom cake which looks gorgeous.