Lemon & Parsnip Cake

This post is part two of the recipes we learned from the Blogger’s event I held in Bristol with baker and chef Marianne (@mariannebakes). The basic recipe is easy but makes delightful little individual cakes, perfect for dessert at a dinner party! For a more complex and showy recipe, add the glacé icing and candied parsnips.

The recipe is gluten free, dairy free and can be made vegan by using an egg substitute. It also contains no refined sugars. But most importantly, it just tastes amazing!

unspecified-15

Marianne piping cake mixture into the cannelé moulds (ft. chocolate beetroot cake)

Ingredients (Makes 12 mini bundt cakes (made in silicone cannelé moulds) or 8 cupcakes):

Cake:

  • 100g eggs (2 medium)
  • 60g Total Sweet Xylitol
  • 60g honey
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 35g lemon juice
  • 80g sunflower (or other flavourless) oil
  • 150g grated parsnip (from approximately 1 large parsnip)
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 50g brown rice flour
  • ½ tsp ground psyllium husk (available in health food shops)
  • 1½ tsp baking powder

Lemon syrup:

  • 60g lemon juice (from approx 1 lemon)
  • 60g xylitol (or honey)
  • 30g water

Lemon glacé icing:

  • 150g sieved unrefined (golden) icing sugar
  • 40g lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • dried calendula petals or candied parsnip to finish

Candied Parsnip:

  • 1 small parsnip
  • 100g xylitol or regular white cane sugar
  • 50g water
  • small squeeze of lemon juice

 Method:

Cake:

  1. Wash (but don’t peel) the parsnip and grate it using the finer cheese-grating part of a box grater. Avoid the inner woody part of the vegetable and grate around the outside.
  1. Once grated, zest the lemons on top, weigh out the lemon juice and mix this all into the grated parsnip to prevent discolouration. Set aside.
  1. Crack the eggs and check the weight is approximately 100g (you can use any size eggs as long as you weigh the cracked quantity). Add the Total Sweet Xylitol and whisk on medium-high speed using an electric hand-held mixer or stand mixer for 5 minutes, or until paler and doubled in volume.
  1. Keep whisking the eggs on high speed and gradually pour in the oil a little at a time. Once incorporated, add the honey and whisk in.
  1. Fold through the grated parsnip using a silicone spatula until well incorporated. Sift together the rice flour, ground almonds, psyllium and baking powder, then fold this mixture through the cake batter.
  1. Allow the mix to stand for ten minutes while you pre-heat the oven to 140°C (fan setting) or 160°C (conventional).
  1. Grease the moulds with a little flavourless oil (eg sunflower oil) or coconut oil and place them onto a metal baking tray. Scrape the rested batter gently into a piping bag or jug, snip the tip of the bag with a pair of clean scissors and fill the moulds to just below the top. Let the mix sit and rest in the moulds for another 5 minutes before baking.
  1. Bake in the preheated oven for around 25 minutes, or until browned and the tops spring back when gently pressed, but the sponge still feels soft to the touch.
  1. Keep the cakes in the silicone moulds and allow to cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. De-mould the cakes and either brush with the lemon syrup or let cool and ice with the lemon glaze. They will keep for a good 3 days in the fridge, in a covered container.

Lemon syrup:

  1. Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until it just comes to the boil.
  1. Brush over the cakes with a pastry brush while they are still warm. The syrup can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 weeks, so you can re-use any leftovers; just make sure you strain out any cake crumbs!

Baking Tip: For extra moisture, you can re-use the moulds to soak the cakes. Once de-moulded, let the cakes cool slightly on a wire rack, then fill 1 tsp syrup into the bottom of each mould. Replace the cakes inside the moulds and then brush the remaining syrup on top. Let sit 5 minutes before de-moulding.

Glacé icing:

  1. Sift the icing sugar into a small bowl and make a well in the centre.
  1. Pour in half the lemon juice and stir from the centre using a balloon whisk. Gradually add more lemon juice until you achieve a pouring consistency the texture of custard.
  1. Spoon just 1 small teaspoon on top of each cake and pull the edges out to achieve drips down the sides. Sprinkle dried calendula petals on top before the icing sets, or wait for it to set before topping with the candied parsnip.

Baking Tip: If you prefer not to use cane sugar in this recipe you can omit the icing and just top the cakes with the decorations directly.

Candied parsnips:

  1. Dissolve the xylitol/sugar with the water and squeeze of lemon in a small saucepan.
  1. Wash the parsnip, but don’t peel it. For candied strips, use a vegetable peeler to pare off thin strips from the parsnip, peeling both sides of the vegetable until you have removed as much as you can. For candied flowers, use a sharp knife to cut very thin rounds horizontally through the parsnip.
  2. Place the strips or rounds directly into the hot syrup and cook gently, covered, for 2-3 minutes until the parsnip is just tender and translucent.
  3. Take off the heat and let steep in the syrup overnight at room temperature. Use a flower cutter to cut blossoms from the centre of the parsnip rounds. Store the candied parsnip strips/flowers in the syrup in the fridge for up to a week and drain from the syrup before topping the cakes.

Baking Tip: For pale coloured parsnip crisps use white caster sugar; the xylitol makes them brown slightly.

img_1711

Enjoy!

Chocolate Beetroot cake

This is a recipe that baker Marianne (@mariannebakes) developed for our joint blogger’s event in Bristol recently. The cake is moist, indulgent and chocolatey, without containing huge amounts of sugar or fat! In fact, it’s totally free from refined sugars, gluten and dairy, and tastes absolutely incredible.

In addition, it’s easy to make and doesn’t require huge numbers of specialist ingredients – most of the ingredients can be bought in supermarkets or replaced with those that can.

choc-beat

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 225g Beetroot, red or golden – look for good quality veg
  • 65g dark chocolate (dairy-free if required, approx 55% cocoa solids), cut into rough chunks
  • 20g honey
  • 1 tb cocoa powder
  • 150g (3 medium) eggs
  • 150g Biona Organic Rapadura Sugar**
  • large pinch sea salt
  • ½ vanilla pod, seeds scraped
  • 90g ground almonds
  • 35g buckwheat flour
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • large pinch ground psyllium husk (available in health food shops)*

Ganache:

  • 250g dark chocolate (dairy-free), roughly chopped
  • 60g honey
  • 110g water
  • small pinch sea salt
  • 1 tb coconut oil

*The psyllium husk helps to bind the ingredients together and makes gluten-free bakes less fragile. If you can’t get hold of any, just omit it, as it is not totally necessary.

**Rapadura sugar (dehydrated cane juice) is a totally unrefined form of cane sugar, with a distinctive caramel flavour. If you can’t get hold of any, try coconut sugar or light muscovado sugar

Method:

Cake:

  1. Wash the beetroot (don’t peel them!), top and tail them and cut into 2cm chunks. Place in a microwaveable bowl and add about 2 tb water. Cover with cling film and heat on full power for about 5 minutes or until just tender. Do not cook more than totally necessary, in order to preserve more nutrients.
  1. Tip the beetroot pieces and the water into a small liquidizer or blender, and puree until fine. Add the chocolate and let sit for a few minutes to let it melt through. Add the honey and cocoa powder and blend again until all well mixed.
  1. Crack the eggs and check the weight is approximately 150g (you can use any size eggs as long as you weigh the cracked quantity). Add the Rapadura sugar, pinch of salt and scraped vanilla seeds and whisk on medium-high speed using an electric hand-held mixer or stand mixer for 5 minutes, or until paler and doubled in volume.
  1. Sift together the ground almonds, buckwheat flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground psyllium. Make sure there are no lumps of bicarb.
  1. When the eggs are well whisked, use a silicone spatula to fold through the beetroot puree mixture until it is well-blended. Use a lifting motion to keep the mixing light and retain some of the air. Sprinkle the dry ingredients on top and fold again until no lumps remain.
  1. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 140°C (fan setting) or 160°C (conventional). This allows the psyllium and buckwheat to properly absorb the liquid in the cake batter.
  1. Grease the moulds with a little flavourless oil (eg sunflower oil) or coconut oil and place them onto a metal baking tray. Scrape the rested batter gently into a piping bag or jug, snip the tip of the bag with a pair of clean scissors and fill the moulds to just below the top.
  1. Bake immediately in the preheated oven for around 25-30 minutes, or until the tops spring back when gently pressed, but the sponge still feels soft to the touch.

9. Keep the cakes in the silicone moulds and allow to cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes, before chilling in the fridge or freezer until quite cold. De-mould the cakes when completely cold, as they are less breakable then. Store in the fridge until you are ready to dip in the ganache and decorate. They will keep for a good 3 days in the fridge, in a covered container.

unspecified-9

Marianne greasing moulds in preparation for the batter

Ganache:

  1. Heat the honey in a small saucepan over a medium heat until it boils and caramelises. This should only take a few minutes, so don’t leave it unattended – the colour will darken and the honey will smell caramelised when it is ready.
  1. Add the water and salt, and place the saucepan back on a low heat to dissolve the caramelised honey. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly while you melt the chocolate.
  1. Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and melt gently over a saucepan of simmering water or in the microwave on a low heat setting for a minute at a time. Stir occasionally during melting.
  1. Add a third of the chocolate to the hot water and stir gently with a balloon whisk to blend. Add the next third and stir again, then add the last bit of chocolate and blend until just incorporated. Finally, add the coconut oil and blend using a stick blender until completely smooth (about 20 seconds). If you don’t have a stick blender, just use the whisk again. Tap the bowl to release air bubbles to the top.
  1. Remove the cakes from the fridge and dip top-down into the ganache. Lift out, shake off the excess and let them set on top of a wire rack. Top with edible dried petals, such as rose petals or cornflowers. Use a knife to lift the cakes from underneath when you want to move them – this prevents fingermarks from marring your beautiful glaze!

Baking Tip: Any excess ganache can be stored covered in the fridge for up to a week and makes delicious dairy-free truffles. Just roll into balls and dust with cocoa powder.

unspecified-24

Freshly dipped cakes topped with rose petals (ft. @the_honey_jar hand modelling)

How Sweet (potato) It Is

The sweet potato is a bit of a misnomer – it is, in fact a tuber, part of the root system that contains nutrients for a plant. Therefore sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients that are essential for humans, including vitamins A, B5, B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and carotenoids (the nutrient that gives them their orange colour). Carotenoids and vitamin A are essential for good eye sight, and also contain lots of antioxidants, essential for repair of the body and the prevention of cancer. A large sweet potato contains more than 100% of your RDA of vitamin A and fewer calories than a white potato. It’s also high in vitamin C, slowing ageing and maintaining skin elasticity. What’s not to love about this miracle vegetable?

Here are some recipes to keep your sweet potato addiction interesting. Enjoy!

dsc_0019

Sweet potato fries/wedges:

  • Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees
  • Scrub one large/2 small sweet potatoes to remove dirt (no need to peel)
  • Chop into fry shapes (either thick wedges or thinner slices for fries)
  • Drizzle on olive oil, salt, chilli flakes, paprika and black pepper and mix to coat
  • Put on a baking tray and roast until golden, about 40-45 minutes.
  • Enjoy!
dsc_0014

L to R: Avocado and tahini, almond butter, egg with chilli flakes, cashew nut butter

Sweet potato toast:

  • Scrub one small to medium sized sweet potato
  • Cut into the thinnest slices possible (1/4-1/2 inch thick)
  • Place in a bowl, cover and cook in the microwave for 5 minutes
  • Remove and place into a toaster until cooked through and brown at the edges (this may take 2-3 times)
  • Top with topping of choice – both savoury and sweet work well

 

Sweet potato and chickpea curry:

  • (Peel and) chop one large sweet potato and boil until tender
  • Chop one onion and a clove of garlic
  • Fry in some oil, and mix in 1tsp turmeric, 1tbsp garam masala, a pinch of chilli flakes and 1tbsp ground coriander
  • Drain one 400g tin of chickpeas and add to the pan
  • Add 100-200g spinach and put a lid on the pan to wilt the spinach
  • Once wilted, add the drained sweet potato to the pan and mix

 

Sweet potatoes are versatile, cheap and delicious. Anywhere normal potatoes are used, try switching to sweet potatoes. They’re easily cooked in the microwave, on the hob or in the oven, so can be used in all sorts of recipes!