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!

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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.

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Enjoy!

Healthy Banana Bread

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Banana bread is a superfood. Not in the instagram yoga-mum sense of the word, but in the way that everyone loves a good banana loaf (unless you dislike bananas) and it makes you feel amazing. I can promise you that I have made friends solely through the production and sharing of this banana bread. Its warmth and soft texture makes it perfect for autumn and winter, but this lighter version makes sure it’s not too stodgy and unhealthy. The wholemeal flour increases the fibre and nutrient content, and the date syrup (or alternative) ensures no refined sugars are used.

It’s not totally good for you as such, and doesn’t taste at all like it is (like all the best desserts), but it’s a huge improvement on the traditional recipe (which uses butter, white flour and sugar) and is so delicious it’s suitable for everyone! When I asked my friends, they said it didn’t taste like a healthy dessert, and didn’t have that weird texture too many sugar-free desserts have.

Macros: 244 calories, 13.7g fat, 26.5g carbs, 4.1g protein.

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For a marbled effect, add cocoa powder to half the mixture

This isn’t vegan or gluten free, but can be made both! See *notes at the bottom for ingredient substitutions.

Ingredients (serves 10):

  • 25g coconut oil
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 150g light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs (or 1tbsp almond butter)
  • 2 large bananas (or three small ones)
  • 75ml milk of choice (I use soya)
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 200g flour of choice (I use 100g wholewheat and 100g self-raising)
  • Optional: nuts, dark chocolate

Method:

  • Pre-heat the over to 180 degrees Celsius and line a loaf tin with baking parchment
  • Heat up the coconut oil if it is solid
  • Add the coconut and vegetable oils with the vanilla essence to a bowl and mix until combined
  • Beat in the eggs and sugar
  • Mash the bananas and add to the mix
  • Add the milk, baking soda, cinnamon and salt to the bowl and mix everything together
  • Add the flour slowly and fold in to the liquid mixture using a large wooden spoon
  • Add any extras you want at this point and fold in
  • Pour into the loaf tin, and top with cinnamon, or, if you’re feeling decadent, with brown sugar (this creates a crunchy top)
  • Bake in the oven for 1h (insert a toothpick/knife into the centre after one hour – if the cake is done, it should come out clean)
  • Leave to cool in the tin until the tin is cool. Remove from the tin and leave to col completely on a wire rack before cutting.

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*Notes:

Oils: It is possible to use 125ml coconut oil here. However, my aim to is make this affordable for everyone, and coconut oil is not known for being super cheap 😉 But do feel free to switch up ingredients as you like! Just don’t use olive oil!

Bananas: Try to use ripe to over-ripe bananas. I always have a stash in my freezer that I freeze as soon as they become over-ripe. They are perfect for this recipe (and a million other things, such as my carrot cake smoothie bowl recipe).

Vegan? Use flax eggs or 1tbsp almond butter, and make sure to use dairy-free milk. My favourites are hazelnut milk and coconut milk.

Gluten free? This recipe works fine with all-purpose gluten free flour, although liquid levels may have to be increased. Play around and let me know what works for you!

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Let me know what you think in the comments below, or if you made any ingredients substitutions that you think work well! 🙂

No-bake, no-wait cheesecake

This recipe is special. The title is also a bit of a lie, but if you’ve ever tried to make vegan cheesecake, you’ll know that it’s a lengthy process that means you actually have to wait for your food. I am very, very bad at this, so I set out to make a healthy gluten, dairy and refined sugar free cheesecake. Simple.

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This cake has three layers – the carby ‘biscuit’ base, the creamy cashew centre and the light and sweet goji topping.

The cashews need to soak to become the ‘cream-cheese’ in the centre, but unlike most recipes, here they only need to soak for 30 minutes, rather than overnight, which cuts down the waiting time significantly, which can only be a good thing 🙂 During this time you could read a little, stalk people on instagram or even make some nut-butter. So really it’s not time wasted.

This recipe can be altered to change the flavour. My favourite alternative is blackberry (see bottom photo) – it’s a gorgeous purple colour and has a rich summery taste. To do this, omit the banana and goji berries, and use 150g blackberries (or a fruit of your choice) instead.

Ingredients:

  • 3 nakd bars (I use cashew cookie) OR 50g almonds, 50g oats
  • 150g dates
  • 200g cashews (quick soaked in boiling water)
  • Almond/coconut/oat milk
  • 50g goji berries (soaked)
  • 1 banana
  • Vanilla flavouring (I use Walden farms near zero coffee creamer, but vanilla essence or even vanilla protein powder works well. I would recommend Strippd vanilla pea/hemp protein powder)

Method:

  • Remember to soak the cashew nuts and goji berries (separately) in boiling water. Set timer to 30 minutes. Then you can start on the base.
  • Start by lining a round shallow cake tin with baking parchment
  • Base – Blend together the 3 nakd bars/almonds and oats with 50g dates until the mixture is crumbly. It should resemble crumble mixture.
  • Pour this into the cake tin and pack down (the base of a glass works well – separate base and glass with clingfilm if it sticks).
  • Put in freezer.

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    Biscuit base

 

  • 1st layer – once the 30 minutes are up, drain the cashews.
  • Place 120g soaked cashews, 75g dates and the vanilla flavouring/protein powder into the blender. Blend.
  • Add milk as necessary – at the end of the blending process the consistency should be of hummus (yum).
  • Spoon this out over the biscuit base. If it isn’t runny enough it’ll ruin the base, so make sure to add enough milk to the mixture!
  • Stick this back in the freezer as you make the last layer
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Creamy cashew 1st layer

  • 2nd layer – blend together the remaining cashews (80g), dates (25g), the banana and soaked and drained goji berries until smooth.
  • Spoon this last layer over the other 2 layers.
  • Sprinkle on extra goji berries as optional decoration.
  • Stick back in the freezer for at least 1h
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Goji berry topping

This keeps best in the freezer, and becomes a little runny when left out for too long, as it heats up. Whilst it tastes good frozen, for a smoother, creamier texture, take it out of the freezer for at least 30 minutes before eating from frozen.

All done! You can do this the night before you want to eat it, or the morning of a dinner party. It tastes fantastic with fresh fruit and/or sorbet and is a great dessert to impress! Or just eat by yourself. Whatever works for you. 😉

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The blackberry version of the cheesecake