Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Root Vegetable Cardamom Cake

Root Vegetable Cake

I considered naming this post ‘Leftover Cake’ but I feel that such a title would disguise the fact that this cake is an exceptional, not merely acceptable, way to use up your food. First and foremost, it’s a great cake; I’d happily go out of my way to purchase the ingredients to make it. All the better if you find yourself with the appropriate leftovers. 

Root Vegetable Cake

I’m not entirely sure where the inspiration for this one came from. Perhaps the sandman came discreetly during my peaceful sleep and scattered my dreams with his magical grains of inspiration. Quite a viable explanation methinks; there’s no shortage of the stuff in Morecambe Bay. It is, after all, the season of goodwill. Whatever the reason, the cardamom is a beautifully fragrant compliment to mixture. 

Root Vegetable CakeI was flicking through Niki Sengit's book The Flavour Thesaurus and was drawn to her odd flavour combo of banana and parsnips. It's a well established fact that vegetables allow the cake to soak up moisture like a sponge. There were a couple of small, very aged black bananas in the fruit bowl, so I threw them in to the mixture with the parsnips, butternut squash and carrots.

Root Vegetable Cake Cream Cheese Frosting

The results: Firstly, hats off to Sengit; the banana and parsnip aren't at odds with each other at all (though I'd be a little hesitant to combine them in a savoury context). The sponge is perfectly moist, so much so that I completely forgot I had used gluten-free flour. I'd have to say this is the most gluten-free friendly cake I've made to date. And the frosting is very stable, but not so sweet that it loses that distinct cream cheese flavour.

Root Vegetable Cardamom Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

 You can use any root veg you have - pumpkin, beetroot, potato, swede - whatever is around. I used butternut squah, parsnip and carrots. Instead of banana, you can add another fruit as long as it's peeled. And instead of milk, fruit juice. Play around with it!

The only transgression which I must disclose here is that the pictures are a little deceiving. That it a hench piece of cake in the photos; a little too large for the 'serves 10-12' guideline. But only a little.

Want other ideas of how to use up root veg? Sweet potato is great addition to these vegetarian enchiladas. Another great choice for afternoon tea are my chocolate, caramel and pecan fudge squares. Or if you're looking for creative ways to use up leftovers, consult 10 best ways to use up celery leaves.

Root Vegetable and Cardamom Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Serves 10-12


180g butter, plus extra for greasing
220g light brown sugar
4 medium eggs
250g self-raising flour (gf self raising flour works well too)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cardamom pods
300g root vegetables of your choice, peeled and grated
1 large banana, mashed
100ml milk
80g pecans/walnuts, roughly chopped (optional)
Icing sugar, to serve (optional)

1. Heat oven to 190C. Grease 2 x 20cm sandwich tins and line the bases with baking parchment. Beat softened butter with brown sugar until light and fluffy. One by one, whisk in the eggs, then sift in the flour, baking powder and mixed spice alternatively with the milk, followed by the grated vegetables, banana and chopped nuts. Divide between the tins, then bake for 40 mins until a skewer comes out clean.

2. Cool the cakes for 5 minutes in the tins before turning out onto wire racks to cool. Spread with frosting, and sandwich with the other. Dust with icing sugar, if desired.


250g cream cheese
1 cup white icing sugar
1/2  teaspoon each of vanilla extract and almond extract
300 ml double cream

Combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract in a large bowl. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment and mix on medium speed just until smooth. This should take under twenty seconds; if you beat it too much the sugar will bring out the water and the mixture will separate. While the mixture is still whipping, slowly pour in the double cream, and beat until the cream holds a stiff peak. Stop and scrape the bottom of the bowl a couple of times. Again, this stage takes no time at all, much less than whipping cream by itself.


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  1. You had me at cardamom. One of my favorite cake is carrot/zucchini so this isn't too much of a stretch although I would not have come up with banana/parsnip on my own. OTOH roasted parsnips are glorious! Stopping by from Best Blog Recipes to pin this for later :)

    1. Haha so glad to have a cardamom fan here, Lydia! I'm not actually a huge fan of parsnips, at least the way most people cook them, adding more sweetness like maple syrup. But this Christmas I tossed them in parmesan and a bit of flour before roasting - delectable! Thanks for stopping by.

  2. award for you in my space . collect them


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