Tag Archives: vaguely healthy

Recipe: Catherine Berwick’s Parsnip and Maple Syrup Cake

27 Mar

The new carrot cake?

It’s been a while since I’ve been here to say hi and I can only apologise profusely and point my finger of blame at all the wedding planning which has consumed my life for the last, um, year.. but I could write a whole blog* on that so I shall just move on quickly to a rather unusual cake I made for a friend’s birthday which I think you should try.

When I served it to guests I asked them all to guess what it was.. “it’s fruity”, it’s got “nuts in it”, “I can taste the maple syrup” the adoring crowds replied. But none of them could have guessed it was a cake made of parsnip! And lo I laugh like a maniacal loon… but seriously, it was really unusual, very moist and sweet. As ever I found it on the unimpeachable Good Food website and they billed it as the new Carrot Cake. (Not that I think there is A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G wrong with the old Carrot Cake!)

To buy:

*175g butter, and extra for greasing   *250g demerara sugar   *100ml maple syrup   *3 large eggs   *250g self-raising flour   *2 tsp baking powder   *a pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon  *250g parsnips, peeled and grated   *1 medium apple, peeled, cored and grated   *50g pecans, roughly chopped   *zest and juice of one small orange   *icing sugar to serve   *250g mascarpone   *3-4 tbsp maple syrup

To make:

Golden Brown, texture like sun.

1. Heat the oven to 180Oc/ 160Oc fan/ gas 4 and grease 2 x 20cm round tins.

2. Melt the butter, sugar and maple syrup in a pan over a gentle heat and then cool slightly.

3. Whisk the eggs in the mixture, then stir in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, followed by the grated parsnip, apple, chopped pecans, orange zest and juice.

4. Bake for around 30 minutes or until the sponges are cooked through and springy to touch.

5. Cool the cakes for a while in their tins before turning out onto wire racks and cooling entirely.

6. Just before serving, blend the marscapone and the maple syrup, spread onto one sponge and then sandwich the cake. Sprinkle with icing sugar. EAT.

* My friend and fellow-bride-to-be Laura and I were going to do a wedding blog called “Right Said Wed” but needless to say we’re too lazy and busy planning the shin-digs right now! Oh what could have been..


Recipe: Mango, Banana and Coconut Cake

5 Dec

Totally tropical

When a couple of friends came round for dinner last night I decided to attempt a Thai-inspired menu, instead of just throwing together an incoherent mess of flavours, and hoping I could call it “fusion” and that this would cut the mustard.  This, I can only think, is progress. So after we had scoffed ginger and garlic chicken skewers with satay sauce and hoovered up a beef massaman curry I served up a mango, banana and coconut cake for puds.

By the time we got round to this part of dinner I was so food-drunk that I could barely breath, let alone taste the cake, but on further inspection (a slice with a cuppa today to recover from decorating our new Christmas tree) it turns out it was rather good.

Packed full of fruit and incredibly moist, I rather like the idea of getting some of my five-a-day this way.  I asked my boyfriend for a review and he said that it was both: “Somewhere between sweet and savoury” and “an interesting taste, ’cause of the mango I presume”  and I can’t argue with that.

The key I think is in the ripeness of the fruit – for a lipsmacking flavour, a juicy soft texture and to make the whizzing up of the ingredients an easy process. So it would be perfect for bananas that you have that are just about to turn. It should make about 10 decent slices.

To buy:

* 1 medium ripe mango   *2 ripe bananas   *1 tsp vanilla extract   *225g butter, softened   *140g light muscovado sugar   *2 eggs, beaten   *50g dessicated coconut   *225g self-raising flour   *half a teaspoon of bicarb of soda   *a pinch of nutmeg   For the filling:   *200g full-fat soft cheese   *2 tsp lemon juice   *25g icing sugar (plus extra for dusting).

To make:

1. Preheat the oven to 160Oc/ gas mark 3/ fan oven 140Oc and grease two 20cm/8inch sandwich tins.

Will make your man-go wild.

2. Peel, stone and chop your mango and then purée the flesh (if you’re making this in a rush you might want to get a few slices of chopped mango so that it is soft enough).

3. Mash the bananas and mix in half the mango purée and the vanilla extract.

4. Beat together the butter and sugar until it is creamy and light, then add the beaten eggs slowly.

5. Stir the banana mixture and the coconut into the mixture and then sift the flour and bicarb in and fold lightly.

6. Divide the mixture between two tins and bake for half an hour or so – until the sponge is firm but springy.  Cool in the tins for a while and then pop them onto a wire rack and leave to cool entirely.

7. Meanwhile beat the cream cheese, lemon juice and icing sugar together (I always use an electric whisk for this) until it makes thick peaks in the bowl.  Stir the remaining mango into the icing gently.

8. Finally, spread one cake with the mixture and then pop the other one on top.  Dust lightly with  icing sugar and relax with a self-satisfied grin.