Let’s talk about cake. And real life.
Let’s talk about kamikaze pecans that tried to make a break for freedom, and consequently ruined almost every shot I took because I somehow failed to notice that they were slipping down the side of the cake.
Let’s talk about a slice of cake that fell off the knife whilst I was trying to transfer it to the plate, landing in an indelicate and unattractive manner.
Let’s talk about the fact that for some reason, when I say ‘pecans’ in my head, it is always said with a Texan drawl, as in “I’m gonna get me some pee-cans”.
I don’t know why this is.
Finally, let’s talk about cashew cream frosting.
So, the cake. This is an idea that has been loitering in my list of ‘must-makes’ for a while. I heard about it somewhere and knew I had to make it. Given that we are heading into true parsnip season, now seemed a good time. Plus, it gives the little root dudes a change from being roasted. Not that there is anything wrong with a roasted parsnip. But sometimes it is good the change things up a little.
The basis for this cake is a carrot cake, only swapping the carrots for parsnips. And reducing the quantity a little, because I didn’t want the taste of parsnip to dominate. Just like a carrot cake, the veg is there, but not in your face. I also added a few extra spices that I don’t typically put into carrot cake, because, you know . . .
I also didn’t want to cover it with cream cheese frosting because I feel as if I have eaten a lot of cream cheese icing recently. I had seen the cashew cream frosting over at one of my favourite blogs and I thought it would work well with this.
Because I have tried making nut butters in every food processor in the house, and failed, and because I have yet to be able to convince myself that buying a Vitamix is a justifiable purchase (even though it costs the same as a Kitchen Aid, and well, yes, I have one of those) I bought a jar of cashew butter and tarted it up. Just make sure you get the natural kind – the runny stuff that is just ground up cashews and nothing else, no added sugar, salt or oil. I like this brand, which you can get in Sainsbury’s as well as good health food shops.
I have to say that I was a little nervous about how this would turn out. Would it really work?
It does. The orange zest imparts a subtle flavour and the maple syrup sweetens it. Almond milk will provide the right consistency. Although maybe add slightly less than I did, so you don’t suffer with pecan slippage.
Yes, there is a taste of nuts from the cashews, that can’t truly be hidden, but it all comes together delightfully, and I have to say that a cashew based frosting is a good one to have on hand if you need to make a dairy-free cake.
You’ll find yourself surreptitiously removing any stray drips with your finger and licking them.
Parsnip & Pecan Cake with Cashew Cream Frosting
For the cake:
- 100g coconut oil, melted
- 2 eggs
- 75g honey
- 75g coconut sugar, or light brown sugar
- 1 parsnip, grated, approximately 90g
- 60g pecans, plus extra for decorating
- 120g rice flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- 1/4 tsp ground green cardamom
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- pinch of sea salt
For the frosting:
- 170g jar of cashew butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tsp maple syrup
- zest of an orange
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- Pre-heat the oven to 150 Celsius / 130 fan / 300 Fahrenheit. Line two non-stick 8″ round cake pans with baking paper.
- Place the pecans in a small food processor and blitz until they resemble breadcrumbs. Set aside.
- In a bowl whisk together the coconut oil, eggs, honey and sugar.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, including the ground pecans, and mix until just combined.
- Divide between the cake pans and bake for 30 minutes, or until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the cake is cooling, make the frosting. Scoop the cashew butter into a bowl and add the vanilla, maple syrup and orange zest and stir together. Add the milk a little at a time, mixing it in well between each addition, until you get the desired consistency.
- When the cake has cooled, use half the frosting the sandwich the two cakes together and then cover the top with the rest. Decorate with pecan halves.
© The Pink Rose Bakery 2014
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