Christmas Spiced Parsnip Cake

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The first time I heard about parsnip cake was only a month ago. I did a photo job for a Swedish bakery and they wanted a photo of a parsnip cake as it, apparently, is a classic Swedish dessert. I have lived in Sweden my entire life and baked countless amounts of cakes but never encountered it before, so I am not sure I would go as far as calling it a Swedish classic. It is however wildly delicious and a very pleasant way to incorporate more vegetables in your life. Perhaps we can make it a future classic? The parsnip cake is cousin with the carrot cake but the parsnips add some very unique mild root tones along with the traditionally sweet taste and moist consistency. And just like its cousin, it develops in flavour so it is even more flavourful after a day in the fridge.

Since Christmas is coming up, we spiced the cake with warm tones like ginger, cinnamon and clove that go perfectly with the flavour from the roots. It might not be the most traditional Christmas cake on the table but I am quite certain that Santa won’t mind. It is topped with orange flavoured quark cheese or cream cheese, orange zest and roasted hazelnuts. If you can’t find quark, you can make a sweet quick version of labneh instead by mixing 2 cups greek yogurt with 1-2 tbsp maple syrup and some orange juice and strain it in cheese cloth for a few hours until it is firm enough to spread on a cake.

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This cake was included in the Christmas update of our Green Kitchen app that we released earlier this week. If you already have the app, you can just hit update to get the 8 Christmas recipes without any extra cost. And while we are talking about the app – it has once again been selected for the AppStore Best of 2014 in Scandinavia and Germany. So exciting! And we got loads of new and exciting stuff lined up for it next year!

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Spiced Parsnip Cake
Serves 8

This recipe is gluten free. But if you don’t have any gluten free flours at home, you can replace the oat flour, rice flour and arrowroot with 1 3/4 cups / 200 g spelt flour.

3/4 cup (120 g) rice flour
1 cup (90 g) oat flour
2 tbsp arrow root powder or potato starch
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 pinch clove
1 pinch salt
225 g / 1/2 lb (3 small/medium) parsnips
1 orange, zest
4 eggs
3/4 cup / 160 ml honey or maple syrup
3/4 cup / 160 ml cold-pressed rapeseed oil or cold-pressed olive oil

Topping
7 oz / 200 g quark/curd or cream cheese (or unsalted labneh)
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
1 orange, juice and zest

1 cup / 125 g roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line the sides and base of a 20-22 cm / 8-9 inches springform tin with parchment paper. Sift together the flours, arrowroot, baking powder and spices.
Peel and grate the parsnips (you can keep the peel on if you use organic) and zest the orange.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl until frothy. Add the oil and maple syrup and beat for another minute.
Stir in the parsnip and orange zest and then fold in the flours. Pour the mixture into the prepared springform tin. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 45 minutes, or until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool before before removing it from the springform tin.
Make the icing by simply stirring together quark or cream cheese with maple syrup and orange juice. Spread the icing over the cake when it has cooled completely. Garnish with roasted hazelnuts and orange zest.
If you are making it ahead; store the cake in the fridge and add icing and topping just before serving.

PS! We are in Sydney now and just heard (through social media) that our book got a glowing review and was listed as one of the top cookbooks 2014 on BBC Radio 4. You can listen to the broadcast here (about 6.30 min into the show). It is still not too late to order Green Kitchen Travels as Christmas present *wink wink*. Here is a list of webshops that are selling it.