Saturday, December 6, 2014

Parsnip Carrot Spice Cake with Whipped Coconut Cream (non-dairy)



Another use for parsnips! Which is, sadly, an under-utilized root vegetable. If you're a gardener and your still harvesting fall carrots and parsnips, this is an even more fun cake to bake - many fall flavors: apples, carrots, parsnip, maple, walnuts.  The cake is not nearly as sweet as a carrot cake, but has the same wonderful moist texture of cakes that are filled with vegetables and fruit.

This cake was inspired by a recipe for Parsnip cake posted by Leite's Culinaria.

Don't be put off by the number of ingredients.The cake is made by hand, no hi-tech kitchen equipment is needed, so gather the ingredients on a work surface and you'll see this cake is relatively easy to assemble and bake.  The whipped coconut cream does need to be whipped with an electric mixer at a high speed. You can always choose ready-made whipped cream or a non-dairy whipped topping (don't read the label, the chemicals are a turn-off). Because the cake is not all that sweet, a prepared vanilla or cream cheese frosting would work as well.

Choreography:
The cake is organized in several bowls and is mixed together by hand (use a hand whisk if you have one). Mix the grated vegetables and fruit in one bowl, chop the walnuts (or use ready-made nut pieces) in another bowl, mix the flour, spices, baking powder, brown sugar in a large bowl, combine the eggs, hard cider, flavorings, oil, maple syrup in a 4c mixing cup or another bowl. The cake is then mixed and baked.

The full-fat canned coconut milk must be well chilled before whipping. It will be semi- solid on the top 1/3 of the can because the fat and liquid will have separated. After whipping, you'll need to chill it again for 4-6 hours. It will never be as solid was whipped cream, but as a non-dairy whipped topping it beats the chemical-ful mixtures you'd otherwise be forced to use.

The cake can be baked a day before serving, cover loosely with plastic wrap or store in a covered storage box.

Equipment:
kitchen scale, measuring cups, spoons, mixing spoon
3 large mixing bowls
small bowls for measured ingredients
food processor (for shredding) or a box grater
medium bundt pan




Ingredients:
Cake:
1/2 c peeled and shredded carrots (approximately 4 oz)
1/2 c peeled and shredded parsnips (approximately 4 oz)
1 c peeled and shredded tart apple (approximately 4 oz)
3/4 c chopped walnuts
9 oz unbleached all purpose flour
    (2 full cups flour, if you prefer use 3 oz white whole wheat, 6 oz all purpose)
2 tsp baking powder
2.5 oz (approximately 1/2 c) dark or light brown sugar (dark brown is a bit more assertive)
1/2 tsp ground ginger*
1 tsp ground cinnamon*
1/2 tsp ground cardamon *
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg *
      *or instead of individual spices, use 2.5 full tsp apple or pumpkin pie spice mix
2 large eggs
6 oz (3/4 c) neutral vegetable oil (I use canola)
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp orange oil (or extract)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp white or apple cider vinegar
3 oz (1/3c + 1 Tbsp) hard cider
spray oil (for greasing the pan) and 3-4 Tbsp flour (to dust pan)

Whipped Coconut Cream:
1 can full fat coconut milk (well chilled before you start whipping
2 tsp vanilla sugar
2 tsp maple syrup
2 tsp confectioner's sugar (optional, only if you want the topping to be sweeter)

Procedure:
1. Grease a medium size bundt pan, dust with flour . Preheat oven to 360 degrees.
2. Combine dry ingredients : flour, baking powder, brown sugar, spices in a bowl. Mix well.
3. Combine liquid ingredients, oil, eggs, extracts, vinegar, hard cider in a large mixing bowl.
4. Combine vegetables, fruits and nuts in a bowl.



5. Pour the liquids into the flour mixture and stir well. You'll have a thick sticky cake batter.

6. Add the vegetable-fruit-nut mixture into the batter. 




7. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. The batter is very thick and sticky, use a silicone spatula to push the batter out into the pan. 




9. Shake the cake pan to even out the batter: 




8. Slip the cake into the oven, lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake for approximately 45 minutes. Check the cake after 40 minutes. Test for done-ness.


To make the coconut-milk whipped topping:  Chill a can of full-fat coconut milk and pour/spoon the semi-solidified contents into a mixing bowl. Using either a stand mixer or portable mixer, whip the cream at high speed for several minutes. It will begin to form soft peaks.  Add the sugars. Continue to whip for another minute or two. Chill the mixture, it will thicken to the consistency of soft whipped cream after 1-2 hours in the refrigerator. 

This cake is very moist and stays fresh for several days. Serve with whipped cream, a scoop of ice cream or creme fraiche. 
To store, cover loosely with plastic wrap or store in a covered container. 

Looking to bake another easy spice cake? Also try my Blueberry Crumb Spice Cake