One of my favourite childhood desserts was “Ruebli Torte” which is Schwitzerdütsch (=Swiss German) for carrot cake. My mum was born in a small city near Zürich -Aarau- which is famous for its yellow and orange carrots. And as everyone in my family loves cake but not veggies she smuggled them into this nutty and juicy very traditional cake. Sometimes we had a zucchini cake or pumpkin pie too, therefore the veggie and sweet pairing was never new to me. Years ago I’ve also baked a beetroot chocolate cake which even my very sceptical brother loved and since I first ate a parsnip cake at London Borough Market I wanted to reproduce this taste. As I discovered a mixed root veggies cake in an old Jamie Oliver paper magazine, I decided to make this as a dessert for a Magic The Gathering evening with our friend Alexa.
The cake recipe was part of a series of recipes with “healthy desserts” in said Jamie Oliver magazine. Is this cake “healthier” because it has veggies, wholegrain spelt flour , maple syrup and vegetable oil in it? Well, I do not like to put healthy and non-healthy stamps on food, because I think there is also a time to enjoy cookies, fries and ice-cream if your overall diet is based on whole unprocessed foods. Let therefore the cake be a cake and enjoy it if it fits your taste buds and goals! This one has less sugar and fats, some more fiber and a bit less calories than usual because of the ingredients but is still a dessert. Enough of the rant, let’s get things done!
- 70ml Vegetable oil (we used olive oil)
- 100g Grated carrots
- 100g Grated beetroot
- 100g Grated parsnips
- A shot Grand Marnier
- 120g Maple syrup
- 150g Eggs (approx. 3 medium eggs)
- 1tsp Gingerbread spice
- 150g Wholegrain spelt flour
- 1tsp Baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 60g Chopped dried apricots
- 40g Ground poppy seeds
- 250g Low-fat curd
- 25g Honey
- 0,5tsp Vanilla extract
- A shot Grand Marnier
- Preheat the oven at 200 degree and line 20cm diameter spring form with parchment paper.
- Mix the oil, grated veggies, Gran Marnier, maple sirup, gingerbread spice and eggs well. Then sift the wholegrain flour with the backing powder and add a pinch of salt.
- Mix well and adjust consistency:
- if you have the feeling it is too firm, add some liquid of choice (milk, Grand Marnier, orange juice…)
- if you have the feeling it is too runny add a little bit of flour.
- Fold in the chopped dried apricots and the poppy seeds.
- Transfer the batter into the form and bake for 35-40min or until no batter sticks to a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake.
- Leave the cake in the form to cool.
- Mix all the ingredients for the frosting together.
- Remove the cake from the form and spread the frosting on it.
- Decorate as you like or eat it in its simplicity ;-).
Our cake turned out very moist and not too sweet. The version we did had an earthy taste from the beetroot that we really enjoyed but it may not be for everyone’s taste. But as usual, there is lot of room for experimentation to fit your preferences:
- You can use the root veggies you like, for example parsnips only for a more sweet taste or some freaky carrots like purple haze. Go to the farmer’s market and look what inspires you!
- Instead of Gran Marnier you can use the zest of oranges, mandarines, lemons or other citrus fruits. I think a good spicy rhum may also fit well. Or try Amaretto for more sweetness and a marzipan note.
- Instead of maple syrup you can sweeten with whatever you like: just pay attention that honey and sugar are much more sweeter than maple sirup! Go to Turkish/Middle Eastern market, they usually have a whole array of syrups like grape, date, mulberry and carob.
- Use whatever flour you like best: wholegrain flours have a stronger taste, refined flour are more delicate. Pay attention if you use gluten-free options as they may not hold the cake together as well as the “conventional” ones.
- Feel free to experiment with spices, dried fruits (prunes, raisins, cherry, dates, figues…) and seed or nuts (pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, cashews, walnuts…).
- The frosting can be made richer by using fattier curd or cream cheese versions, ricotta or even mascarpone but be sure to add a sour tang by adding some (greek) joghurt and the zest of a citrus fruit.
If you cut this delicious cake in 8 slices, it has the following macros:
- 8,7g Protein
- 11g Fat
- 34,9g Carbs
- 3,4g Fiber
We did love the recipe so much that we thought about baking it for Christmas Eve in a very festive version with lots of edible gold dust and even some golden truffles on it. Unfortunately, Stefan’s parents got sick and it has to wait until next year, at least the gold finishing 😉 . But you should not wait and we are curious to know how you liked it and which modifications you made! Please share it with us in the comment section below, we would really appreciate it.
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