Parsnip and cocoa nib cake

(Toasted parsnip and cocoa nib cake)

This is going to be one of those times.

A time when you find yourself faced with someone enthusiastically insisting you simply must try what could possibly be as pedestrian or as bizarre as :

1) chocolate and bacon.. in a milkshake
2) avocado as a secret ingredient in perfect mashed potato
3) yet another chocolate chip cookie recipe

and you find yourself politely nodding and agreeing, swearing in butter and sugar that you will definitely bookmark the recipe to try soon. But inside you’re really thinking, what does she know! She :

a) is vegan
b) eats muesli for breakfast, for goodness sake!
c) uses the words ‘Wonderful!’ and ‘amazing’ too often.

Well, guilty as charged, I’m afraid. Maybe I had cake for breakfast this morning and perhaps it’s the sugar high talking, but freshly toasted parsnip cake, really is amazing and wonderful and totally worth succumbing to every cliche to share.

To further feed the cliche, creating cake of a parsnip inclination turns out to be as simple as taking your favourite banana bread or cake recipe and substituting an equal amount of mashed parsnip for the banana component. Here I’ve used a recipe from Flour by Joanne Chang. Include other flavours if you wish. Walnuts are a suitable match, as well as coffee essence. Then if possible, wait until the very next day to toast thick slices of the cake and serve with a flourish of honey or maple syrup. I used pine cone bud syrup because I foolishly bought a rather pricey bottle of it while on holiday once and have been struggling to use it in a meaningful way. Parsnip cake turns out to be one such way.

Parsnip and cocoa nib cake :
(based on a recipe in Flour by Joanne Chang)

210g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
230g sugar
2 eggs
50g melted butter
50g vegetable oil
about 340g of cooked parsnip puree [should be the same consistency as mashed banana]
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons cocoa nibs

Preheat oven to 160’C. Butter a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

With an electric mixer, whisk the sugar and eggs until very light and fluffy. On low speed, slowly drizzle in the oil and melted butter. Mix in the parsnip puree, yogurt and vanilla until just combined. Fold in the flour mixture and cocoa nibs. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for about 1 hour. The top of the cake should be well browned and spring back when pressed lightly.

Cool completely before removing from tin. This cake can be eaten straight away but is even better the next day, when sliced thickly and toasted.

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