Autumnal baking…

I feel like I’ve neglected my blog a bit in the last week. The annoying thing is that I’ve actually been super busy cooking and trying out recipes but have either forgotten to take photo’s or have lacked time to blog my latest kitchen exploits. My main aim for last week was to test out some of the recipes that I plan to use for a catering job that I’m taking on in a couple of weeks time…canapes and fork buffet for 40 people at a Ruby Wedding Anniversary celebration. On Monday I made courgette, chicken and pistachio couscous with an orange and harissa dressing which I managed to snap (badly) before me and Marky devoured it (I hasten to add…it was very yummy)…

Later in the week I also made pear and gorgonzola wrapped in parma ham (along these lines), sweetcorn fritters with a cucumber, tomato and avocado salsa, an all in one roasted sausage, butternut squash, new potato and beetroot bake with a dill and caper dressing and a pasta dish with pesto, garlic chestnut mushrooms and wilted spinach stirred through…sometimes the simplest of dishes are the best. Thankfully everything went really well and as true testament to the fact, my friends who I’d called upon to be guinea pigs wolfed down every last morsel with no complaints. 

I’ve just spent the weekend with an old University friend and her gorgeous 4 month old daughter. She happened to have the November Sainsbury’s magazine lying around, I’m such a sucker for a good food magazine or cook book that I took it with me for bit of bedtime reading…I was amazed at just how many amazing recipes it had packed into it! So after a lazy brunch of bagels topped with sliced avocado, smoked salmon and creamy scrambled eggs *drool* I set off back up to North London with a recipe scribbled on a scrap of paper stuffed into my handbag. I made a quick pitstop at the supermarket and when I got home I set about making…

spiced parsnip and apricot loaf with maple frosting…

I’d never heard of a cake containing parsnip before but am a great lover of carrot cakes so thought it was definitely worth a try! Here’s the recipe…

150g plain flour

50g wholemeal spelt flour

1tsp baking powder

1tbsp ground cinnamon

1 slightly rounded tsp ground cloves (I omitted this)

1tsp ground ginger

10 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed

4 eggs, lightly beaten

225g caster sugar

225ml groundnut oil

2 medium parsnips, peeled and grated (200g grated weight)

100g pecan halves, chopped

100g ready to eat dried apricots, chopped

For the maple frosting – 

75g soft unsalted butter

200g light cream cheese, chilled

100g greek yoghurt, chilled

1 1/2tbsp maple syrup

1tsp ground cinnamon

50g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a 9 x 20cm loaf tin.

Sift the flours (I used self raising wholemeal flour so I only added 3/4 tsp baking powder) and baking powder into the bowl of an electric mixer (or use a handheld mixer). Tip any bran left in the sieve into the bowl too. Add the spices, eggs, sugar and oil and beat together. Fold in the grated parsnips, pecans and apricots and pour into the tin.

Bake for 1 hour 15 – 1 hour 30 minutes until golden and risen. Leave it to cool in the tin.

For the frosting whisk together the butter and cream cheese. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together. Put in the fridge to chill until later when the cake is fully cooled. Turn it out of the tin and  slather the frosting over the top.

For some reason my frosting turned out to be far too runny. It tasted good but was more pouring than spreading consistency. The cake was lovely and moist, rather like a carrot cake but with a gorgeous sweetness provided by the parsnip and nuttiness from the pecans. The edges had kind of caramelised (and no that’s not just code for burnt) which added a really lovely texture and flavour. I still, for the life of me, can’t work out what went wrong with my frosting but the fact that it was runny wasn’t detrimental to the overall taste of the cake and I guess that’s what really matters. 

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