My local market is still piled high with bunches of kale as big as umbrellas. Green kale, purple kale… great giant stalks of it beckon. I’ve used it in green smoothies, Hugh Fearnley Whittinstall’s amazing Kale and Mushroom Lasagne and even my Cinnamon Kale Chips. But I still can’t stop buying great heads of the stuff. Those huge crinkly leaves just scream, “Who cares that you wolfed down a big bar of dark chocolate and drank a whole bottle of Prosecco last night – you’re eating KALE!”
My mum is a huge convert to the green smoothies and is often seen wandering into town with a trendy jam jar of the vivid drink, like a walking Pinterest board. So, when it came time to make a vegetable cake for her birthday, it had to be kale.
The kale gives this cake such a bright green colour and the addition of applesauce means less oil needs to be used. This cake is naturally sweet without being too sugary and has moist texture, as vegetable cakes often do. For the icing, instead of the usual buttercream I beat the powdered sugar with applesauce and just a little butter to solidify it. The tangy sweet icing compliments the kale-packed cake well.
- 200g (2 cups, packed) fresh kale leaves, woody stalk discarded
- 3 eggs
- 100ml (1/2 cup) rapeseed or vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 100g (1/2 cup) applesauce
- 175g (3/4 cup) sugar
- 2 regular eating apples, peeled and grated
- 250g (2 cups) plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 250g (1 ¼ cups) powdered icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons smooth applesauce
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease and line 2 9” cake tins.
- Tear the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces and boil or steam for a few minutes until tender. Refresh in cold water, drain and puree (it will still be a bit stringy). Set aside.
- Beat the eggs, oil, vanilla, applesauce and sugar together well. Beat in the kale puree and grated apple. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and gently combine.
- Pour into the prepared tins and bake for 30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool for 2 minutes in the tins and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, add the other ingredients and mix until smooth.
- Store in the fridge until ready to use. Frost the cooled cake.