The nutty flavours of Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) are perfect in this banana cake with maple yogurt drizzle.
Jerusalem artichokes (aka sunchokes) are nutty, nobbly tubers. We’re at the end of their season in the UK, but some are still around, desperate to be used up to make way for spring’s bounty of green. So, let’s put some in a cake, shall we?
Nutty flavours just cry out for banana cake. Plus, my local greengrocer was selling off huge bags of darkening bananas for 70p. My freezer is heaving with frozen bananas ready for smoothies and nana ice cream. Ripe bananas, walnuts, ground cinnamon and grated Jerusalem artichokes all came together in a cake. The sort of cake that you want to sit with quietly and look out at the garden as it quietly bursts into spring colour. You can’t taste the tuber in it at all and the cake is delicately sweetened with a maple yogurt drizzle.
I love globe artichokes. They were a favourite when I was quite young and I remember having them often at the dinner table. My little hands would peel the leaves and plunge them into melted garlic butter and I’d scrape the flesh from the thick leaves. But alas, these Jerusalem artichokes are most definitely different.
I’ve not had sunchokes very often. They turn up in the farmer’s market, looking muddy and strange but have not turned up in my kitchen as often as they should. That is now going to change. They are sweet, nutty, and, oddly, related to the sunflower. They may be a bit of a pain to peel (though mine were luckily not too mishapen!), but they should really be embraced. They may be famous for their occasional windy aftereffects, but they are easy to grow and can produce a great big bounty.
- 200g (1 ¾ cups) plain flour
- 100g (½ cup) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 very ripe medium bananas
- 120ml (½ cup) plain yogurt (or non-dairy yogurt for a vegan cake)
- 120ml (½ cup) vegetable oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 300g (10 oz) raw Jerusalem artichokes (aka sunchokes)
- 115g (1 cup) walnuts, chopped (plus extra for decorating)
- For the Maple Yogurt Drizzle
- 120ml (½ cup) plain Greek yogurt (or non-dairy alternative)
- 3 teaspoons maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 175C/350F. Grease a loaf pan and line with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
- In another bowl, mash the bananas then mix in the yogurt, oil and vanilla.
- Peel and coarsely grate the Jerusalem artichokes. Mix into the wet ingredients along with the chopped walnuts.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently fold until just mixed. Pour into the prepared pan, smooth to the edges and bake for 50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. You may need to loosely cover with foil towards the end to prevent it from over-browning.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely.
- For the Maple Yogurt Drizzle
- Mix the yogurt and maple syrup together. Keep in the fridge until ready to use and then drizzle over the completely cooled cake and decorate with walnuts.
Snippets of my week:
– I have a milkman. There is pure delight in opening the front door to find a bounty of milk in old-fashioned bottles nestled next to, currently, the grape hyacinths – as if left there as a gift by the pixies.
– We had a lovely long weekend in Cornwall with the kids and my husband’s family. Cliff hikes, beach barbecues, glorious sunshine and we even found a shipwreck uncovered on the beach after storms washed away much of the sand.
– We’ve started to work on the garden in the new house. A pile of old branches, years and years of old branches, had been piled up at the end of the garden. It was four feet high and six feet deep. We have kindling for the next few years now neatly put away and the rest of it has been sent to be turned into wood chippings. In it’s place sits the kids’ playhouse. My back aches but the birds are delighted at the newly-found plethora of worms we’ve uncovered. Still so much to do in the garden – especially to just sit and enjoy it.
Still have more Jerusalem artichokes to use up? Try one of these recipes!
Jerusalem Artichoke Soup
Beetroot Jerusalem Artichoke Boulangere
Oven-baked Jerusalem Artichoke and Spelt Risotto with Blue Cheese