This cake is subtly spiced and even with a great pile of swede in it the veg can’t be tasted. The moist, fluffy cake combines well with the nutty flavour of the browned butter icing and the crunch of the salted hazelnuts.
Snippets of my week:
1. Giles Coren, inimitable foodie wordie man, spoke to me on Twitter. I take this to mean, in all seriousness, that we are to be great friends. We shall eat the food of Roman times, drink well-matched wines and laugh about the absurdities of life, while our children grow up, fall in love, and marry.
2. My Kale and Almond Biscotti was mentioned in The Province newspaper in Vancouver, Canada. Cool, eh?
3. Food52 featured my Pumpkin and Spice Dark Chocolate Bark via Instagram.
4. I failed my driving test. Teenage children whose mummies still make their packed lunches are allowed behind the wheels of cars and I am not. Okay, so perhaps I shouldn’t have gone careering across a junction like a maniac, nearly killing both myself and the examiner. Oops. *Dons cycle helmet*.
My mum loves her kale smoothies in the morning and grew huge cucumbers in the garden when we were kids, but when thinking about a vegetable for her Mother’s Day cake I thought of the humble turnip. That or spinach, I suppose. She doesn’t like cooked spinach but still I feed it to her with the regularity of a mum of toddlers who is used to soldiering on, re-offering spurned food frequently enough to wear the hater into submission. I always thought it odd that as a child she carved turnips at Halloween, so I suppose that is why I thought of it.
Turnips remind me of my mum, so here is a swede recipe, even though they are not the same thing. I realise that doesn’t particularly make sense. Expect the unexpected, people. Read: there were no turnips at the shop.
Before I head to the recipe, let me tell you a bit about my mum. She did something pretty amazing a few years ago. She moved to England from Ireland to help out and be a full-on Grandma. My son was one and my daughter was about to be born, so Grandma retired and moved to help my husband and I with the little ones and to be a big part of our family. She’s just across the road when we need her and that is so very very special. She’s my recipe tester, chocolate-provider and sanity-saver. Plus she doesn’t get annoyed when the kids create epic, totally tubular waves all over the floor at bath time or smear yogurt on her sofa, and she loves them dearly. That’s pretty special, too. Happy Mother’s Day, mum.
- 150g (1 cup, packed) raw peeled and grated swede (rutabega)
- 3 eggs
- 175g (¾ cup) sugar
- 100g (½ cup) plain full-fat yogurt
- 100ml (½ cup) rapeseed or vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 250g (2 ½ cups) plain (self-raising) flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon bicarb of soda (baking soda)
- 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 400g (3 cups) powdered icing sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3-4 tablespoons milk
- 115g (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 30g (¼ cup) salted hazelnuts, chopped
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease and line a 9” square cake tin with parchment paper.
- Beat the eggs, sugar, yogurt, oil and vanilla together well. Stir in the grated swede. Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarb of soda, nutmeg and salt and gently stir to combine.
- Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the tin and then turn onto a wire rack, removing the parchment paper, to cool completely.
- Put the icing sugar, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the milk into a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a saucepan over a low heat, melt the butter and continue to heat until it turns brown and smells nutty. Pour into the bowl of powdered sugar and beat until thick and smooth, adding more milk if necessary.
- Top the cooled cake with the frosting and sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts.