Every week, me and my friend/colleague are tasked with coming up with three different desserts to put onto the Du Jour menu at work. This is by far, the best part of my job. It’s something I’ve had to earn; no more monotonous cookie dough rolling, cutting and baking for me! My role is so much more creative now; my imagination is let loose like an artist on a blank untouched canvas. The kitchen is my playground.
Yes, at times its stressful and draining having to constantly be conjuring up diverse ideas whilst trying to choose dishes that motivate and inspire me. I don’t want to just keep repeating the same ideas with different flavours. I need to choose things that aren’t only appealing and delicious for the customer, but also choose tasks that enable me to learn new techniques.
Last week, my friend and I decided to put carrot cake on the menu – fruity carrot cake with creme fraiche, crisp sweet carrot chips, coconut sorbet and caramelised roasted pineapple. Bright, bouncy dishes are back in along with breezy spring evenings.
While discussing this specific dish, my friend told me she’d recently made a parsnip loaf. As soon as she said ‘parsnip’ and ‘cake’; I was instantly intrigued. I had made carrot, courgette and even beetroot cake; but parsnip had never landed in my mixing bowl.
As soon as my days off came around, I was in the supermarket spying out my parsnips.
Don’t think that this parsnip cake is going to be anything like carrot cake. It’s not. Carrot cake has a fruity sweetness that emits from the vegetable whereas parsnips, though still sweet, are slightly more savoury. This is what has made this cake so great to me.
A slice of this loaf cake is versatile in both texture and flavour. The soft moist crumb is occasionally interrupted by crunchy roasted hazelnuts and luscious cream cheese. The crumb isn’t obviously sweet, however the topping and little hidden morsels of stem ginger make up for this.
Ingredients – makes one loaf cake
- 100ml sunflower oil
- 75ml olive oil
- 3 medium eggs
- 60g soft light brown sugar
- 65g honey
- 250g plain flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
- pinch of salt
- 200g parsnip, peeled and grated
- 50g stem ginger, chopped
- 50g hazelnuts, crushed
- thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated
- 50g hazelnuts, crushed
- a handful of candied ginger pieces
- 200g cream cheese
- 2 tbsp. honey
Preheat your oven to 160C. Grease and line a loaf tin with baking parchment.
Place the sunflower oil, olive oil, eggs, soft brown sugar and honey into a bowl and whisk together for 5 minutes until thick and pale. This can be done using a food processor, stand mixer or electric hand whisk. Next combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt together. Add in the grated parsnip, stem ginger, hazelnuts and grated ginger and toss throughout the dry ingredients. Fold this into the whisked wet ingredients.
Pour the cake mix into the prepared loaf tin. Bake for 45-50 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, take out of the tin and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack.
Meanwhile, beat together the cream cheese and honey. Once the cake is cool, spread the sweetened cream cheese over the top of the loaf cake and garnish with crushed hazelnuts and candied ginger.