February 4, 2016

SPICED PARSNIP AND MINCEMEAT CAKE

parsnip and mincemeat cake

This is a cake I have had in mind to bake since just after Christmas, when I was looking at some unused parsnips and a part jar of mincemeat and wondering what I could do with them.

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In the end, the parsnips got used in the usual way but I was determined not to waste the mincemeat so it came across the channel with us to France last month.  I knew that sooner or later my will power would fade (New Year resolutions never last long in our house) and I would bake a cake.

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I have made cakes using parsnips before and they were lovely.  The idea of adding mincemeat was just a whim, a way to use up the few spoonfuls of mincemeat that were not much use for anything else except to perk up a cake.  And this was no ordinary mincemeat, it was enhanced with chopped apples, orange zest and brandy for my mince pies and way too good to throw out or leave to go past its best at the back of the fridge.

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I was also keen to have a try with my new cake mould, one with a perfect design for Valentine's Day which is only a few days away.  This is a silicone mould that I got some years ago but never used.  It was then packed and stored along with so many of our possessions for the move to France.  With the major building work over I am now unpacking all the bags and boxes and restoring our stuff to their rightful place in the house – something that is an absolute joy as long forgotten bits and pieces appear from the depths of a cardboard box, like this cake mould.  This particular box was labelled “last box downstairs” so I had very little idea of what was in it.

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For my cake I adapted a recipe on the Sainsbury’s website which you can see here, simply switching the mincemeat for the apples.  I also used a handful of pecans left over from one of those Christmas food gifts and also added a splash of milk to make the mixture slightly less stiff.

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The cake was delicious.  A really nice blend of spices, perfect for the time of year – we’re all focussed on spring being just around the corner but the reality is that it’s cold, wet and windy outside and the warmth of spices still go down a treat.  It had a nice crust, a lovely even crumb and went really well with a cup of tea in front of the fire while it was blowing a hoolie outside.

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I’m linking this post to this month’s Love Cake theme from Jibber Jabber UK which is “the month of cake” – apparently February was known as Solmonath to the ancient Anglo Saxons, which means the month of cake according to the Venerable Bede.  You can read all about it here.

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Also to this month’s Simply Eggcellent theme proposed by Dom of Bellau Kitchen is “anything goes”.  You can read about it here.

Ingredients

300g self raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground cloves

½ tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp salt

200g light muscovado sugar

4 eggs

200 ml sunflower oil

1 large parsnip, weighing about 200g, peeled and grated

4 dessert spoons mincemeat

60g pecan nuts, roughly chopped

1 tblsp milk

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160° fan / gas mk 4.  Liberally butter a large Bundt cake tin or mould. (You could use a 2lb loaf tin as in the original recipe.)

Sift the flour, salt and spices into a large bowl.  Stir in the sugar.

Beat the eggs and oil together and add to the flour mixture.  Mix well together then mix in the grated parsnip and mincemeat.  Add the milk plus a little more if needed to make the mixture less stiff.

Drop spoonfuls into the prepared tin or mould and bake for 25 minutes.  Then reduce the oven temperature by 10° or 1 mk and bake for a further 20 – 25 minutes until done. 

Cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out to cool on a rack completely.  Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Cuts into 10 – 12 slices.