Monday 28 February 2011

White Wine Citrus Syrup Cake (GF & DF)

My sister and I are very close and have always got on well. Sure, we had our fair amount of arguments and times of jealously, but we were never the kind of sisters who slammed doors in each others faces or screamed we hated each other. Many of my fondest childhood memories involve my sister (and brother too). Things have been a little hectic and crazy for both of us recently and speaking on the phone one evening we realized we hadn’t seen each other, just us two, for several months. This would not do, so diaries were checked and we arranged to meet at her flat for a good ol natter over lunch.

Due to our combined dietary restrictions – vegetarian, coeliac and diary free – we decided to stay in and cook lunch ourselves. We tossed meals ideas back and forth and created our menu. For mains we made a scrummy wild mushrooms & roasted butternut squash risotto and dessert was an unusual citrus drizzle cake made using white wine!

I’d found the recipe for the white wine cake online and it looked so good that I knew we had to try it. It comprised of a lemon and orange scented almond cake, made with oil and white wine, lightly flavoured with cardamom and doused in a white wine and orange syrup. I’ve never seen wine used as a cake ingredient before and as we planned on using a little white wine in our risotto, it seemed the ideal time to give it a go.

So, how was it? Out of this world good! It’s deliciously citrusy, yet not overpoweringly so, surprising considering the amount of citrus that went into it. It’s got a sweet sticky top surface that yields to a moist and tender crumb. It has that wonderfully damp dense almond texture, while still being unbelievably light. We served in with some fresh strawberries but both agreed they weren’t needed. The cake was incredible!

Even though we were both full from lunch neither of us could resist having another slice. It may have been gluten and dairy free but there were certainly nothing lacking in the flavour department with this cake.

The amount of syrup for the cake looks a lot, but the cake just lapped it up and turned it deliciously moist, but not soggy. You don’t want soggy cake people! If you need to feed someone with food allergies – this recipe is sure to be a winner. Even if you don’t have any allergies but have some white wine open – try this – heck open the wine especially to make this cake – it really is that good!

White Wine Citrus Syrup Cake (GF & DF)
(Recipe adapted from Our Kitchen blog)
White Wine Citrus Cake
4 eggs
220g light brown sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 2 oranges
½ tsp (6) freshly ground cardamom seeds
100ml vegetable oil
110ml white wine (one with a fruity note is good)
90g Doves gluten free flour
1½ tsp gluten free baking powder
180g ground almonds

Preheat oven to 160C. Grease a 9inch/23cm round springform tin.
In a large bowl beat eggs and sugar together until they become slightly lighter in colour, about 2 minutes.
Crush and grind the cardamom using a pestle and mortar and it to the eggs along with the lemon and orange zest.
Gradually drizzle in the oil and wine, whisking all the time.
Scatter over the flour, baking powder and ground almonds and fold in using a spoon or spatula.
Pour the mix into the tin and bake for 45-50 minutes. It will be a light golden colour, springy to the touch and have a shiny top surface when cooked.
Meanwhile, make the syrup (below) to drizzle over the cake once cooked.
When cooked, remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the tin before removing to a serving plate.
Prick the top of the cake with a skewer or fork before pouring over the cooled prepared citrus syrup. You mat need to do this in 2 or 3 intervals, to allow the cake to absorb the syrup. Leave for at least 30minutes before cutting.
Keeps well for 3-4 days. The cake gets even moister and sticker the longer it sits.

Orange Syrup
110ml white wine
Juice of 2 oranges (use the zested ones left from making the cake)
75g caster sugar
6 cardamom pods

Crush the cardamom pods and place the little black seeds into a saucepan. Add the wine, sugar and orange juice. Heat gently until the mixture comes to the boil; then reduce to a simmer and allow to bubble for 10 minutes. Then remove from the heat and sieve the syrup into a jug to remove the seeds and set aside to cool.

Friday 25 February 2011

Total Greek Yoghurt Split Pots: A Review

I have said many times that I love yoghurt so when I was recently asked if I would like to trial some of Total’s new Greek yoghurt pots the answer was of course ‘yes please!’

Total are well known for their thick natural Greek yoghurt pots that come in whole milk, 0% and 2% fat varieties. Their new split pots are based on the increasingly popular fruit and yoghurt portion pots idea, teaming their 0% Greek yoghurt with a choice of three fruit compotes (blueberry, strawberry & tropical fruits) or runny honey.

Upon receiving my samples I was instantly drawn to the blueberry one. I don’t know what it is about blueberries that always attract me to them, maybe their unique dark moody purple colour, either way this was the first one for the taste test. The yoghurt was thick, smooth and very creamy, not something you might associate with a fat free yoghurt, which can be rather thin and watery. Not so with this yoghurt, it almost had the consistency of lightly whipped cream and tasted very clean and fresh. Checking the ingredients list I was pleased to see that it contained skimmed milk and a live yoghurt culture. Nothing else. No added stabilisers, thickeners, sweeteners or sugar. Just simple straightforward yoghurt.

The blueberry compote was glossy and a fabulous purple colour. On first inspection it looked smooth, but it was scattered with tiny whole dried blueberries which really enhanced and boosted the blueberry flavour. I found the compote a little sweet on its own but paired with the unsweetened yoghurt they balanced each other perfectly.

The strawberry version smelt amazing also contained small slices of real strawberry which is always good to see. I thought the compote was just a bit too jam-like for me though. This was fine when eating the yoghurt as a dessert, but a bit too much for breakfast. The tropical fruits pot was the black horse of the bunch. I put off trying it for a while as it contained kiwi which I don’t like and am slightly allergic to if eaten raw. However, when I did taste it I was amazed at how fruity and…for want of a better word, ‘tropical’ it was. It wasn’t sour of sharp and tasted strongly of passion fruit – delicious! There were little black seeds from the kiwi speckled throughout mixed with chewy pieces of papaya. This made it look very attractive and tasted great with the thick yoghurt.

Greek yoghurt and honey are a classic combination and when eating this pot I could see why. The sticky, sweet, golden honey was the perfect contrast to the thick Greek yoghurt. The flavour of the honey wafted up my nose the minute I peeled back and lid and intensified its flavour when I took a spoonful.

In summary all the split pots were delicious, with the blueberry and honey varieties being my favourites. I thought the fruit compotes were a little on the sweet side, but I absolutely loved that the Greek yoghurt was so lusciously thick, creamy and unsweetened. Too many companies seem to think they have to throw tons of sugar at yoghurts in order to get people to eat them. I for one am saying ‘no’ I love the natural, milky, ever so slightly sour taste of yoghurt and I applaud Total for not falling into this trap. This also makes them perfect for breakfast – on their own or added to your morning cereal or porridge, whilst still being indulgent enough to be enjoyed as a mid afternoon snack or dessert. Plus, they’re fat free! I even spooned some of mine onto some plain cake instead of cream, not quite so naughty, but oh so nice.

Sunday 20 February 2011

The Cake Slice February 2011: Coffee Heath Bar Crunch Cake (GF)

This months Cake Slice cake turned out to be a bit of a hidden gem of the cake world. It’s not much to look at, and reading the recipe I was left feeling a little underwhelmed by its description. However, as with lots of things in life, don’t judge too harshly by first impressions. Despite in rather plain and simple appearance this cake is layered with flavours of toffee, coffee and butterscotch.

The cake comprises of a light sponge, studded with tiny grains of instant coffee, which add little bitter coffee hits whenever you happen across one. I’ve never thought of adding coffee to a cake this way before, but I loved the contrast it added against the sweet brown sugar cake. Just before baking, the top of the cake is scattered with a light streusel mixture made from crumbled Heath Bars which gives the cake a little crunch and a fabulous butterscotch flavour.

Heath Bars are an American candy/chocolate bar of a thin layer of brittle toffee surrounded by a thin coating of chocolate. Very similar to Dime bars here in the UK. I didn’t have access to Heath Bars, but I did have a bag of Heath Chips (toffee pieces) sent to me from America by the lovely Monica. I used those and loved the toffee butterscotch flavour they imparted.

I baked my cake for 15 minutes less than the recipe suggested after other bakers had commented that their cakes were cooked much before the time given. The resulting cake was light, soft and tender with a very fine crumb. It did crumble a little, but I suspect this was mainly due to my use of gluten free flours than the cake itself. It tasted delicious when served with a few raspberries.
Click here to see The Cake Slice blogroll

Coffee Heath Bar Crunch Cake (GF)
(Recipe from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman)
For the Cake
180g plain flour (I used 100g buckwheat & 80g brown rice flour)
1 tbsp instant espresso powder
1½ tsp baking powder (I used 2tsp)
½ tsp salt
100g unsalted butter, softened
220g light soft brown sugar (I only used 170g)
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1½ tsp vanilla extract
220ml milk
(1tsp xanthan gum if making gluten free)

For the Streusel
50g chopped Heath bars or brittle toffee/butterscotch
2 tbsp light soft brown sugar
2 tbsp plain flour (or rice flour)
15g butter, softened

Method – Streusel
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a 9inch round springform pan.
Combine the Heath bars, brown sugar, flour and butter in a medium mixing bowl. Work the mixture with your fingers until it resembles large crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Method – Cake
Combine the flour, espresso powder, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
Combine the butter and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. With the mixer on low speed, add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla.
With the mixer on low speed, add a third of the flour mixture and then half the milk, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Repeat, alternating the flour and milk, ending with the flour.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer with a spatula. Scatter the streusel onto the batter, distributing it evenly over the cake.
Bake the cake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes (Mine was done in 40minutes). Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Release the sides of the pan and use a large spatula to slide the cake from the pan bottom to onto a wire rack. Cool completely, cut into wedges and serve.
Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Makes one 9 inch round cake

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Celebrating my 4th Blog Anniversary with Fruity Orange Tea Loaf GF

Wow I can’t believe it's been 4 years today since I started my little blog. At the time I don’t think I would ever have imagined I’d still be blogging 4 years later. I’m pleased to say I get just as much, if not more, out of blogging now that I did when it was all new and exciting. Blogging has opened my eyes to the recipes, cuisines, cultures and weird and wonderful ingredients there are available out there in the world. It has encouraged and enabled me to make dishes I would probably never have attempted or even heard of if I had not discovered blogging. You, the readers and other bloggers are mostly to thank for this – so thank you! Ok, enough of the Oscar impersonations!

One of my life’s little pleasures is always having some sort of sweet treat after lunch. I’m a firm believer that a little bit of what you fancy does you good! Sometimes I crave slices of rich and indulgent cake, while other times a simple pot of yoghurt fits the bill perfectly. Recently I’ve been after something sweet, yet simple and homely. Nothing too elaborate or fussy and this fruity orange tea loaf is perfect for just such a craving.

I recently received an email from a family friend who said she had been advised to follow a wheat free diet. She had bought a gluten free fruity cake when out for the day and enjoyed it so much she wanted a recipe to make her own. She described a moist, richly fruited loaf cake and identified the fruits it contained. She asked if I had a recipe. I didn’t, but never one to pass up a challenge I told her I’d see what I could do and this moist, fruity, lightly spiced tea loaf is the result.

The ingredients list she gave me included fruit juice, but no oil or butter. Based on this I decided that the bread was probably similar to a tea loaf – where fruits are soaked overnight in strong tea before being baked into a cake, with the extra tea used as the liquid/binding agent. I decided to use a mix of dried fruits and soak them in fresh orange juice to achieve a similar result. This worked brilliantly and resulted in extremely plump and juicy fruits and really enhanced their flavour.

The batter is very soft and wet, but it has a long slow bake in the oven which allows a thick, slightly chewy sticky crust to form, while keeping the inside lovely and moist. The batter looks as though it’s going to overflow from the tin, but it doesn’t rise much due to its high fruit to batter ratio, so there were no oven disasters.

Despite being densely fruited, the cake itself is not in the least bit dense. It’s soft and springy and actually makes a ‘squish’ sound as you take a bite through all the succulent fruit. It’s a delicious way to have a bit of ‘me time’ snuggled on a comfy chair, tearing off little bits with your fingers. Plus, with no added fat there’s no need to feel guilty about it either.

Fruity Orange Tea Loaf GF
Ingredients100g dates – stones removed (if pre-chopped make sure they are dusted in rice flour, not wheat flour)
100g sultanas
100g raisins
50g dried apricots
275ml fresh orange juice
150ml water
50g soft brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp mixed spice
Zest of 1 lemon
250g gluten free self raising flour
20g ground almonds
½ tsp gluten free baking powder

MethodChop the dates and dried apricots into pieces the size of a large raisins and add them to a bowl along with the sultanas and raisins.
Measure the orange juice and water into a small saucepan and heat until steaming. It does not need to simmer or boil. Pour the hot juice over the dried fruit, stir briefly and then cover the top tightly with clingfilm and leave to steep overnight or for at least 10-12 hours.
The next day, the fruit will be very plump and juicy looking. Some of the fruit juice will still remain in the bowl which is fine.
Grease a loaf tin, approx 10x20cm, and pre-heat the oven to 150C and line the base and up the two longest sides with a long strip of greaseproof paper.
Stir the sugar, mixed spice and lemon zest into the soaking fruit. Stir until the sugar has mostly dissolved.
Add the eggs and mix well until they are evenly combined.
Scatter the flour, almonds and baking powder over the surface of the mixture. Use a large spatula or wooden spoon to beat the flour into the fruit mix, starting in the centre and working your way out towards the edge until everything is well incorporated (it will be a very wet mix).
Pour the batter into the prepared tin (it will reach the top) and bake for 1 hour and 30 – 40 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out relatively clean (it may still be sticky if you hit a raisin).
Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Serve in thick slices. I like it just as it is but it can be served with butter if that’s your thing.
Keeps well for 3-4 days wrapped in clingfilm and tastes great lightly toasted under the grill (don’t put it in a toaster!)

Sunday 13 February 2011

Tickled Pink Beetroot Cupcakes for Valentines Day (GF)

On one of my recent visits to a health food shop in search of some gluten free flours I came across a jar of beetroot powder. What drew my attention was its vibrant purple colour. I had never seen anything like this before and instantly added it to my basket, despite having no clue what to do with it. It turns out it is dehydrated beetroot that has been crushed to a fine powder. Beetroot is highly nutritious but what you are meant to be with the powder I have no idea. The minute I unscrewed the lid the scent of pure beetroot wafted up. Earthy, sweet and mysterious. Have you ever seen anything like it before??

I knew instantly I wanted to try baking with it and decided to use it for some Valentines day inspired cupcakes. When I added it to the cake mix the batter turned a vibrant shocking purple colour. I was so excited and decided I could make some purple velvet cupcakes, based on a red velvet cupcakes – only with natural colouring! However things didn’t turn out quite as I’d hoped. After baking, the tops of the cupcakes were a rich deep reddish-purple colour but when I bit into one the inside crumb colour was a reddish golden, rather than the deep rich purple colour I’d hoped for. I’ve seen this happen with other beetroot cakes – what chemical baking magic happens in the oven that makes the colour evaporate I don’t know, but at least they had a lovely golden colour. (Sorry for the lack of photos of the batter, I was so excited I forgot to take any!)

Despite being a little disappointed at the colour, I’m not one to let perfectly good cupcakes go to waste and so decided to decorate them with pink heart sprinkles and some sparkly new edible glitter I’ve just discovered. I also made a few love hearts out of fondant for a more personal touch. The cupcakes themselves were delicious. Light and moist thanks to the almonds and sour cream. The beetroot lent a subtle earthy sweetness to the cakes that was not obviously beetroot, but just added that little something extra. I’ll have to experiment again and try adding more beetroot powder for a stronger hit. Whoever you spend it with – have a great Valentines Day!

P.S. anyone know what the real use of beetroot powder is?

Tickled Pink Beetroot Cupcakes
80g gluten free Doves self raising flour
40g ground almonds
120g unsalted butter
120g caster sugar
2 tsp beetroot powder (available for some health food shops or online)
2 eggs
1 tbsp sour cream
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 170C and line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.
Make sure the butter is very soft. Place the butter, flour, almonds, sugar, beetroot powder, baking powder, sour cream and eggs into a bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. (It will be a shocking purple colour)
Divide the batter into each cupcake liner and bake for 18-20 minutes until risen and springy to the touch.
Transfer to a cooling wire and leave to cool completely before topping with buttercream.
Makes 12 cupcakes

Simple Vanilla Buttercream
130g unsalted butter
260g icing sugar
30ml milk
1 tsp vanilla

Make sure the butter is soft before beating it until light and fluffy.
Sift over the icing sugar, half at a time, beating it into the butter between each addition. Add some of the milk if the mixture is too stiff. Finally beat in the remaning milk and vanilla until you have a smooth creamy icing.
Pipe the buttercream on top of the cupcakes using a star nozzle.
Decorate with sprinkles and edible glitter or any other way you wish.

Thursday 10 February 2011

Apple & Elderflower Gluten Free Granola

I love the toasting smell of baking homemade granola, almost as much as I enjoy eating it. The weather outside is quite miserable at present, overcast with strong gusty winds that play havoc with my long curly hair. The phrase ‘hedge’ and ‘backwards’ come to mind the minute I step outside these past few days. So today I decided to stay indoors and indulge in a little granola making. There is nothing like the warm toasting aroma of nuts and grains to make me feel all warm and cosy.

I’m still not allowed to try eating oats at the moment, so I had to experiment with some other gluten free grains and cereals. I was a little unsure how they would take to being toasted, but they worked perfectly and resulted in a much wider variety of flavours and textures than if I had used oats.

As I was hunting in the cupboard for some honey, I can across a jar of homemade elderflower syrup that I made last summer. It was meant to have been elderflower jelly, only it didn’t set and I ended up with syrup instead. At the time I was annoyed and stuck it in the cupboard but now I saw the perfect way of making use of it and decided to use that instead of the honey for the mix.

The millet flakes and ground linseeds are quite fine and powdery, but rather than be lost amongst the mix, the elderflower coating caused them to stick to the larger nuts and grains, giving them a fabulous knobbly nutty crunchy surface. Plus, it means there is no powdery dust lingering at the bottom as can happen with some mixes.

The aroma that wafted from the oven as the granola baked was almost intoxicating. Warm toasty nuts and grains mingled with sweet fragrant scent of the elderflower. Very summery and smoothing.

The elderflower is not immediately apparent once the granola has cooled down but as you chew a spoonful, it develops into a wonderfully subtle floral sweetness with almost honey overtones, only a little lighter and more delicate.

Brown rice flakes are not usually all that palatable eaten raw, as they can be a little chalky and tacky once wet. I often combine them with some other flakes to make porridge, but in this case they work perfectly in the granola. The toasting in the oven makes them crisp and crunchy, adding a great texture alongside the other ingredients.

Each flake, puff, nut and fruit add their own unique flavour and texture, creating one delicious and highly varied mouthful of granola. Wholesome, healthy and delicious. The perfect way to start a morning, although, I can see myself munching a handful of this at any time of day. Tray a bowlful with a little cold milk when it’s still warm from the oven – gorgeous!

Apple & Elderflower Gluten Free Granola
50g millet flakes
50g brown rice flakes
30g buckwheat puffs
25g brown rice puffs
40g corn/flax/quinoa/amaranth flakes (Nature’s Path, Mesa Sunrise brand)
35g flax/linseeds
30g pecans
30g hazelnuts
20g flaked coconut
40g dried apple rings
40g dates
2 tbsp neutral oil (I used rapeseed)
3 tbsp elderflower syrup/cordial

Preheat the oven to 170C.
Roughly chop the nuts and place them into a large bowl along with all the flakes and puffs.
Pulse the flax seeds in a small processor until crushed and broken, but do not blitz for too long or they will start to turn to mush. (You need to crack them to release their goodness as the body can’t break down their skin if left whole). Add them to the bowl.
Mix the oil and elderflower syrup together in a glass and then pour over the dry ingredients. Mix and toss everything together well, ensuring that all the ingredients are lightly coated in the syrup.
Pour the grains onto a large baking tray with sides. Shake gently to spread the mixture into an even layer and bake for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, weigh out the coconut and keep to one side. Use scissors to cut the dried apple and dates into small pieces, about the side of a hazelnut.
When the 10 minutes are up, remove the tray from the oven, scatter over the coconut and mix everything together to ensure an even browning.
Return the tray to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes more. Keep an eye on it as you don’t want the coconut to burn.
Remove the pan from the oven, scatter over the apple and dates and mix well. Leave the granola to cool on the tray before storing in an airtight container until required.
Crisp, nutty, chewy, fruity and crunchy with a subtle fragrant elderflower sweetness. Gorgeous eaten ever so slightly warm with cold milk or yoghurt.

Wednesday 9 February 2011

No Animals Were Harmed in the Baking of this Bread!

This was the sight that greeted me when I lifted the lid on the bread maker this morning. I decided to try baking a gluten free loaf in the bread maker again. I have tried once before and ended up with a brick of wallpaper paste but felt this time might be better. The smells coming from the machine were promising but it seems smell can be deceptive. My bread ingredients seemed to have vanished and been replaced with something resembling half a squashed hedgehog…??

It had not mixed properly as there were shards of burnt crust flicked up the sides of the bowl and odd spikes and pools of different coloured flours. The bread/thing was all squished into one corner as if it too was ashamed to call itself a loaf. That hole in the bottom was meant to be the middle of the loaf – where the paddle goes. The site was so funny I couldn’t help but laugh.

Oddly enough, if you cut straight into the middle the bread inside is not all that bad. It had a good flavour, slightly sour somehow and very moist, although rather dense and a little squeaky around the crust (maybe it’s a hedgehog that ate a mouse?)

The crust had quite an appealing dark chocolaty brown colour (once you get passed the squashed hedgehog appearance) and the inside was a duller greyer brown hue. I liked the overall flavour, so I will try the bread again, only this time I think I’ll trust my own hands and forget the bread maker!!! What happened – any ideas?? I used the gluten free setting on the machine and put the ingredients in the right order. Anyone else got odd results from a bread maker?

Sunday 6 February 2011

Parsnip, Apple & Orange Pecan Cake with Maple Mascarpone Frosting (GF)

This cake may well be the best cake I have made in weeks…months…possibly even all year! I know that’s an incredibly bold statement, but eat a slice of this cake and you’ll see where I’m coming from. It’s moist, slightly sticky, sweet and jam packed full of flavour. It’s fruity, a little nutty and filled with a luxuriously creamy maple mascarpone frosting.

Parsnips in a cake may sound like an odd idea, but they are sweeter than carrots and they often make an appearance in baked goods. Just as with carrot cake, you don’t take a bite of this cake and think ‘parsnips’ they are there to add a natural sweetness and incredible moist texture. Apple and orange also lend their juicy sweetness and it’s actually the flavour of the orange and spices that hit you first, before all the other flavours and textures pop up. The mascarpone frosting is only slightly sweetened with the maple syrup, retaining a lot of its cooling creamy smoothness which leaves a wonderful rich and decadent feeling in your mouth that has you clamoring for another bite.

The texture of the sponge is moist and slightly dense, but in a gorgeous sticky fruity way. You can see from the slices that this doesn’t prevent it from being a light, springy cake. It needs that little bit of substance to support and balance the combination of flavours.

I made this cake for my mum’s birthday last week. I actually found this recipe a year ago, just after her last birthday, and have been sitting on it for a year, waiting for parsnips to come back into season and for her birthday to roll round again. It was definitely worth the wait and due to its moist texture, a simple flour substitution was all that was required to make it gluten free. Best cake ever!

Parsnip, Apple & Orange Pecan Cake with Maple Mascarpone Frosting (GF)
(Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food)
175g butter
200g light soft brown sugar
100g golden syrup
3 eggs
250g Doves gluten free self raising flour (or regular flour)
2tsp gluten free baking powder
2tsp mixed spice
250g parsnips (about 2 large)
125g eating apple (I used Cox)
50g pecan nuts
Zest and juice 1 orange

Maple Mascarpone Frosting
250g mascarpone cheese
2tbsp maple syrup
3-4tbsp milk

For the Cake
Heat oven to 180C. Grease and line two 8inch/20cm sandwich tins.
Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup together in a large pan over low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, Peel the parsnips and coarsely grate them along with the apple (you can leave the skin on but remove the core). Roughly chop the pecans and finely grate the zest from the orange.
Using a large spatula, whisk the eggs into the melted sugar mixture, then stir in the flour, baking powder and mixed spice. Add the parsnip, apple, pecans and orange zest. Squeeze in the juice from the zested orange and mix well.
Divide the batter between the tins (it will be quite full) and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and the tops spring back when pressed lightly.
Allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.

For the Frosting
Place the mascarpone in a bowl and leave for 15 minutes to warm to room temperature.
Add the maple syrup and beat together until well incorporated. Add enough milk so that you achieve a thick, yet spreadable consistency.
Place one cake layer on a serving plate and place spoonfuls of the frosting over the surface. Use a knife to spread the frosting out into an even layer, right to the edges of the cake.
Top with the second cake layer and dust the top lightly with icing sugar.
Serve in generous slices. The cake becomes even moister and stickier the following day.