Parsnip Cake & A Cookbook Giveaway
November 19, 2012
In the 156 updates about the new house, here is the latest. A new dining room and chairs were delivered last Saturday turning the new pad into a real home. At least, that's how it feels to me. Seeing this new space where new and visiting friends would now gather and break bread with us truly made me feel peaceful.
Having been brought up among amazing cooks who took every opportunity to gather friends and feed and wine them, and where no Sunday was without a dozen people gathered at the dining room table, I knew the moment of feeling home would truly come when that corner of the house would no longer be empty.
Now, I am deep into looking at new recipes to cook and plan dinner menus for possible dinner parties. I am finally feeling a sense of being settled and started unraveling the cookbooks, the food stories, the imagery I had to set aside this whole summer and early Fall because of all the cacophony happening in my life.
It felt a bit strange to spend Sunday doing things just for me. Well, for the house really. I built some shelves, took care of the giant pile of leaves on the back deck, and did all the mundane things plenty of people do on a Sunday. Coffee and the newspaper in the morning. A walk in the park in the afternoon. Laundry, vacuum. Sundays were never completely mine as a freelancer. There was always a file to edit, a folder to send, a lot of backing up to do. And I admit, I am digging a good Sunday now...
Especially one that starts and ends with cake. A Parsnip cake to be exact. Think Carrot Cake but with parsnips instead. Not something this Frenchie would have ran to make had I not met the cookbook author behind the recipe, just very recently.
Meeting famed New Zealand cookbook author Julie Le Clerc was one of the highlights of the workshop I taught in Charleston last week where she was an attendee. Getting to know her personally, her food philosophy and realizing how much of a hard worker she is (writing, styling and shooting each of her books - all 14 of them), kind of made me fall even more with her recipes. Beside the fact that she is lovely, generous and humble in person...I did own a couple of her books prior to meeting her but had not spent enough time cooking from them.
After a great weekend of photo workshop alongside Julie and a dozen other talented women, I could not wait to get back home and take out her books from that big box staring at me since I had arrived in Birmingham. She definitely created a good cake when she included that recipe in her book, Julie's Favorite Cakes. The thing is, it does not taste "parsnip-ish" at all. Instead the mild flavor lets you enjoy the pineapple and frosting a lot more than if it had been carrot. I am definitely sold on the concept!
I realize that some of you may not know Julie and her recipes very well. To remedy that, I am giving away a copy of her latest book, Made By Hand. She brought a copy with her to the workshop and it is stunning. The design is lovely, the photography is superb and the recipes tempting. There are also icons with each one guiding you in your choice if you are vegetarian, celiac or grain free, without being necessarily geared toward one food choice over the other.
It makes cooking for friends that much easier...!
To enter the giveaway and throw your name in the hat to win a copy of Julie's book, just leave a comment at the bottom of this post between today, Monday November 19th and Friday November 23rd at midnight, central US time. One entry per person, no anonymous comment will be eligible. The lucky winner will be announced in a follow up post next week.
Parsnip Cake, very slightly adapted from Julie Le Clerc's recipe
I had enough batter to fill a 8-inch round and a 6-inch round baking dish.
1 cup sugar
1 cup olive oil (original calls for 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil)
1 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained
4 cups grated parsnip
1 1/3 cups flour (I use Jeanne's gluten free flour mix - it works with every recipe!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup dried cranberries (original calls for currants)
2 tablespoons ground cardamom (original calls for cinnamon)
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 10-inch baking pan.Whisk together sugar, oil and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the pineapple.
Place grated parsnip, flour, salt, baking soda, cranberries and cardamom in a large bowl. Pour in the wet mixture, stir well to incorporate. Spoon cake mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Once cold, cover with lemon cream cheese frosting.
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 cup cream cheese, softened
50 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup caster sugar
grated rind and juice of one lemon
Beat all ingredients together until creamy. Spread over cake.