This recipe for swede and ginger cake is a lovely way to use up a leftover chunk of one of our classic British seasonal vegetables. It's the time of year when gnarly root vegetables like swede appear in our vegetable bag. R and Miss R are, predictably, extremely suspicious of unfamiliar root vegetables. If I attempt to serve it mashed in with potato then they can detect it immediately and all hell breaks loose. I never imagined how much drama could ensue over a meal - sometimes it takes all my effort to keep my cool and maintain my "you don't have to eat it, just don't make a fuss about it" mantra.
So, mashed swede not proving too popular, I've been on the hunt for new ideas. Last week's swede from our Local Greens bag amazingly stretched to three meals. I made the swede speltotto dish (albeit with pearl barley rather than spelt) from Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall's Veg Every Day book, which fed D, Baby S and myself happily. I also mashed some of it with potato alongside sausages for our dinner another evening. However, I had a 200g chunk left so I decided to see what would happen if I stuck it in a cake.
One of the risks of recipe development is that you'll create something really horrible and have to throw it away. It doesn't happy to me that often, but on occasion it does and it's really disappointing. This cake was a bit of a risk, almost as much as the celeriac flapjacks that I made recently but it's honestly a real winner. The fiery ginger taste goes really well with the earthy taste of the swede. The kids loved it, although I didn't give any to Baby S because of the honey, which isn't suitable for under-ones. And, no-one could guess what the secret ingredient was.
2 large eggs
100g dark brown sugar
150ml sunflower oil
2 pieces of stem ginger, finely chopped
2 tbsp syrup from the stem ginger jar
175g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground ginger
200g grated swede
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line with baking paper a 20cm/8inch square cake tin.
Beat together the eggs, sugar, honey, oil, ginger and syrup in a large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and ground ginger. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined and finally stir in the swede.
Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool completely in the tin before turning out and serving.
This is fine un-iced but if you do want to ice it as I have simply mix together 100g sifted icing sugar with a couple of tablespoons of water. Add the water gradually, mixing it in as you go so it doesn't get too runny. If you put in too much water simply sift in a little more icing sugar. Pour over the cake and leave to set.