With Alison Greenhalgh of Groundwork South
A gardener, one of the great joys of autumn is, of course, the harvest.
My colleagues are often bemused by my passion for vegetable growing but they mock somewhat less when my groups produce delicious cakes!
While, autumn is often regarded as the time for making preserves and chutneys, ‘tis also the season for vegetable cakes. Carrot cake has been around for a long time but for some reason other vegetable cakes always raise an eyebrow or two. But, it’s a rare person who won’t give them a try!
I am a big fan of the River Cottage Veg book as it gives me something to do with pretty much everything we grow at Iver but one of the most used recipes in there is the Pumpkin Tea Loaf, mainly because it also adapts to courgettes and beetroots.
And before you shout: ‘But I don’t like beetroot, courgettes or pumpkin’, think again. One of the main reasons for including vegetables is for texture and moisture and there is no overt
Sflavour of the vegetable in the cake. And, if like me, you have veggiesceptic children, this is a very tasty (some may say sneaky?) way of getting some vegetables into them unnoticed.
My trump card is chocolate beetroot cake, a delicious rich, moist fudgy texture which the children merrily munch.
Pictured here is the Pumpkin Tea Loaf but made with beetroot and substituting raisins for dried cranberries. The advantage of this recipe is that unlike beetroot chocolate cake, you don’t need to pre-cook the beetroot as it is grated into the mixture.
For any of you out there who like all things pink, then this is the cake for you! It goes into the oven bright pink and exits marbled with deep pink beetroot strands.
Another great discovery last year was parsnip and maple syrup cake (known to my sons simply as maple syrup cake). It has a texture similar to carrot cake and is topped with a totally yummy maple syrup frosting.
So, take a look at your vegetable plot with a wider vision. Vegetables are not just for savoury dishes – they make delicious cakes!
Alison Greenhalgh works for
environmental charity Groundwork South as a horticultural therapist in Iver. After a successful career in sales and marketing, she retrained as an organic gardener and is also a master composter. Her column will