I first created this satisfying cake in early January, using pantry staples and some leftover parsnips from Christmas.
Like so many of us, I often find myself buying more food than I need over Christmas, especially if I'm entertaining and am never quite sure how many people might be joining us at the dinner table.
My fear of not having enough food translates into buying way too much – so this year, one of my New Year's resolutions is to limit food waste, buying only what I need, and using everything up before buying more.
It's actually turned out to be quite a fun and creative way to cook, resulting in some of my most-loved recipes. It challenges me to create a tasty meal or dish using minimal fresh ingredients.
The secret is to keep a well-stocked store cupboard, which for me always includes tinned foods such as organic chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, beans, and pulses, alongside dried pulses, beans, grains, nuts, seeds, nut butters and pasta.
I grow my own herbs where I can, and it's essential to keep your spice cupboard topped up. I'm also never without garlic, onions and potatoes – I buy ready-chopped frozen onions to save time and tears, and make sure I always have a good supply, because onions form the basis of so many wonderful dishes.
Finally, your fridge should be filled with long-life ingredients such as pickles, fermented foods, miso pastes, mustards, plain yogurts, nut milks, ginger, chillis and plant butters. Give it a go yourself – and let me know how it goes!
So, back to this scrumptious loaf cake. It's gluten-free, refined-sugar free and, of course, vegan. It has a cashew and yogurt frosting, is topped with salted maple-parsnip crisps and a little fresh rosemary, and is moist and hugely satisfying – especially when enjoyed with a cup a tea or coffee.
Something to consider when serving this cake is that the parsnip crisps will quickly go soft on top of the frosting. This isn't much of a problem if you're serving it immediately and planning on scoffing the lot, but if you'll be eating this cake over several days, I recommend keeping the frosting and the parsnip crisps in separate airtight containers – the frosting in the fridge, and the crisps somewhere cool and dry.
That way, you can cut a nice slice of cake, add a dollop of frosting, a sprinkling of parsnip crisps, and a little extra drizzle of maple syrup, and it'll be as fresh as a daisy.
It's worth pointing out, too, that the crisps aren't essential – a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds on top is a lovely alternative.
2½ cups ground almonds
2 parsnips, grated to fill 1 cup
¾ cup oat flour, or oats blitzed to a flour
¼ cup roughly chopped walnuts
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
1½ tsp ground ginger
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
1½ tsp mixed spice
A good grating of fresh nutmeg
¼ cup oat milk
¼ cup groundnut or melted coconut oil
½ cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1½ tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
For the frosting
1 cup cashew nuts, soaked in boiling water for at least 30 mins
2 tbsp maple syrup
Juice of ½ lemon
Pinch of sea salt
¼ cup oat milk
½ cup plain or coconut vegan yogurt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
For the parsnip crisps
1 standard or 2 baby parsnips
2 tsp groundnut or melted coconut oil
2 tsp maple syrup
Pinch of sea salt
Handful pumpkin seeds
Few springs fresh rosemary
Drizzle of maple syrup
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