I have not been on a Parsnip Trip for a while, so that is the vegetable I chose to incorporate in my next cake made especially for my oldest niece celebrating her fourteenth birthday - a Retro Parsnip, Hazelnut and Violet Cake.
It took a while for the birthday girl, and my other two nieces to be both brave and tempted by a slice. I don't know if it was the thought of eating parsnips in a cake frightening them or the way I had dotted the parma violet sweets on top of the cake making it look a tad tacky, rather than retro. Regardless, I was pleased of it and knew if only they took one bite of it, they would like it - if not love it, and when they did - oh my goodness it disappeared from the cake stand as if by magic.
When I could not find my stash of crystallised violets, I had to make do with the floral scented parma violet sweets only to serve as eye candy. You can happily omit them if you so wish and I think I would too the next time I make this cake. I also had some purple sugar which I scattered over the cake like fairy dust. You can easily substitute the hazelnuts with walnuts or pecans if you wish, I only used hazelnuts as they were fast approaching their best before date, and nuts are too expensive to throw away.
Just look at the soft caramel coloured texture of this cake... makes me swoon. I am sharing a slice of this Parsnip, Hazelnut and Violet Cake into January edition of Simple and In Season, a monthly event created by Ren Behan at Fabulicious Food, who is also this months host.
Parsnip, Hazelnut and Violet Cake
Serves 8, maybe 10
175g butter, plus extra for greasing
200g caster sugar
100ml violet syrup
3 medium eggs
250g self-raising flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
250g parsnips , peeled and grated
60g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to Gas mark 4. Grease and line with baking parchment paper 2 x 8 inch sandwich tins. Melt the butter and sugar in a pan over gentle heat, then cool slightly and stir in the violet syrup. Gently whisk the eggs into the mixture, then stir in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Follow this with the grated parsnips and hazelnuts. Divide the mixture between the tins, then bake for 30 - 35 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool before turning out onto a wire rack.
For the filling
1 tablespoon violet syrup
300ml double cream
Edible crystallized Violet petals; or Parma Violet Sweets
Whip together the double cream and the violet syrup. Spread most of it over one cake and sandwich with the other. Then spread the top with the remaining violet flavoured double cream.
Scatter over some crystallised violets, purple sugar or top with Parma Violet sweets. Adapted from my Parsnip Cake recipe.