The fabled, long lost celeriac cake recipe. Today I’m writing about a cake inspired by the ever popular carrot cake, but with a spin to make something completely different, a cake created with the beautifully ugly vegetable, celeriac, using no refined sugar. Celeriac cake is something which crosses the boundaries between sweet and savoury, because although this is undoubtedly a sweet cake, you still get some of the lovely celeriac flavour coming through, which creates a really interesting flavour along with the soft sweetness of honey and decadent walnuts. I’ve topped it with a no added sugar vegan frosting recipe that I wanted to try out and I’m really pleased with the results, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
The Cake that Never Was.
Several weeks ago I took to Twitter in a state of utter despair. I was in the middle of a building site, AKA my flat, with disparate jobs half completed by some absentee builders. These utter, utter bastards had started various jobs and then completely disappeared. Then they came back, then they disappeared. Their contracted 3 week schedule rapidly stretched out to four, five, even six weeks. I had displayed a remarkable amount of forethought and preparedness by photographing a months worth of blog recipes, prior to the work starting, being fully aware that my kitchen and photography area would be utterly disrupted for a few weeks.
On the fourth and final week of pre-made photos, I sat down on Friday morning to write a post, reeling from the stress of builders who don’t do what they say they will (as if I should be surprised by that, my recent experience of builders has been awful), only to find week 4’s photographs were nowhere to be seen.
It was final nail in the coffin of my repressed anger, I broke down and quietly wept (or more likely, I just swore, a LOT). I searched everything three times. Memory cards – No. External hard drive – No. Anywhere else? No. Crap. It was the last thing I needed in a week that was already awful. I gave up, walked away and wallowed in my sadness, bereft after the pride of being so organised, only to find I had let myself down at the final hurdle. My kitchen was in no fit state to produce and photograph things, so my blog was left wanting that week.
You see, the photographs were there all along. They were sitting there the whole time on my external HDD, under the name ‘honey walnut celeriac cake’. There are probably many reasons why I missed them, first and foremost because of the name. I generally name things with the primary ingredient first, which in this case would be ‘Celeriac’. I’d obviously skipped that convention for the more alluring ‘honey walnut’, which cloaked this folder with invisibility. I also created a second folder called ‘Celeriac cake with honey and walnut’ which was empty, a little decoy which I cannot explain, that I had subconsciously created, only to parry myself into deeper levels of despair upon finding it’s bare innards.
But more than that, I obviously had a psychological block. The photos were there all along. Despite the naming, despite the similar, yet empty folder, the real images were always there. They were hidden in plain sight, I couldn’t see the wood for the trees, they were right in front of me.
More Pain, Please.
But that’s the thing, people often attract what they project in life. People who project sadness attract sadness, people who project joy attract joy. I was annoyed, angry, upset, depressed and tired about everything else going on in my life. I didn’t see those images because I didn’t want to, part of me wanted more pain so that I could shout and curse and complain. None of this was done consciously, of course. In retrospect, it’s easy to see that by exercising some pragmatism I could have carefully sifted my blog photos folder and found these images. I, however, was aligning with frustration and disappointment, so I searched unsuccessfully for the images several times, then quickly ran to Twitter to bitch, complain and have a small nervous breakdown, because all of those actions would make me feel justified in my frustrations.
Sometimes, it’s hard work trying to keep up with my own mind.
Cake, glorious cake.
At the end of this story is one of the fine things in life, cake. Whenever I get a new notebook which has ‘reward’ in the front I always write ‘cake’, because if anything would convince me to return lost property, it’s the promise of a good cake at the end of it.
My cakeist leanings are towards hearty and wholesome slabs, rather than light and airy sponges. I like a cake that’s got balls. Something that’s more of a meal-in-a-slice rather than a delicate little sweet. Carrot cake has always been a favourite (of course) so I thought why not make a cake with one of my favourite veggies – celeriac. I know from experience that Celeriac roasts into a lovely sweet vegetable, so the creation of a celeriac cake seemed like a great idea.
This cake falls into the hearty category of cakes. Being composed mainly of spelt, rye and celeriac, it’s a firm, dark cake which leaves you full up and keeps you going for quite some time. I wasn’t ready for another slice for at least 5-10 minutes. The celeriac adds a great flavour, you can really taste it and it works amazingly well in a sweet dish. It’s not conventional, but there are a million and one blogs out there with carrot cake recipes, so I wanted to do something different. After all, I’m not doing this for the popularity, I’m doing it because I enjoy it and experimenting and trying new things makes me happy.
I hope you make the cake and enjoy eating and sharing it, if not, I hope you enjoy the photos and words. Either way, I hope have a good day.
Honey Walnut Celeriac Cake
By Gavin Wren
Uses two 20cm springform cake tins
100g wholemeal spelt flour
100g rye flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
60g chopped walnuts + extra to garnish
2 large eggs
100ml ground nut oil (you can also substitute this for other oils)
100g plain yoghurt (any type such as cow, goat, soya etc)
300g grated celeriac
160ml Coconut cream (comes in a small tin, with a consistency like cream. It is NOT ‘creamed’ coconut, which is a solid bar)
0.5 teaspoon Xantham gum
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Grease and line two 20cm springform baking tins.
Sieve the flours, baking powder and cinnamon into a large bowl, stir through the chopped nuts.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil and honey until they’re all really well mixed. Stir through the yoghurt and then mix in the grated celeriac.
Add the ‘wet’ bowl contents to the ‘dry’ bowl and mix it all together. Divide between the two baking tins and place in the oven for 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
To make the frosting, place the walnuts in a small food processor with the standard blade attachment and blitz them until the begin to form a paste. You will need to stop occasionally to scrape bits of nut off the sides of the processor. When it’s become a rough paste, add the coconut cream, then the honey and cinnamon and continue to blitz until it’s all created a creamy paste. Finally, add the xantham gum and briefly blitz, it should very quickly become a thick paste.
When the cake is cooked, remove and cool on a wire rack. Spread half of the frosting on top of one half of cake, stack the other piece of cake on top, then top the cake with the rest of the frosting. Add walnuts pieces to the very top.
Now serve and eat.