Special occasions such as birthdays often call for cake, and seeing that it was my birthday yesterday, I thought it only appropriate to whip up a little something special.
Those that regularly follow this blog would know that I am not a huge fan of cake, and I definitely don’t see the fuss in the more traditional Victoria-sponge style of cake. Instead I prefer cakes that are a little more wholesome. This cake is pretty special – it’s made entirely of wholefoods (I even made my own flour!) and has no added sugars unrefined or otherwise – it is sweetened entirely by dates and mesquite powder. For those that have not used mesquite powder here before, it is a low-GI mineral rich powder which is naturally sweet. It has a slightly nutty, earthy flavour to it which I think lends beautifully to this cake.
And of course – as indicated by the title – it includes parsnips. I love including vegetables wherever I can and I thought it quite fitting this week to include some vegetables in my cake after the new Nutrition Australia food pyramid was released placing vegetables first and foremost as the food source we should be eating most. (Stay tuned for a post in the next few days which l discussed the new guidelines in more detail).
Don’t let parnsip put you off though – this cake is a little similar to carrot cake in principal, but with parsnip taking the place of the carrot. The texture is a little more dense and the flavour a little earthier and slightly caramel – especially with the inclusion of the date and caramel frosting which is something I’m excited to experiment a little more with in the future – this stuff is gold!
A little side note here – something I have been talking a bit about lately (both on here and in less formal conversations) the idea of moderation and whether it’s okay to eat something “not so healthy” once in awhile. For me, I would definitely say ‘yes’. I personally aim to eat healthy 80% – 90% of the time which means that there’s room for treats and “less” healthy meals the other 10 – 20% of the time. This allows for the occasional meal out at a restaurant or friend/family members house where the meal may either not be in line with my normal way of eating (ie plant-based wholefoods) or we may be eating a bit more than usual. This is obviously a personal choice and I’m sure some of you may allow a little more leniency, but this is what I feel works for me and means that I’m still eating healthy for the majority of the week and therefore still feeling happy, healthy and full on energy – as soon as I start eating less healthy more often (which does happen occasionally because, well, life!) I start to feel tired, grumpy and lose motivation and energy. I hate feeling like this though which is usually just the motivation I need to start eating healthy again. Starting today – though my birthday cake was on the healthy side and packed full of wholefoods and even some veggies, I ate out three times over the course of the weekend, with wine at each meal, dessert at two of them and even some hot chips (a weakness of mine!) so I’m definitely not feeling at my healthiest today. Bring on the veggies!
- ¾ cup buckwheat flour
- ¾ oat flour
- ½ cup almond meal
- 3 Tbsp mesquite powder
- Pinch salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ¾ cup crushed pecans
- 8 medjool dates, pitted
- ¼ cup hot water
- ¾ cup coconut oil
- 4 eggs
- 2 medium parsnips, about 2 cups grated
- 6 pitted dates
- ¼ cup hot water
- Solids from 1 can coconut cream (around 1 cup)
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2 sliced figs
- 2 Tbsp pecans, chopped
- Preheat oven to 175 C | 350 F
- Place dates in a high speed blender and add hot water. Allow to sit 10 minutes.
- Add all dry ingredients to a bowl and mix well to combine. Set aside.
- Grate the parsnip by hand or using a food processer and fold through the dry ingredients.
- Add the coconut oil to the dates and blend on high until fairly smooth. Beat the eggs with a hand mixer until frothy and golden orange. Add the date mix and blend again another minute or so.
- Fold the flour and parsnip mixture through the wet mix.
- Pour into a lined springform pan and bake in an oven around 45 minutes.
- To make the frosting, add the dates to a bowl and cover with the water and allow to sit 10 minutes. Use a fork to mash the dates.
- Scoop the solids off the top of a can of coconut cream (this is easiest if the can has been placed in the fridge at least half an hour prior), and add with the date mixture and oil to a high speed blended. Blend until smooth. Pour into a shallow container and place in a freezer. Leave around half an hour to 45 minutes to thicken, stirring with a spoon every 10 minutes or so.
- Once the cake has baked, allow to cool and then frost with the icing.
- Decorate with slcied fig and extra pecans.
Happy Birthday!!! I hope you had a wonderful day. Well, it almost can’t not be wonderful when it includes such a cake :P Aboslutely stunning. And I love the idea of adding in vegetables.
I definitely think there should be space for not-so-healthy meals from time to time too. Otherwise your life becomes quite difficult.
Thanks for a lovely recipe!
Thanks Josefine! There is always space for a few little treats in my book :)
Hi Deearne, Happy Birthday!! I don’t really like cake either. I like it if it is so fresh that it’s still warm but otherwise think it’s a bit overrated. As for muffins….meh! Dry! I must say though that this cake looks VERY special and I would very much like to make it. I will stock up on some of the necessary ingredients and then have a crack. I love baking and cooking new things. I love that you ate hot chips and that you are keeping it real. I agree with all that you said about the bad foods vs wholefoods. There does need to be room for the odd indulgence but you do feel so much better after getting back on track and eating the good stuff huh? I need to go to sugar rehab. So, so hopelessly addicted to the stuff. You wouldn’t believe how much time I waste in a day thinking about it. Bec x
Oops, sorry, I have misspelled your name!
Hehe, thats okay x
Thank you Bec :) Urgh, why is it that muffins are always dry, everytime! This cake is definitely not dry, and is best served warm so I think you’d like it. And I know what you mean about the sugar – after a weekend of indulgence I’m finding it a little hard to stay clear of the stuff! Such an easy habit to get into – that stuff is addictive!
Katie @ Whole Nourishment says
Happy Birthday, Dearna! It’s okay, you deserve to have a weekend of indulgence on your birthday. ;-) And this certainly is a special looking cake. I wanted to try GKS’s spiced parsnip cake but never got around to it. Now this is really tempting me, for when parsnips come back in season here. Love the pecans in it especially!
Melinda @Home.Made.Interest says
Added this to my pecan round up. Wanted to let you know that the label on the first image says Pear not Pecan. I almost missed it. Just wanted to let you know.
Ooh, thanks so much for letting me know, I’ll fix it up :)
In the photo at the top of the paper it says, “Parsnip and Pear Cake.” ??? I assume this is a typo?–the pecans became pears in the alchemy of modern cooking?
Unfortunately my cooking skills are not that advanced Richard ;) Thanks for the pick up – I’ll update the image with the correct text shortly. -D
Made the cake without frosting. Very dense and low sweetness. Fair. Meh!
Laura Marcinkiewicz says
Delicious healthy cake. Reminds me of carrot cake, but with a twist. Love it for breakfast with hot barley drink! Thank you for this recipe
So glad you liked it Laura!