I love watching baking and cooking programmes on TV, especially competitions such as the Great British Bakeoff. (There’s an Australian Bake-off too, and probably others; I just haven’t seen them.) Recently, in a similar vein, I discovered another series – Britain’s Best Bakery. In each episode three bakeries from different parts of the UK are pitted against one another. Each has to present the judges with a mouth-watering array of wares, along with a “signature” bake. There have been a wide variety of themes presented, including “vintage” bakeries featuring pretty cakes and pastries decorated – and flavoured – with roses (rosewater), good country breads and cobblers, and exotic items with a Middle Eastern influence, laced with herbs and spices.
One item that recently caught my eye was presented by a bakery that delves deep into old English baking traditions, including the incorporation of locally-grown, fresh-and-healthy products. This winner of the second series (2014), The Cake Shop Bakery in Woodridge, Suffolk, is run by brother-and-sister team David and Lindsay Wright. Their website claims:
Our bakery has a long history of creating beautiful cakes. We use the best ingredients available and take great care in designing cakes that are visually stunning and taste delicious. Our bakers have made cakes for Andrew Lloyd Webber, The Chelsea Flower Show, Harrods, Selfridges and many more happy customers.
Lindsay and David’s signature bake, a “root fruit cake”, includes grated root vegetables, chopped dried apricots and orange zest, rapeseed oil – not butter, and a healthier flour option – wholegrain spelt flour. This item required some research, both to find out exactly what spelt was, and the Swedish term for purchasing it locally.
Spelt, also known as “dinkel wheat” or “hulled wheat” (dinkelvete in Swedish), is an ancient grain dating back thousands of years. It was a staple in parts of Europe from the Bronze Age to medieval times, and according to Greek mythology, was given to the Greeks by Demeter, the goddess of agriculture and harvests. Today it is a “health” food, on the grounds that it contains less gluten than normal, modern wheat. Fortunately dinkelvete is available in COOP, my nearby supermarket.
The root veggies, in particular, resonated with me. These grow well and abundantly here in Sweden, where the earth is frozen for much of the year, and greens are only cultivated during the short summer months and refrigerated, grown in hothouses on an industrial scale, or imported. Every traditional Swedish meal features root veg in some shape or form: baby potatoes served with salmon and “sil” (herrings), mashed potatoes served with meatballs and lingon berry sauce (Sweden’s unofficial “national” dish), and roasted root veggies with many other dishes.
I did find The Cake Shop Bakery’s website here, but of course not their recipe. Further research turned up one very similar, concocted by the celebrated master chef Jamie Oliver, and this was the one I tried.
All the ingredients are available in COOP, but as I was going to be in the city, I decided to buy the pumpkin seeds at my favourite food hall: Hörtogshallen.
Located underground, beneath Hötorget (the Haymarket), this recently-renovated space is truly paradise for foodies. There are butchers that stock game meats such as wild boar, reindeer and elk, poultry and wildfowl, cheese stalls, fish and seafood counters, gourmet teas and chocolates, fresh fruits and vegetables, and the very best: a stall with a surround-counter piled high with dried fruits and nuts, trays of olives prepared in many different ways, hummus, pickled veg, unusual and imported goods, preserved ginger and chocolate-coated nuts and fruits, and plastic containers filled with herbs and spices from all corner of the globe. Beside many of these delectable goodies are small bowls filled with samples for customers to taste. Here I always procure for Peter a bag of sugared ginger, and of course far more enticing – but healthy – items that I never set out to buy!
Thus prepared, the bake-off began.
Here’s Jamie’s recipe, with my tweaks and comments:
- 70 ml cold-pressed rapeseed oil , plus extra for greasing the cake tin
- 2 medium carrots , 1 beetroot and 2 parsnips , each 100 g – I dislike peeling raw beetroot, which results in red hands for days, so I used bought, ready-peeled and -cooked packaged beetroot, and it was just fine!
- Grated rind of 1 orange
- 120 g quality maple syrup – I did not have enough, so substituted half with honey.
- 2 large free-range eggs
- 150 g wholegrain spelt flour
- 1 pinch of mixed spice – I would add more next time – and a pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 60 g dried apricots , preferably unsulphured
- 40 g pumpkin seeds , plus extra to decorate
- edible flowers , to decorate (optional)
YOGHURT & HONEY ICING
- 150 g cream cheese
- 150 g Greek-style natural yoghurt – this can be omitted. My 3% yoghurt was too runny, and the flavour in the icing not quite right, so I would leave it out next time.
- 25 g clear runny honey
- ½ teaspoon quality vanilla extract – make that 1 teaspoon rather
- 1 lemon – only a little juice is needed, for the icing
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Grease the base and sides of an 18cm loose-bottomed cake tin with a little rapeseed oil, and line the base with baking paper.
- Peel and grate the carrots, beetroot and parsnips into a large bowl.
- Finely grate the zest of the orange, and add two-thirds to the veg (reserving the rest for the icing) along with the honey, (to make the cake super healthy, I would use only honey, and not any syrup in the cake mixture), eggs and rapeseed oil. Fold in the flour, spice, baking powder and a pinch of salt.
- Finely dice the apricots, then add to the bowl along with the seeds. Mix everything until well combined.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the tin after 20 minutes, until the top is light pinky-golden and bounces back when pressed lightly, and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin. My cake needed 50 minutes to cook right through. It did not rise up at all as the mixture is quite heavy.
- Meanwhile, to make the icing, whisk together all the ingredients except the lemon juice, and most of the reserved orange zest, until completely smooth. Squeeze in a tiny bit of lemon juice and whisk in. Cover and pop in the fridge until needed. This it needs, to solidify a bit.
- When the cake is completely cool, transfer to a plate or stand, then finish with the icing, smoothing it all over the top of the cake with the back of a spoon or spatula.
- Decorate the cake with the remaining orange zest, extra pumpkin seeds and edible flowers, if you like, then serve.
- This cake will keep for up to five days in a sealed container in the fridge.
This cake is absolutely delicious, employing all the “good carbs”, if a bit “dense”.
JAMIE OLIVER’S WEBSITE WITH RECIPE here