Root Cakes

Do you remember the first time somebody offered you a slice of carrot cake? You probably went, “urghh” or, “you can’t make a cake out of carrots” or, “get away from me you agent of Satan!”

Then you tried it and more than likely thought it was very nice. Why carrots though, why not other root vegetables? What makes carrots better than, say, parsnips?

I intended to find out.

Firstly I needed a carrot cake recipe. A quick google later and I found this good food carrot cake recipe that seemed to fit the bill.

I didn’t bother with the cinnamon, walnuts or pineapple because I knew the cinnamon and walnuts would remain in the kitchen for the next 5 years. We all know pineapple is far better in a delicious cheese and pineapple smoothie. I did buy carrots but not as many as the recipe suggested as I also bought the following root vegetables :-

  • Carrots – These were used as a control just in case I messed the recipe up.
  • Parsnips – Start with the easy one. Looks like an emo carrot anyway even if they taste different.
  • Sweet potato – I hope the sweetness would make a good cake ingredient.
  • Celeriac – I wasn’t even 100% sure if this was a root vegetable. It looked like one and wiki confirmed it was one. It also told me it can be known as the knob celery which made me giggle a little too much.
  • Beetroot – I like to imagine all soviet cakes contained beetroot.

I prepared the flour part and the egg part as listed in stage 1 on the good food recipe. I didn’t add the carrots as I was going to split the mixture into 5 equal parts.

I folded the two together and then processed all the vegetables separately to make then as small as possible. I wasn’t hand grating that lot! I did 40g of each vegetable.

I broke the folded mixture into 5 parts and mixed each vegetable into 1 part. As they were small I used a tray for making tarts instead of a big cake tin. Each veg mixture made two mini cakes.

I baked them for 30 minutes checking with a skewer to see when they were done. Meanwhile I made the icing as per the original recipe. When the cakes were done I left them to cool.

Once cooled I haphazardly added the icing and popped them into the fridge for an hour.

Just as they were ready to taste Mrs Fatuous and her friend returned from the restaurant. When they heard what I had done they wanted to try them. This scared me, I’m used to eating my own daft food ideas but these were innocent bystanders. I warned them but still they wanted to try them so we tried half a cake each.We’d all tried a different vegetable but we all liked the one we had tried so we chose different vegetables again.

We found out that all of them were nice and all of them tasted very similar. The sweet potato cake was judged to be slightly superior and the beetroot one was the most distinctive. I thought the celeriac cake left a slightly nasty aftertaste but nobody else did.

So there you go, if you fancy carrot cake but only have parsnips you have nothing to lose.


Day Five

It’s 1979, your first holiday abroad and you’ve got one of those fancy little compact cameras. You snap many memorable scenes, a straw donkey, a waiter pouring wine from really high up using a silly jug, Dad asleep on a lounger after too many sangrias, a cockroach etc. When you get hope you pop the film into a little envelope and send it off to prontoprint and wait. When the photos finally come back you open them up and discover that due to the viewfinder being slightly higher than the lens you’ve managed to chop the top of everybodys’ head off.

Not a problem with an SLR and not you’d assume a problem when you are drawing something for inclusion in an advent calendar. The “artist” didn’t send his pen off to prontodraw and then get the pictures back two weeks later to discover he’d forgotten his eyes were higher than his pen. Yet looking back at every window so far the tops have been chopped off. This wasn’t so obvious when we had the excitement of animals wearing hats but it must have registered in my subconscious yesterday with the tree and now with this Christmas cake it’s bloody obvious.

I can’t wait for the first angel that gets it’s halo chopped off.


Is it a biscuit or is it a cake? Neither, it’s meat!

About a month ago somebody on b3ta designed a new snack combining the joy of Jaffa Cakes with the meat and eggy goodness of scotch eggs. The result, that you can see an image of on b3ta’s forum, is the Jaffegg. At the time several people thought it was a marvellous idea and vowed to actually make a jaffegg cake. As far as I can tell nobody did. We now somebody has. Me.


To make jaffeggs you will need.

  • Sausage meat
  • Eggs
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Oil
  • Flour

Making a Jaffegg

First you need to make the sausage base. Put a bit of flour on a board and your hands so the sausage doesn’t stick. Roll the meat into a ball and then flatten it quite a bit. Finally use your thumbs to make a dent that will hold the egg yolk. I used normal sausages skinned rather than a packet of meat and one sausage made one jaffegg.

A made four in total. My plan was to make two with the yolks in and two that I added the yolks to near the end so the yolk was only partially cooked. I then brushed the top outer ring of each base with oil so the breadcrumbs would stick.

I then separated the egg yolks to add to the base to make the “smashing yellow eggy bit™.” This went relatively well and only one yolk out of four was sacrificed to the kitchen sink. I then carefully slid the yolk onto two of the bases.

Breadcrumbs were then sprinkled onto the top of the complete jaffeggs. The two that were having the yolks added to later I just sprinkled the breadcrumbs round the outside. I added some extra crumbs to the tray to sprinkle on afterwards. If you want to cheer up Gordon Brown you can use stale bread to make the breadcrumbs. I don’t think anything could put a smile on his face so I used the unnatural orange breadcrumbs that are used for scotch eggs.

They were then ready to bake. I shoved them in for 30 minutes at 180°c. I took them out five minutes from the end to add the yolks to the other jaffeggs before shoving them in again. That was the plan however the one’s without the yolks had shrivelled to half the size so the yolk just balanced on top and the spare crumbs had burnt. I had to sprinkle fresh crumbs on top and hope they cooked in five minutes. You have been warned.

When cooked I took them out of the oven and discovered they’d lost a lot of the jaffa cake shape and had become little round sausage UFOs* instead. *Unidentified frying object. Deep fat frying the cakes may well stop this happening but I don’t have one despite living in Leeds for a while when I was younger.

Time to cut the eggy bad-boy open to see if the basic shape was preserved.

Not bad at all. You can make out all the parts and they are roughly in the right place. The one’s I added the yolk to later looked all wrong. Like pac-man in a meat canoe with his mouth shut and cocaine all over his face.

I can report that both where lovely, like scotch eggs without the boring egg-white. Many thanks to Thor_sonofodin for the original idea.