Sunday, 10 February 2013

Oh sweet vegetables

In Western cuisines exist quite some rooted restrictions, and fixed combinations of ingredients. However, taboos are being broken and cooking now becomes more and more an act of experimenting. Take for example the division between vegetables and fruit, which is often associated with the opposition of savoury and sweet; sugar or sweeteners are very incidentally added in lunches or diners, and vegetables are not often used in desserts or sweet bakeries. Carrot is one accepted exception, which is used as a sweetener since centuries. 
Owning a vegetable garden triggers you to find new ways of processing bulks of the same crop. If you think you used up all your vegetable inspiration, it is time to expand your sweet baking skills with vegetables! Think of carrot cookies, pumpkin cheesecake, parsnip cupcakes, beet-chocolate pie (my favorite, see picture below) or zucchini cake.

Beet-chocolate pie

In this way, you do not only present something original and eccentric to your guests, but it also makes these calorie bombs a little healthier and less heavy on the stomach. The vegetables make the cake smoother and fresher in taste and structure, while replacing massive cake contents.
Below, I will present the recipe for zucchini cake. In this one the zucchini does not define the taste, but makes the cake very soft and spongy (like pandan cake).

3 eggs
130 gr caster sugar
200 gr flour (+ some extra)
2 teaspoons baking powder
a little salt
150 ml sunflower oil
1 grated and drained zucchini (250 grams)
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 teaspoon grated ginger

Beat the eggs and sugar for some minutes until it becomes thick, light and creamy. Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt and stir it together with the oil lightly through the eggs. Then add the zucchini, zest and ginger. If the batter is way to fluid, add a little flour. Prepare a round baking tin (24 cm) and bake the cake 50 to 60 minutes in a 180°C preheated oven. Optional: top the cake with cream cheese mixed with lime juice, and caramelised or candied zucchini slices.

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