It’s still winter so we might as well use what we got! This Root Cellar Cake celebrates the preserved and stored ingredients from harvest long past. The cake is filled with parsnips and flavored with maple. The frosting is subtle and doesn’t compete with the cake’s complex flavors.
It’s still winter. The reality is hard to handle. Just like a child counting down the days to Christmas, I’m counting down the days free of ice, snow storms, shoveling, and salting.
This cake uses the stored preserved items, just like the ones you’d find in a root cellar. Jarred good like evaporated milk and sauerkraut pair with the fresh parsnip. Obviously I had to use some fresh ingredients like eggs and lemon. Sauerkraut gives the cake moisture and texture. When baked the sauerkraut tastes like shredded coconut.
The Root Cellar Cake is for those chef-y people who hate dessert. You know the type. Those weird people who consider bruleed oranges, granola with yogurt, and cheese boards as dessert. This cake is subtly sweet. The maple and brown sugar are rounded out by lemon zest and sauerkraut. You get sweet and zippy, moist and textured all in one complex bite.
Can we discuss the phenomenon of the naked cake? Since when did the crumb coat become the finished layer? I know food is universal, but stylizing foods in certain fashions implies specific socioeconomic standings and moral values.
You know the cake. A naked cake is consumed by those people who play tourist upstate, buying cheese from the ‘local’ Hudson Valley. They have a ground level apartment off Bleecker Street. They are in neutral denim attire with their French Bulldog, casually carrying a $400+ dutch oven to a gluten free dinner party.
These are clearly generalizations, but there is some truth. Constructing a naked cake takes on the expectations of previous naked cakes. It cannot escape the preceding connections. The takeaway message is nothing is created in isolation.
Back to the Root Cellar Cake. Let’s put all of the connections and loaded implications behind. The cake taste amazing. The Root Cellar Cake is a perfect alternative to a carrot cake and you can surprise its consumers with it’s secret sour ingredient!
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- For the Root Cellar Cake:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks, 6 ounces) unsalted butter
- ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 3 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
- 3 cups grated parsnips, about 2 medium parsnips
- 1 cup sauerkraut, drained
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/3 cup evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the Marscapone Frosting:
- ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks, 6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 to 5 cups powdered sugar
- 4 ounces mascarpone, very soft
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 3 6-inch cake pans with baking spray.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice, set aside.
- Combine the butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup in a medium sauce pan over medium heat until melted and combined. Remove from heat, let cool, and then whisk in eggs.
- Whisk in dry ingredients. Fold in grated parsnips, sauerkraut, and zest. Stir in milk and vanilla.
- Divide batter between three pans and bake for 23 to 27 minutes, rotating halfway. A toothpick inserted should come out clean. Let cakes cool in pans for 5 minutes before inverting them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth, about 1 minute. Add vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar, beating for 2 to 3 minutes to become light and fluffy. With mixer on low add the very soft mascarpone, beating on a medium speed until incorporated. You don’t want to over beat mascarpone or else it’ll get grainy.
- Spoon a bit of frosting onto a cake board. Secure the first cake layer and apply some of the Mascarpone Frosting, apply the second layer and repeat. Top with the final third layer. Do a clean crumb coat. Chill for 10 minutes. Decorated the top as desired.