This cake does not taste virtuous or excessively healthy, though it be composed of parsnip. It tastes delectable and rich, with accents of black pepper, lemon, hazelnut, date, and olive oil. It can be made without the glaze, in which case the sugar totals are reduced by about half, and you can call it a breakfast bread. But oh, that glaze sure is nice...
However you slice it, top it, or name it, the olive oil keeps this loaf moist and fresh for days. The recipe comes from Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables, by the guy with the Ava Gene's hat. We made it by hand, rather than in a food processor, as he specifies in his version. Because we’re old-school like that. And we like using these lovely bowls by Jason Sanovich so much.
Preheat the oven to 325° F.
Generously butter a 8x5 inch loaf pan. Add a small handful of flour, and shake to coat all surfaces; tap out any excess.
To make the glaze, stir together the lemon juice and powdered sugar in a bowl. Stir in one teaspoon of the lemon zest and several twists of black pepper. Set the glaze aside while you prepare the cake.
Grate the parsnips and measure the quantity; you should have about 1 1/2 cups.
In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt. Chop the dates, and add them to the dry ingredients; toss them until the dates are coated with flour and do not stick together. Add the hazelnuts and mix again.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and the remaining teaspoon of lemon zest.
Slowly drizzle the oil into the egg mixture while whisking, until the mixture is smooth and creamy and the oil is fully incorporated.
Add the parsnips to the dry mixture, and toss well to combine.
Pour the egg-oil mixture into the dry ingredients, and fold until the batter is well blended and no dry bits of flour remain.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick or knife tip inserted in the center comes out clean and the loaf is slightly risen. This takes 35-45 minutes in a metal pan, up to an hour in a heavier glass or ceramic vessel.
Remove the cake from the oven. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to release it from the pan.
Set the warm cake on a cooling rack or a plate, and drizzle the glaze all over the top while the cake is still warm.
Serve for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and call it by whatever name suits your mood.
It’s part of our mission here at Mountain Feed to help you make delicious, sustainable, homemade food more often. Stop by and say hello on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Or, as always, you can do it the old fashioned way and come by the store to speak with one of our in-house experts.