We are naturally healthier during the summer, the heat and the sunshine makes us much happier to eat salads and fruits in abundance. During one of the hottest days last week i was looking into cakes that contained vegetables.
I always want to eat healthier, but when you have a baking obsession that you have to eat your way through doesn’t help. So vegetable based cakes seemed like the perfect way to make my baking at least seem healthier. There are classic vegetable cakes, such as beetroot and courgette, but when i came across a pea, lemon and vanilla cake by Veggie Desserts i was intrigued. It was different and sounded amazing.
I changed the quantities of Lemon and vanilla to make them more pungent, purely because peas are not my favourite vegetable, and so adding a small amount of lemon and vanilla to the peas as i pureed them helped tame the flavour of the peas. Also, my chief taste testers (my sisters) hate peas with a passion and so getting a positive response from them required the taming the taste of the peas and the upmost baking secrecy. Needless to say this was one time the kitchen was off limits whilst i baked.
The recipe turned out to, surprisingly, be very popular in the house. I think the pale green colour of the cake meant it was interesting to look at and got their attention. The strong lemon buttercream, tinted lemon yellow to help distract the eye, helped to keep their minds of the taste of peas until it was too late.
I have to admit i had a little super villain moment when telling them the ingredients!
Honestly, this cake was a great experiment, its made my sisters more determined to eat peas and i am definitely more open to baking vegetable cakes. I was definitely not a fan of this genre of cake until now. Give the cake a try, see if you can get it past determined pea haters… let me know how it goes in the comments.
Pea, Lemon and Vanilla Cake with a Lemon Buttercream:
- 275g Frozen Peas
- 200g Butter, room temperature
- 150g Granulated Sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 3 eggs
- Zest and Juice of 1/2 Lemon
- 250g Self raising flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 150g butter, room temperature
- Zest and Juice of 1 Lemon
- 300g icing sugar
- 1 drop of yellow food colouring
- Preheat the oven to 160C. Butter and Flour 3 6 inch cake pans.
- Cook your peas until just cooked (just a few minutes in boiling water should do). Drain and allow to cool.
- Add 1/2 tsp of lemon juice and 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract to peas and puree until completely smooth.
- In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar until light a fluffy. Stir in pea puree, vanilla extract, lemon zest and juice. Beat in eggs one by one until well combined.
- Gently sift in flour, baking powder and salt. Fold delicately to combine. This needs to be delicate to ensure you get as much rise as possible. Peas are heavy and you need to keep as much air in as you can.
- Equally divide mixture into tins and level. Bake in oven for 25-30 mins. When removing from oven, let cakes cool in tins for 10 minutes before turning out of tins and allowing to cool completely.
- To make icing, cream butter until pale and fluffy, add the icing sugar in three stages beating each time until pale. Add the zest, colouring, and a dash of lemon juice. If you need to add more lemon juice until you get the right consistency. Store in fridge until needed.
- To stack cake. Place a small amount of icing on plate or cake board. Place one cake layer onto icing. Pipe a thin layer of icing around the cake leaving a space about half an inch away from the edge. Place the next cake layer on top and repeat.
- To cover cake, pipe around the sides of the cake. Swipe upwards using a hard edged palate knife. Make this thick enough so cake can be seen. Pipe a spiral starting on the centre of the cake top outwards to finish.