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Berwick, North Northumberland: Food-Travel-Culture-Community

Try the brown cake: it’s delicious!

I’m celebrating my love of the food columns and supplements in The Guardian by trying to cook at least one recipe from each issue of Guardian Feast in 2021. Find out a bit more about that here.

After the extravaganza that was Ravneet Gill’s miso caramel and chocolate tart (see my take on that here) in Guardian Feast Issue No.159, I’ll confess that Pamela Yung’s celeriac cake with winter citrus looked a tad dull. Still, I had a celeriac in stock so what the heck. Well. Pamela’s recipe does not so much reimagine celeriac as launch it into its own galaxy of cake heaven.

I can safely say that it was one of the most delicious raw cake mixes I’ve ever eaten.

By some miracle I had 180g of wholegrain spelt flour. I topped it up to 240g with rye flour. The eldest daughter doesn’t like celeriac (another good reason for disguising it in a cake!) or celery. I opted for another member of the Apiaceae family with a different flavour accent to replace the required dose of one teaspoon of celery seeds: fennel (I later found I didn’t have any celery seeds anyway). I completely missed the fact that I was supposed to add 100ml of grapeseed oil after the eggs – hey-ho, the finished cake didn’t seem to mind that I’d missed that particular memo. I licked the spatula after I’d scraped the mix into the greased and lined tin. I can safely say that it was one of the most delicious raw cake mixes I’ve ever eaten.

I suddenly started looking forward to the finished cake a whole lot more.

Meyer lemons are not something we have in this house or are ever likely to source in Berwick, so I created my ‘winter citrus’ garnish with bog standard lemons and oranges. I sliced the fruit and brewed the syrup while the cake cooked. My cake took about five minutes more in the oven than the max of 40 minutes that Pamela suggests.

I did just about wait for it to cool before I sliced, but that early taste had me impatient to try the end product. I whipped up the dollop of vintage crème fraiche I found lurking in a yellowing tub at the back of the fridge and garnished with a flourish of grated satsuma zest and hey presto! Even the celeriac-hating daughter declared it ‘delicious!’. The Husband agreed. His verdict: ‘A light cake with a richer darker flavour.’ You definitely get pops of earthiness but I’m not sure I would have identified celeriac if I hadn’t known. Yum.

This is definitely a recipe I would not have tried if I were not committed to my year with Guardian Feast. I’m very glad I did. Thanks Pamela Yung and Guardian Feast.

Original recipe:

Pamela Yung – Celeriac cake with winter citrus

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