Excerpted from Back to the Cutting Board by Christina Pirello
This pretty cake is a splendid sweet and savory side dish. Smothered in caramelized, sweet root vegetables and topped with an orange-scented glaze, it brings together the most delicious complementary flavors.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
2½ cups whole wheat pastry or sprouted whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
Generous pinch sea salt
¼ cup avocado or extra virgin olive oil
½ to 1 cup unsweetened almond, oat, or soy milk
2 teaspoons avocado or extra-virgin olive oil
4 carrots, halved lengthwise
4 parsnips, halved lengthwise
Organic soy sauce, to taste
4 tablespoons brown rice syrup
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
To make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sesame seeds, baking soda, basil, rosemary, and sea salt and mix well. Set aside.
Begin the topping:
Heat the oil in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet (I like cast iron for this recipe) over medium-high heat. Stir in the carrot and parsnip halves, season lightly with the soy sauce, and stir until shiny with oil. Arrange the vegetables in a decorative pattern, covering the bottom of the pan. Add the brown rice syrup and orange zest and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the glaze is thick and syrupy and the veggies are golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so you can feel the glaze thicken. Remove from the heat and stir in the orange juice.
Mix the oil into the dry cake ingredients, then slowly stir in the milk until a smooth, spoonable batter forms. Spoon the batter evenly over the cooked vegetables, taking care not to disturb your pattern. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the center of the cake springs back to the touch. Cool the cake for about 10 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the rim of the skillet to loosen the cake. Place your serving platter over the skillet and carefully invert the cake. If any of the vegetables stick to the pan, simply remove them and replace them on the cake top. Serve warm or hot.