Let me preface this post by saying that I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. It’s not that I don’t LIKE the flavour, I just don’t know how I feel about it. I mean, it’s not right, is it? Butter, eggs, walnuts, a bit of milk, honey, flour and…. mushrooms. WTF! I was so uncertain about it that I had to force feed it to anyone I could get my hands on. I stopped short of telling people what was in it until after they’d tasted it. I wanted them to have an open mind, experience the flavour free from any influence that knowing the key ingredient might have had on their experience. I didn’t want them biting into the cake and looking for the mushroom flavour because I knew that most, if not all, of my unwilling victims would run screaming for the hills had they known what they were getting themselves into. Thankfully I have some very willing testers who agreed that the flavour is goooooood, the crumb is delicate and it goes down a treat with a cuppa mid-afternoon. Responses included: ‘It’s banana and walnut cake, isn’t it?’, ‘It tastes healthy, like there’s not a lot of sugar in there’, ‘it’s good, what’s in there?’. I really should have set up some kind of candid camera to film their responses as I broke the news. Eyes widened and then narrowed ‘…..oh yeaaaaah! ew!’.
So why am I making a cake with mushroom in it, you ask? It is time again for the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop, hosted this month by the effervescent JJ from 84th & 3rd. JJ has just returned from an enviable trip around the United States and, as she tells it, is in dire need of some TLC in the form of clean eating and exercise. It sounds like sugar, dairy and anything fatty is basically off the menu for JJ so when it came time to choose the theme for the blog hop this month, it seemed fitting that she would go with ‘cake and three veg’. The idea was simple, create a dessert using a vegetable of some description. Now I know mushrooms aren’t technically a vegetable, but this is a recipe I’ve been wanting to have a go at for a while now. I can’t remember how I came across it, but it was one of those recipes you clip and always have on the boil at the back of your mind.
So what’s the deal? It’s basically a butter cake (sorry JJ!), cream the butter and sugar, add some vanilla, flour, milk and eggs and then you add a heaping pile of finely diced button mushrooms. Round out the flavour with some honey and walnuts and you’ve got yourself a mushroom cake. It cooks well and unless you are looking for it, you won’t know that it is chock full of ‘shroomy goodness. It seems important here to point out that mushrooms are full of all the good stuff like vitamin b12 and D, and research also suggests that people who eat mushrooms are less likely to suffer the blight of breast and prostate cancer so adding a few mushrooms to your baked goods doesn’t seem like such a silly idea after all. I encourage you to try it and let me know what you think, am I deluded? Maybe, but don’t knock it til you try it.
- 125g unsalted butter, cut into cubes.
- ¾ cup caster sugar
- a few drops of vanilla essence
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups wholemeal self-raising flour
- ½ cup milk
- 400g finely diced button mushrooms
- ½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- 2 heaping tbspns of honey
- Heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
- Grease and line a 20cm springform cake tin.
- In the bowl of your mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light, fluffy and pale.
- Add the eggs one at a time and mix well.
- With the mixer running on low, gradually one cup of flour, allowing each addition to mix through the batter before adding more.
- Add half the milk and then add another half cup of the flour.
- Add the remaining milk and then the remaining flour.
- Add the mushrooms and allow to mix through the batter, scraping down the sides if necessary.
- Add the walnuts and honey and mix through.
- Pour out into the prepared cake tin and rap gently on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
- Pop in the oven for 45 minutes to cook.
- Test with a skewer, paying attention to the centre to ensure it is cooked through.
- Turn off the oven and prop open the door to allow the cake to cool gradually,
- Leave for about 15 minutes and then remove from the oven.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Dust with drinking chocolate or icing sugar and a little cinnamon.