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Lent is the six-week period leading up to Easter, starting on Wednesday, February 22. Whether you’re giving up sweet treats for a healthier lifestyle or to simply test your perseverance, there are plenty of low-sugar alternatives you can enjoy instead of processed biscuits and chocolate. Chefs have teamed up with the Seasonal Spuds, part of the national potato supplier Branston, to share their recipes for guilt-free brownies, waffles and loaf cake.
A spokesperson for Seasonal Spuds explained that the “versatility” of potatoes makes them the ideal ingredient for homemade bakes – particularly in loaf cakes.
Sharing her recipe for a gluten-free brown-butter sweet potato loaf cake with mascarpone frosting, Emma Hatcher, author of The FODMAP Friendly Kitchen Cookbook said: “Brown-butter, warming spices and creamy, tangy mascarpone icing make this unassuming sweet potato loaf cake into something really special.”
To make her vegetarian-friendly recipe, you will need:
- One large, sweet potato (300g)
- 200g unsalted butter
- 200g soft light brown sugar
- Four medium free-range eggs
- 65ml milk
- One teaspoon vanilla extract
- Zest half an orange
- 240g gluten-free plain flour
- 60g ground almonds
- Half a teaspoon xanthan gum
- One and one quarter teaspoons baking powder
- One teaspoon baking soda
- Half a teaspoon fine salt
- One tablespoon ground cinnamon
- One teaspoon ground ginger
- Half a teaspoon ground nutmeg
- One quarter of a teaspoon ground allspice
For the mascarpone icing:
- 50g salted butter, softened
- 200g icing sugar
- 250g full-fat mascarpone cheese
- One tablespoon of orange juice
- Half a teaspoon of vanilla extract
Start by preheating the oven to 220C or 200C fan and prick the sweet potato all over with a fork. Place on a tray and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until tender. Let cool, then cut in half and scoop out the flesh. Place in a bowl to one side.
Reduce the oven temp to 180C or 160C fan before greasing and lining a medium-sized loaf tin. Put the butter in a small saucepan and place over low heat. Melt the butter gently, swirling the pan every so often, until the butter turns golden brown. Emma said: “You’ll know it’s almost ready when the splattering and sizzling die down and it smells overwhelmingly nutty and delicious.”
Pour into a small bowl, scraping out all the little brown bits and allow to cool a little. Add the sugar to a large mixing bowl and pour over the butter before whisking until pale and fluffy. Add the sweet potato puree and whisk until well combined.
One by one, add the eggs, whisking well between each addition. Pour in the milk, vanilla extract and orange zest before sifting all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the wet mixture and stir until combined.
Pour the cake batter into your prepared loaf tin and smooth out the top. Place in the oven and bake for one hour 20 minutes, or until risen, golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean. If the loaf starts browning too quickly, cover the top with some foil.
Rest the cake in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack to cool. To make the mascarpone icing, place the butter in a mixing bowl and beat until fluffy. with an electric whisk. Sift the icing sugar in two stages, beating until smooth.
Add the mascarpone, followed by the orange zest and vanilla extract and whisk together once more until thick, smooth and creamy. Spread the icing over the top of the loaf cake, finishing with a few decorative swooshes on top.
If chocolatey brownies are what you’re craving, you can make them in just 25 minutes without any chocolate at all.
To make 15 squares worth of sweet potato chocolate brownies, you will need:
- 350g sweet potato
- 300g peanut butter
- One teaspoon of vanilla essence
- 150g rice flour
- 125g coconut sugar
- One teaspoon of baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 150g cocoa powder
- 40g cocoa nibs
- 40g dried cherries
- 250ml almond or coconut milk
- Icing sugar to dust
Start by preheating the oven to 190C and line a 13-inch by eight-inch tin with parchment paper. Peel, cube and boil the potatoes until soft before warming the peanut butter in a pan until loose.
In a large bowl, mash the sweet potato until smooth then add the peanut butter and combine. Pour in all the other dried ingredients and mix thoroughly until thick.
Gradually add the milk, stirring together until fully combined and smooth the mixture into the lined tin. Place in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and cut into 15 even squares. Leave to cool before dusting with icing sugar.
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