A cake can be a meditation, each slice a chance to savor the here-and-now. If made with care, each bite passes without judgment, eyes close, stresses escape, and gravity feels lifted for but a moment. Just as you acknowledge the light in others through meditation, a cake is a testament to many hands and contributors. After all, as Carl Sagan said, “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”
This cake was a man who spoke very little English, his reserve offset by his immense talent. He peeled limes into fire-breathing dragons, twisted fish into floral arrangements and carved beets into beautiful roses. He obsessed over granules of rice and valued the spacing between sushi. I watched his mastery in awe. In urban terms, game recognize game, but in the world of creatives, my neuroses is humbled by your neuroses, and I applaud your details! Less catchy, but it’s equally an ovation!
This cake was the Urban Farmer, his mother and his grandfather before him. They taught the him to gently respect nature, believe in nature, fight for nature, and in the end, reap her rewards. Her zucchinis continued to appear under his tutelage, as if by magic, under broad leaves that could transport the imaginative mind to island vacations. Her beets merited gallery time, with mesmerizing patterns of burgundies and whites circling like aging trees. And her mint…! Her mint runneth over!
This cake was a gathering. It was a celebration of the new guard of hands that work the land and restore value to the foods we eat. It was a celebration of edible weeds and fresh pickings. This cake was a campfire, warming the prematurely cool evening. It was laughter. It was sparks in the night sky. It was time savored.
These are the benefits of the “slow foods” as they are called – the foods with integrity and time amongst the ingredient lists. These foods are not “cheat foods” or “guilty pleasures.” This cake is a testament to the season and the many hands contributing along the way. Perhaps you will become part of this cake’s story too?
Sprouted Spelt Zucchini Beet Cake with Vodka Mint Glaze
About This Recipe: This bundt cake begins with my new favorite flour- One Degree Organic Foods’ Sprouted Spelt Flour. Through their website, you can read about the farmer who grows it. This combination of local zucchini and beets adds moisture and subtle sweetness. The glaze uses a Mint Vodka Simple Syrup instead of water or milk. I used Boyd & Blair Vodka instead of water when making the simple syrup to take advantage of the vodka’s rich, vanilla notes.
Sprouted Spelt Zucchini Beet Cake
2 1/2 cups *grated local zucchini (see directions)
1 1/2 sticks organic, unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
2 1/2 cups organic sprouted spelt flour, plus more for pan (One Degree Organic Foods)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon coarse salt
3 large eggs (organic/cage-free)
1 1/2 cups organic raw cane sugar
1 cup food-processor chopped local beets (the texture of coarse meal, not a paste)
~1 Tablespoon lemon zest from 1 organic lemon
1 Tablespoon freshly ground organic ginger
2 Tablespoons fresh, chopped mint
Grate zucchini on the large holes of a box grater, then place in a strainer. Pat the top dry with paper towels, and set aside. Note: You’re not trying to remove all the moisture.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Brush a 9-cup bundt pan with butter, and dust with flour, tapping out excess.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together eggs and sugar, then stir in melted butter, grated zucchini, chopped beets, lemon zest and ginger.
Stir in flour mixture, then fold in the chopped mint.
Transfer batter to pan.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer pan to a wire rack, and let cake cool for 10 minutes. Run a paring knife around edges of cake to loosen, and flip onto a serving plate.
Let cool for at least 30 minutes.
Brush several layers of glaze evenly over cake, and garnish with fresh mint and a beet rose if you’re feeling adventurous.
Vodka Mint Simple Syrup
1 cup Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
fresh peppermint leaves from 3-4 stems
Combine the vodka and sugar in a pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, and then simmer until all sugar is dissolved.
Remove from heat, and add the mint leaves. Set aside for at least an hour to infuse. Note: the longer the infusion the stronger the mint flavor will be.
Note:This makes more syrup than you’ll need for the glaze, but it’s great for cocktails, or anywhere you’d typically use simple syrup.
Vodka Mint Glaze
3/4-1 cup organic powdered sugar, to taste
3-4 Tablespoons vodka mint simple syrup
Place the sugar in a medium bowl, and slowly stir in simple syrup, a little at a time, to make a smooth, pourable glaze. Add more powdered sugar to thicken if need be.