Savoury Bake: Swede & Rosemary Loaf




This is without doubt a cake that sees samplers nail their colours to the mast, so to speak.  A bit like Marmite, there’s no sitting on the fence with this one.  I’ve been interested in baking with vegetables ever since Gizzi Erskine told the nation on primetime TV you could eat chocolate cake til it was coming out of your ears if you substituted sugar for beetroot.  Of course, I’m paraphrasing here but I’m pretty sure that was the gist of it.  Keen to combine my attempts to get my five a day with my love of a crumb coating I’ll give anything a go once.  And so, as I was perusing the news stands of Belfast City Airport my eyes fell upon a magazine called Landscape and so some kitchen experimentation was born.

As Autumn transitions into Winter the humble root veg dusts itself off and limbers up to take centre stage in many a soup and stew to combat the drop in temperature we all know is on its way but are never quite ready for.  For this recipe the flavoursome swede is the star of this unusual dish so if your stomach turns as Aunty Rita ladles it onto your plate as part and parcel of your Sunday roast dinner you probably won’t like this cake.  This is a loaf for swede lovers only I’m afraid.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, some who bravely tasted this cake thought it was delicious.  Others thought it was totally revolting but all were intrigued at the concept.  I found the consistency a bit weird and if I was going to try it again I think I’d go a bit easier on the rosemary.  And definitely have some mints close to hand after eating or you’ll be breathing swede over anyone within a 50ft radius.  You have been warned!


You will need:

300g peeled swede

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

280g caster sugar

100ml sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing

3 medium eggs

250g plain flour

1tsp baking powder

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C / 360°F / Gas Mark 4.  Grease and line your loaf tin  – just a regular sized loaf tin will do.  The recipe recommends a 1.4kg tin but I’m not sure the recipe will stretch quite that far.  The lining will make it easier to remove once cooled;
  • Finely chop your rosemary;
  • Peel and chop your swede into small chunks and transfer to a pot of cold water which you then need to bring to the boil before simmering for a further 10 minutes until they are soft when you put a knife in;
  • Rinse your swede in cold water before transferring to a food processor.  Blitz until you have a lump-free mixture.  Add 250g of your sugar, then your oil and mix.  Once mixed transfer to a mixing bowl.
  • One by one, beat your eggs into the mixture;
  • Add half your rosemary;
  • Sift the flour and fold it in gradually along with some baking powder before transferring your mixture to your cake tin;
  • Bake for 50 minutes or until a metal skewer comes out clean.  (Mine took around an hour.  If you find the top of the cake is cooking faster than the middle just pop some tin foil, shiny side down, on top.  This will ensure the cake cooks more evenly.
  • Once cooked, allow to cool before transferring to a wire rack.
  • In a small saucepan bring 60ml water, the remaining sugar and rosemary to the boil before reducing the heat to a simmer for two minutes.  Allow to cool slightly.
  • Make incisions in your cake before drizzling the sugary glaze on top.  You’ll find it seeps into the incisions and keeps the loaf moist.
  • Serve with a cuppa, enjoy and don’t forget to let me know what you think of it!

See you next time,



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