Sticky Fingers, Green Thumb (Hardie Grant, 2018) by Hayley McKee shows readers that vegetables and desserts can indeed be a winning combination. In almost 60 recipes, McKee mixes veggies into her unique desserts to give you a healthy and delicious treat, while showing you how to harness the most flavor from every vegetable. The following excerpt is her recipe for a green tea pea cake.
Matcha green tea has a bitter edge that balances beautifully with grassy garden peas. Add to them a subtle splash of tangy buttermilk and a little menthol-fresh peppermint, and the result is this creamy, robust little number. This cake is very easy to make and contains no butter – so you can get away with generous servings of the garden pea cream.
Cake• 15 grams (1/2 ounces/ 3/4 cup) peppermint leaves, finely chopped
• 185 milliliters (6 fluid ounces/ 3/4 cup) boiling water
• 400 grams (14 ounces/1 3/4 cups) caster (superfine) sugar
• 375 grams (13 ounces/2 1/2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
• 3 tablespoons matcha green tea powder
• 1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 1/2 teaspoons pink Himalayan salt
• 2 eggs
• 250 milliliters (8 1/2 fluid ounces/1 cup) buttermilk
• 125 milliliters (4 fluid ounces/1/2 cup) grapeseed oil
• 1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped
• 1 teaspoon almond extract pea tendrils and flowers, to decorate
Garden Pea Cream• 465 grams (1 pounds/3 cups) garden peas
• 750 milliliters (25 1/2 fluid ounces/3 cups) whipping cream
• 3–4 tablespoons icing (confectioners’) sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius (345 degrees Fahrenheit). Lightly grease and line a 22 centimeters (9 inches) ring (bundt) tin with baking paper.
2. Add the peppermint leaves to a bowl, cover with the boiling water and set aside to steep for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, green tea powder, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt.
4. In another bowl, lightly whisk the eggs together with the buttermilk and oil to combine, then whisk in the vanilla seeds and almond extract. Slowly fold the mixed dry ingredients into the egg mixture.
5. Strain the peppermint leaf water, discarding the leaves, and fold the water into the cake batter. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly in the tin for 5 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely
6. While the cake is cooling, make the garden pea cream. Add the peas to a blender and pulse briefly to a smooth, fine purée. In a bowl, whisk the cream to medium peaks, then fold in the pea purée. Add the icing sugar to taste.
7. Top with generous dollops of the pea cream and decorate with pea tendrils and flowers.
While frozen peas are super convenient, they’ll never beat a naked pea squeezed straight from a pod. Peas are perfect for tiny patches because they grow upwards, not outwards. Pot your seedlings in a sunny spot on your balcony or in your courtyard and, once sprouted, guide the sprawl of tendrils through trellises, nets, ladders or an inventive canopy of string. Most pea varieties will grow up to 2 meters (6 feet 7 inches) tall, so think ahead.
More from: Sticky Fingers, Green Thumb• Baking Desserts with Vegetables
• Green and White Cookie Recipe
• Kale, Lemon, and Caraway Muffin Recipe
Recipe excerpted with permission from Sticky Fingers, Green Thumb by Hayley McKee, published by Hardie Grant Books March 2018, RRP $29.99.