Winter Harvest Bundt Cake

February 15, 2010 at 4:35 pm 29 comments

Winter Harvest Bundt Cake

It’s hard to do justice to this recipe in words.  You really have to taste it to know how wonderful a cake made with honey, pumpkin, parsnips, carrots, buckwheat flour, buttermilk and dark chocolate can truly be.  I don’t think I’ve ever come across a cake that is so moist and flavorful, yet so packed with vitamins and relatively void of fat as far as cakes generally go. 

Eggs and Grated Vegetables

This little brain child of mine was inspired by a recipe two winters ago that I conjured up for Parsnip Spiced Cupcakes.   I had more parsnips in my crisper drawer this winter, and I remembered how big a hit those cupcakes were so I thought perhaps I should make another batch to bus us through this blustery winter.  As I was sorting through my root vegetable stash, I grabbed a few sweet carrots that are still going strong and thought I might as well add those to the recipe.   When I spied the frozen pumpkin puree in the freezer, I knew the wheels in my head were turning a different direction, though obviously a baked moist crumb was still on the menu, just now in rich dense {and healthy} bundt cake form. 

Carrots, Parsnips and Pumpkin

Now, I’m not one to often promote a product  other than the occasional cookbook or a local food item on this blog, but I do want to mention one that’s become a staple in my pantry (or rather fridge) and is a real lifesaver.  It’s a powdered buttermilk that stays good for ages and you can mix up just the amount you need for a recipe rather than buying a carton at the store and feeling preasure to use up the rest of it.   I found my red tub in the baking asile right next to the cake mixes and chocolate chips.   This snowy winter, it has saved me more than one trip to the grocery store when the weather is antagonizing my kitchen escapades. 

Honey, Chocolate and Cake

Should you be eyeballing the ingredient list below and raising an eyebrow, rest assured that you can use more conventional ingredients, such as white sugar and just all-purpose flour,  instead of the honey, raw sugar, and buckwheat flour in this recipe.  I opted to keep the ingredients as “wholesome” as possible to intensify the rustic wintery comfort dessert quality of this cake, a quality well-worth preserving if you can.  I also learned a lot about buckwheat flour.  I’d just used it before in pancakes and wasn’t sure how it would affect the texture of a cake.  As it turns out, I love how tender it keeps the crumb and the nutty flavor is a lovely boon.   Buckwheat lowers the gluten level in the cake so if you are trying to exclude gluten from your diet, I’m sure this cake could easily be made gluten-free.  In fact, I’ve made it a few times now and pushed the amount of buckwheat flour up to one and a quarter cups with no apparent consequences (though D didn’t like it as much that time because it was too “earthy” for him). 

Cake and Forks

Dusted with snowy confectioner’s sugar, Winter Harvest Bundt Cake is sure to bring a smile to everyone who has braved the cold to join you for a slice.  Even weary shovelers will perk up after just one bite.   And with all that vitamin C in there, one might even get away with calling this a flu and cold preventative medicine.  Maybe.   But, really, the flavor alone justifies that second slice. 

Delicious dusting on winter harvest cake


Winter Harvest Bundt Cake
A Straight from the Farm Original

6 egg whites
1 C. raw sugar
1 C. honey
1 vanilla bean, split in half and scraped
1/4 C. extra virgin olive oil
3/4 C. pumpkin puree*
1  1/4 C. all-purpose flour
3/4 C. buckwheat flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. freshly grated nutmeg
1 C. buttermilk
1/2 C. grated carrot
1/2 C. grated parsnip
3/4 C. dark chocolate chips/chunks
confectioner’s sugar for dusting

*As the pumpkin is being used as a moistening agent in this recipe, it is recommended that you use homemade pumpkin puree as it contains much more moisture than store-bought puree.

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Prepare a 9 inch bundt pan with cooking spray, and dust with flour.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Set aside.  In another bowl, whisk together the sugar, honey, vanilla scrapings, oil and pumpkin puree until well combined.  Fold into the stiff egg whites.

In another bowl or ziplock bag, mix the flours, baking soda, salt, and spices. Alternately mix the flour mixture and the buttermilk into the egg mixture until smooth.

Fold in the carrot, parsnip and chocolate. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan.  Bake 45-60 minutes or until a tester inserted in the cake comes out clean.  Let cool before serving.  Dust with confectioners sugar if desired.

(serves 12)


Entry filed under: Recipes, Sweet Treats. Tags: , , , , .

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29 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Leah  |  February 15, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Hi there!

    I’ve just discovered your blog and I love it. Your photos are amazing and the recipes look divine! I also love your food philosophy – I think it aligns a lot with mine. I don’t have a garden yet (live in a rental) but it will be one of the first things we do when we buy a house. Keep up the great work!

    • 2. Jennie  |  February 15, 2010 at 10:12 pm

      Welcome, Leah! So glad you found Straight from the Farm. Please do look through the recipe index…it’s packed full! 🙂 I love to hear that you have garden aspirations. Are there any community gardens near you? If so, you might not have to wait until you buy a house…wouldn’t that be exciting?!

  • 3. Food-Fitness-FreshAir  |  February 15, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    You always post such wonderful and unique recipes on your site! Parsnips and chocolate, that’s a new combo. I have yet to hear of…You may really have something going here. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of parsnips (although we grow a ton every year in the garden regardless). How much does the parsnip flavor shine through? I like buckwheat flour, however the only place I really utilize it in my own cooking is for homemade pancake batter.

    • 4. Jennie  |  February 16, 2010 at 10:14 pm

      It’s funny, FFFA, but you really can’t distinguish any of the individual flavors (except the chocolate when you get a chunk) in this cake…it’s just one wonderful taste that’s complex and sweet and just delicious. I’d really encourage you to try parsnips in baked goods as I think the flavor is a world apart from what parsnips tastes like “savory”. I’m rather certain you’ll like this cake, but also, try the parsnip cupcakes (link in post) to really see how the flavor changes when combined with flour and sugar. 🙂

  • 5. arugulove  |  February 15, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    What an amazing combination. I’m really curious to try this – thanks for the great idea!

  • 6. jacquie  |  February 16, 2010 at 12:42 am

    that looks wonderful.
    though what do you do w/ all those egg yolks??? i would hate to just waste them.

    • 7. klmoreau  |  February 16, 2010 at 3:25 pm

      Jacquie –

      I’ve heard that egg yolks can be successfully frozen for future use, but I haven’t personally tried it before.

      The rumor I heard was something about freezing them individually in an ice cube tray, but you may want to do a search to find out more…

  • 9. Lawre  |  February 16, 2010 at 6:37 am

    I have been admiring your blog for a month or so now- AND just had parsnips for the first time last week- YUM!! Not only do I plan to make this cake, but I will grow parsnips this year too, If it ever warms up and the snow melts so I can SEE my garden. I am trying to console myself with the thought of beautiful dirt that is being made.

    • 10. Jennie  |  February 16, 2010 at 10:09 pm

      Lawre – Thanks for the comment! I hope you’ll stick around until spring/summer as that’s when the recipe ideas really get rolling with all the seasonal produce from the garden and farm. Definitely grow parsnips – they’re easy, just like carrots! Ahmen to the snow melting sentiments! I’m consoling myself with the thought of all the pests/bugs that aren’t going to make it through this tough winter to feast on my veggies.

  • 11. newRDcook  |  February 16, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    This looks great – I love parsnips and I love cake so this is certainly a winning recipe in my book. I love that you can vary the ingredients depending on what you have on hand – I dont often have buttermilk in my kitchen– wondering what you think about using 2% milk instead? Perhaps with a bit of lemon juice for acidity?

  • 12. Lee Ann Foster  |  February 16, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous! I like your photos and am inspired to do better. The addition of parsnip, why not? These past weeks I’ve been seeing the red velvet cake and they look beautiful but the red food coloring puts me off. I thought to make the recipe with beets to get the color, doesn’t look the same, but it is a moist and good alternative to carrot or zuccini cake, now parsnip.

    I had a boss once who told me to stop sending him cake with vegetables in it. He was the kind of baker that used cornstarch to stiffen his cookies, need I say more. I am going to add this to my vegetable cake recipes. Thanks.

  • 14. carrie  |  February 16, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Regarding the buttermilk…Have you ever tried adding vinegar to milk to make buttermilk? That’s what I do, so I was wondering how it compared to the powdered version.

    • 15. Jennie  |  February 16, 2010 at 9:56 pm

      Yes, I have, Carrie. I think I prefer the powdered version because I’m not one to often have regular milk on hand either (I, ironically since I grew up on a dairy farm, don’t drink milk anymore and D only uses soy milk on his cereal) so that’s the biggest advantage. Taste-wise, I don’t think there’s one I prefer over the other. Oh, the other benefit of the powdered is that you can mix the powder straight into your dry ingredients and then add water later for the moisture…this is really cool when you want to make up batches of “pancake mix” to use during the week. All these little hints are on the side of the tub the powder comes in, by the way, if I’m not doing a good job explaining it. 🙂

  • 16. Muse  |  February 21, 2010 at 12:47 am

    This sounds so yummy- a ‘better-than-carrot-cake’ yummy-, makes me wish I had some parsnips to try it with, but all I have is some parsley root and I am not sure it would make the translation well. I can totally see this with a creme cheese spread on it.

  • 17. Too yummy to pass up.. «  |  February 22, 2010 at 9:14 am

    […] but this was waaay too good to pass up. I highly recommend you get yourself over to foodie blog Straight from the Farm by the delightful Jennie from PA. She posted a recipe for the above Winter Harvest Bundt Cake, a […]

  • 18. cravenmaven  |  February 22, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Holy mackerel….there are enough veggies in this for me to justify eating the whole cake in one day..(don’t think I can’t or won’t!). Jennie you are a princess among women!!! I love it – am adding this to my ‘must make’ list.

    • 19. Jennie  |  February 22, 2010 at 3:05 pm

      Aw, thanks, Cravenmaven! You can definitely justify as many slices as you’d like of this cake…it’s really that healthy! 🙂

  • 20. Meredith  |  February 22, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Gorgeous photography! Thank you so much for sharing this. Beautiful.

  • 21. Heather  |  February 23, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    When do I add the honey? With the sugar? I seem to be missing where that comes into play. Hoping to make this while the kiddos nap for the older kids’ afterschool junkfood. 🙂


    • 22. Jennie  |  February 23, 2010 at 2:56 pm

      Woops, sorry about that…yes, honey goes in with the sugar. 🙂 Hope the kids enjoy it!

  • 23. Amanda  |  February 25, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Looks beautiful. I can’t wait to try it. One question:

    Nearly all the photos feature star anise, yet star anise is not included among the ingredients. Is it just a garnish, or is there a variant that incorporates the star anise (one of my favorite flavors)? Thanks!


    • 24. Jennie  |  February 25, 2010 at 12:16 pm

      Amanda – The star anise are just there for added texture/interest in the photos. I didn’t mean to mislead you. 🙂 However, I’m absolutely sure star anise (ground) could be added to the recipe with sensational results. Happy baking!

  • 25. Nourishing Words  |  February 28, 2010 at 10:13 am

    This looks like such a great combination of flavors and textures. I’m curious if you (or your readers) have any specific suggestions on the best flours to substitute to make it completely gluten-free. I’m tempted to try brown rice, almond and quinoa, but I’d love suggestions.

  • […] love is not instantaneous but more of a progression… Until, that is, I saw this recipe for Winter Harvest Bundt Cake from Straight From the Farm blog. Love. At. First. Sight. #gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; […]

  • 28. Tammy McLeod  |  March 10, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Your photographs are amazing!

    • 29. Jennie  |  March 13, 2010 at 10:53 am

      Thanks so much, Tammy!


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