'Mmm, that was good,' Peter said licking his lips, as he walked back into the kitchen with the empty cake plate in his hand. 'It is really good, isn't it,' I replied. 'Would you like another piece?' I added. 'Yes please,' came the quick response. 'I should have baked two, shouldn't I?' He nodded and answered with a smile, 'Yes, absolutely.'
Dialogue like this is music to a cook's ears, don't you agree my friends? It's the sound of the conversation that Peter and I generally share whenever I pull out an old favourite baking recipe, like the one I'm sharing now, for example.
I originally sourced the recipe many years ago from a book titled Friendly Food - avoiding allergies, additives and problem chemicals (compiled by the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Allergy Unit, published by Murdoch Books 1991). My (now adult) son was in his early teens at the time and on medical advice we tried an elimination diet to assist him with some health issues. If you are truly lucky, you might be able to buy a copy of the book at a Lifeline Book Fair. It's full of fabulous recipes that can be enjoyed by one and all, dietary intolerances or not.
This torte or cake is made with mashed potato and is gluten free. It's moist, rich, delicious and absolutely moreish. I hope you will try it, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. I know I was.
3/4 cup cooked, cooled finely mashed potato*
1 tablespoon rice flour
1/4 teaspoon citric acid
1 tablespoon pear juice or low fat milk
4 free-range eggs, separated
2/3 cup vanilla infused caster sugar
icing sugar, to finish
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line an 18-20 cm cake tin. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks and set aside. In a large Pyrex bowl, combine the mashed potato, rice flour, citric acid, pear juice or milk with the beaten egg yolks and mix thoroughly, making sure you press out any lumps in the potato. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, then gradually beat in the caster sugar, beating until the sugar has dissolved. Now fold in a little of the egg yolk and mashed potato mixture, a little at a time, mixing gently. Then fold through with a wide spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake has risen and is golden brown (it will have the consistency of a delicate sponge cake, so handle it with care... you will know when it's ready, see my images below). Allow the cake to cool slightly in the tin, then turn it out onto a sheet of baking paper on a wire rack. Serve cake sliced and dusted with icing sugar. Top with a piece of candied lemon if desired. Serves 4-6.
*Don't add milk or butter when mashing the potatoes, and make sure they are finely mashed. All lumps should be removed. You will need two medium sized potatoes for this cake. The cake can be made the day before and also freezes well.
CANDIED LEMON (for garnish, entirely optional)
1 Meyer lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed
water, for boiling
iced water, for cooling
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Bring a small pot of water to the boil and pop the lemon slices in. Simmer for one minute, then carefully remove the lemon slices and transfer them to a bowl of iced water. Meanwhile, combine a cup of sugar with a cup of water in another pot. Once the sugar has dissolved, lower the heat, add the lemon slices in a single layer and cook them very gently for up to 30 minutes or so. Keep an eye, as the caramel could easily catch and burn (this batch of mine was a little browner than I would have liked). Carefully remove the lemon slices from the caramel (use a large serving fork for safety) and place them onto a lined cooling tray which is sitting on a cookie sheet. Allow to cool. Use them to garnish your cake, or just eat them as a treat.
Tell me dear readers, what do you do with leftover mashed potato? Does it go into the compost, or do you have special dishes you like to create with it?
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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- Liz Posmyk
NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.