Christmas cake recipe: The two best festive cakes you can make with vegetable peelings

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Christmas dinner is the main event of the festive celebrations for many households, but with an indulgent feast comes a lot of waste. Leftovers from your turkey and all the trimmings can quickly fill the kitchen bin – but there are tastier ways to make use of vegetable scraps from the Christmas dinner preparations. has rounded up the best root vegetable cake recipes for a fuss-free, no-waste dessert to try this weekend.

A disproportionate amount of the UK’s annual household food waste (4.5 million tonnes of food) is recorded over the Christmas period, said Commercial Waste.

While vegetable scraps are an ideal addition to the garden compost heap, using root vegetable peel as a naturally sweet ingredient is a great way to boost your body’s immune system while enjoying festive desserts over Christmas.

Discarded peelings from carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and beetroot can all be used to pack one of your five a day into festive cakes.

These root vegetables are a great pairing with mixed spice and cinnamon flavourings – both seasonal spices which are loved by sweet-toothed Brits throughout winter.

Carrot cake is a classic accompaniment to the great British cup of tea, but what other cakes can you make with those Christmas off-cuts?

Mixed root vegetable peel cake

This waste-free cake leaves no peelings behind by using up every kind of root vegetable swirled through the sweet cake mixture.

Organic vegetables are packed with nutrients and free from nasty pesticides, making for an even more earthy taste in your festive cake.

Sweet root peelings will pack a punch, but you can also throw in savoury leaves from cauliflower or broccoli for some colourful flecks running through each slice.

Gather three large handfuls of washed vegetable peelings from any combination of the following:

  • Beetroots
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Parsnips

Try to use one large handful of your three favourite vegetables for a variety of flavours.

How to make a mixed vegetable peel cake

In addition to three handfuls or root vegetable peelings you will need:

  • 200g self raising wholemeal flour
  • One teaspoon of baking powder
  • One teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • Half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • Half a teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • Half a teaspoon of salt
  • Three eggs
  • 75g of raisins
  • 120ml maple syrup
  • 120ml vegetable oil
  • 120g plain Greek yoghurt
  • One teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • For the frosting:
  • 175ml whipping cream
  • Two tablespoons of maple syrup
  • Half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon

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Start by preheating your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a nine inch cake tin with baking parchment.

Blitz the peelings using a blender or finely chop into smaller strips – set aside and move onto mixing all of the dry ingredients into a bowl.

Stir the raisins and blended peel into the dry mixture and mix the wet ingredients (eggs, syrup, oil, yogurt and vanilla) together with an electric mixture in a separate bowl.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and pour into the tin to bake for 35-40 minutes.

Insert a skewer to check it is cooked (it will come out clean) and leave to sit for 10 minutes to cool.

Mix together all the ingredients for the frosting until it makes a thick aromatic cream and wait until the cake is completely cooled to decorate.

Vegetable and orange drizzle tray bake

This citrus-infused vegetable cake works best with carrots and parsnips but it can also be made with swede, pumpkin or butternut squash.

You will need:

  • 200g melted butter
  • 140g sultanas or raisins
  • Zest and juice of two oranges
  • 300g self raising flour
  • 300g light soft brown sugar
  • Two teaspoons mixed spice
  • One teaspoon ground ginger
  • One teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • Four large eggs, beaten
  • 300g carrots, parsnips, swede or squash peel
  • 200g icing sugar
  • Three crushed white sugar cubes

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a 30x20cm baking tin baking parchment before mixing the sultanas, orange zest and juice.

Microwave the sultana and orange mixture for two minutes on full power and move onto the dry ingredients – combine all into a large bowl and mix well.

Mix the eggs, melted butter and add the orange-infused sultana mixture before combining with the dry ingredients.

Stir in the vegetable peel and pour into the tin to bake for 35-40 minutes.

Leave the cake to cool in the tin and move onto the icing while you wait.

Sift icing sugar into a bowl and stir in the remaining orange zest plus enough juice to make a runny icing.

Drizzle over the cake and sprinkle crushed sugar cubes on top.

Leave to set before slicing into approximately 15 squares to serve and enjoy.

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