Ginger Beet Cake, Bachelor's Buttons

Bachelor's Buttons.
Did you know bachelor's buttons are an edible flower? They're described as tasting a little "cucumber-y" but I find them almost without flavor. Still, they look festive whole or torn to bits in a salad or decorating a cake. The flowers hold up well in a bouquet if picked when fully open, too.
Bachelor's buttons bloom with poppies and larkspur in early summer.
Bachelor's buttons apparently got their name from an old tradition in Europe, where they are native, for young, love-struck men threading the flower into their lapels. It's much like a similar tradition, usually of school girls, of pulling petals from a daisy, "He loves me, he loves me not...." If the bachelor's button flower wilted quickly, the love would not be returned, but if the flower stayed fresh, as it is wont to do, there was encouragement for the lovers.

The Egyptian boy-king, Tutankhamen, was buried with a wreath on his head of olive leaves, water lily petals and cornflowers (another name for bachelor's buttons). They were called cornflowers because the flower used to spread itself freely in grain fields across southern Europe. They are becoming rare in the wild there now due to current farming practices.

Edible Flower bed, yesterday.
Above is a photo of our edible flowers bed, just newly planted. I'm working on a book about edible flowers, with recipes of course, and collecting and testing lots of flower recipes. In the bed above are: roses, calendula, begonias, dianthus, Sweet William, pansies, chives, blue salvia and violets.
In a few weeks it will begin to fill in like this photo shows.

Here, below, is a new edible flower I've added to the garden this week. It even sounds like food!
Ketchup and Mustard Rose
It's named, "Ketchup and Mustard" and is from Weeks Roses. It's nicely fragrant and each petal is red on top and yellow on the under side. I'm anxious to get started using it in foods. (For lots of recipes using roses, order my book, How to Eat a Rose). Also, visit my YouTube Channel for my video on using roses in recipes.

Last year, in March, I was in Round Top, Texas for the herb festival at Festival Hill. They served Ginger Beet Cake - yes, made with beets, and it was a huge success. I asked for their permission to share the recipe here, and did so in last year's post. But it being Mother's Day and all, I thought it a good time to post it again. This is a delicious cake and you will never guess it has beets in it!
Ginger Beet Cake. Not a crumb of this cake was left over!

Ginger Beet Cake
 You can make this cake ahead and freeze it for later. It requires no frosting,
just a dusting of powdered sugar if you wish, or leave that off and just
add whipped cream and a few bachelor's buttons!

1 15 oz. can of beets (not pickled, just plain, canned beets)
1 1/2 cups flour (I use 1 cup unbleached flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups sugar (I use 1 1/2 cups granulated stevia or Truvia and 1/2 cup sugar)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons dry ginger
2 Tablespoons fresh grated ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup nuts, chopped (I used pecans)
3/4 cup coconut

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a food processor, empty the entire can of beets, juice and all. Blend it well. Combine the rest of the ingredients except for the chopped nuts, mixing well. Fold in the chopped nuts. Pour into a 9 x 13, oiled and floured baking pan. Bake until a knife inserted comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool. Serve with real whipped cream. People were going back for seconds, saying this couldn't possibly have beets in it.
No Cool Whip for this, use real whipped cream!


Bonnie K said...

I fell in love with that Ketchup and Mustard Rose. Too bad it is not for our zone. Good luck with the edible flower garden. Thanks for sharing.

The Last Leaf Gardener said...

Hi, Jim

I am pasting a comment that I posted to your LinkedIN discussion re ths blog post, Here it 'tis:

Nice post, Jim, I laughed out loud or should I say "LOL" these days? AND, your sneaky way to get someone to eat something made me think of a recent BLONDIE Comic Strip (you can see how well read I am) where Blondie sneaked tofu to Dagwood. I think the link to the strip is @ http://www.blondie.com/strip.php?month=5&year=2012&comic=2012-5-1

Kevin said...

Thanks for the invite to visit your blog. The recipe sounds intriguing, and it's nice to see that you included your healhier amendments, like whole wheat flour and Truvia. Cheers!

Sunny said...

Jim, the cake was great! I used all stone-ground whole wheat flour, and substituted about 1/2 cup of unsweetened natural applesauce and 1/4 cup of coconut oil for the vegetable oil. I also used 1 1/2 cups of succanat as the sweetener... I reduced the amount because we don't like things too sweet. Walnuts since I had them on hand. Super easy and very delicious! I'll definitely make it again. Thanks!