Recipe: “Let Them Eat Swede” Coronation Cake

It’s a rare day I get political on this blog. But we live in financially tough times, and I can’t in all good conscience be totally fine with spending millions on a coronation, when thousands of people in the UK are choosing between heating and eating. While children go to bed hungry, I think it’s rather obscene to spend so much money giving a very rich man a golden hat. Not everyone will share my views on that, and that’s fine. It’s not worth falling out over.

In February, Conservative Environment Secretary, Thérèse Coffey declared “let them eat turnips”, as a more local answer to the empty shelves we’ve been finding in our supermarkets this year. Whatever the cause, the effect has been obvious when we’ve visited our local shops. Shortages of salad veg, peppers and tomatoes have had our government urging us to eat the root veg we grow here in abundance. Whilst I’m very keen on eating local and the fewer food miles the better, it’s still a tone-deaf, Marie Antoinette style statement from our government and an unwelcome diversion from the real issues.

In response to both of these recent pieces of news, I decided to bake a “Let Them Eat Swede” Coronation Cake. It’s like the carrot cake we all know and love, but made with the most humble of root vegetables, the swede. Personally, I really love swede. I like it best in carrot and swede mash, it’s cheap and really helps to bulk out a meal and bump up the amount of veg you can get into your family. It’s no substitute for a tomato though, that much is obvious.

Recipe: "Let Them Eat Swede" Coronation Cake

The great thing about swede is, it cooks quite quickly for a root vegetable. Once the cake is baked, the swede sort of melts into it, so I don’t think anyone would easily guess the secret ingredient. If you try it, let me know if you could tell it had swede in it.

“Let Them Eat Swede” Coronation Cake

150ml vegetable oil
200g soft brown sugar
3 medium eggs
1 lemon, finely grated and zested
200g coarsely grated swede
2 tablespoons of apple sauce
2 heaped teaspoons of ground cinnamon
250g self-raising flour
1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

For the frosting
50g unsalted butter, softened
85g icing sugar, sifted
Half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
180g soft cheese
Cinnamon sugar to dust the top with (optional)

Recipe: "Let Them Eat Swede" Coronation Cake


Preheat oven to 180°c or gas mark 4. Grease and line a large loaf tin, I use loaf tin liners which are so much easier. In a large mixing bowl, beat the oil, soft brown sugar, and eggs until smooth. I used my hand mixer, but a wooden spoon works just as well.

Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon, apple sauce and the grated swede. Tip in the sifted flour and bicarbonate of soda and fold in gently until it’s all mixed together well. Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin and bake for around one hour until risen and golden. If you’re not sure, insert a skewer into the centre of the cake and if it comes out clean, then it’s cooked.

Leave the cake to cool fully on a wire rack for a few hours, or overnight. The cake has to be fully cool before you pile the frosting on top, or it’ll melt.

Recipe: "Let Them Eat Swede" Coronation Cake

To make the frosting –

With an electric whisk, beat together the unsalted butter, cinnamon and icing sugar until it comes together and is smooth. This will take a little while, so persist with it. It will look unpromising and like breadcrumbs for a while. Once it is smooth, add the cream cheese and beat quickly until it’s soft and smooth. Do not over-beat the frosting, or the cream cheese may split and become runny. Spread over the top of the cake with a palette knife or an offset spatula. I’ve sprinkled cinnamon sugar over the top, but it might be mice to sprinkle chopped nuts, or more lemon zest if you like. I just made some decorative ripples, then popped the cake in the fridge for the frosting to firm up.

The swede cake without frosting would happily keep in a tin for a few days. With the frosting it’ll need to be kept in the fridge, or the cream cheese frosting might go off.

Recipe: "Let Them Eat Swede" Coronation Cake

It’s a really simple cake to make. To be honest, I made it mostly to amuse myself, but it turned out so well, I decided to share the recipe here too. It’s got to be better than a broad bean quiche, right?

If you liked this, you might also like to try this courgette cake.