This is the first part of my three-part series of autumn dishes featuring rutabaga.
For me, these days have been all about rutabaga, or kålrabi, kålrot, swede, and neep. Those large, matte-purple, and slightly rough-looking root vegetables, which are a cross between a turnip and a cabbage. They are also referred to as Nordens appelsin, or “the North’s orange” because of their high content of Vitamin C. The idea of cooking one, let alone eating one, can seem daunting – leaving them often overlooked or reserved only for specific dishes throughout the year. But, they are a vegetable I have become quite smitten with since being introduced to the Scandinavian lifestyle.
My first encounter of eating rutabaga was during my first winter in Norway, some twelve years ago. Here, it is commonly boiled and mashed, like potatoes, and served as a side dish – especially during festivities. Sometimes carrots or a potato or two are added, but rutabaga is the highlight.
It has a somewhat sweet taste when raw, and is crispy and refreshing (see my raw rutabaga and apple salad). It can also carry a subtle bitter flavor, which makes it all the more interesting. When cooked, it’s gorgeous with a silky texture and a balance of flavors. It’s an incredibly versatile vegetable, which can easily be used in both savory and sweet dishes.
And that is what this post and the next two posts are all about – highlighting rutabaga and inspiring others to do the same.
Lately, I’ve been fascinated with roulade cakes (rullekaker), commonly referred to as swiss roll or roll cakes. They are a classic cake, served often in Norway. I suppose they come across as a little old-fashioned, making them underrated, but nonetheless are always eaten up without a crumb remaining. I also love the way they look, with swirls of cream and cake embracing.
Not only did I want to use rutabaga puree as the base for the cake, I also wanted it to be flourless. This gives the cake a more dense, but incredibly soft texture. The rutabaga puree is paired with spices and coffee, making it somewhat reminiscent of a carrot cake or even a pumpkin cake.
This is a really quick and simple cake to make. Once you have a good amount of rutabaga puree on hand, freeze it for use later on (and for use in one of the upcoming recipes!). It’s moist and dense, and rich, yet light. A great dessert to serve this autumn.
If you’re inspired to use rutabaga, don’t miss out on the other recipes in this series: Cheesy Rutabaga Bake with Vinegary Greens and Rutabaga, Cranberry, and Almond Crisp Breads. And for a lighter touch, try my Rutabaga and Apple Salad.
Flourless Rutabaga Roulade with Cardamom Cream (Kålrabirullekake med kardemommekrem)
Makes 1 roulade
For the cake:
- 6 medium eggs, separated
- ¾ cup (125 g) sugar
- ½ cup (60 g) potato starch (potetmel)
- 2/3 cup (150 g) rutabaga puree
- ¼ cup (60 ml) strong coffee
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
For the whipped cream:
- 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
*To make the rutabaga puree: cut off the top and bottom of a large rutabaga and peel with a potato peeler. Cut into small pieces and place in a pot of water. Boil until softened. Drain. Using a hand blender, or blender, puree the cooked rutabaga until smooth. Let cool. Use some for this recipe and freeze any remaining puree for another use – one of the upcoming recipes will also use puree).
Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a stand mixer for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Sift in the potato starch and mix until well blended. Set aside.
Whisk the egg whites just until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
Combine the egg yolk mixture with the rutabaga puree, coffee, and spices. Add a little of the egg whites and gentle fold together. Once blended, fold in the rest of the egg whites.
Grease a swiss roll pan or cake pan (13 x 9-inches / 33 cm x 23 cm) and top with parchment paper. Pour the batter over the parchment paper, spreading to the edges. Cook for 18-20 minutes.
In the meantime, make the whipped cream by combining the heavy cream and cardamom in a stand mixer. Whisk just until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
When the cake is ready, remove from the oven and let it cool in the pan. When cool, lift out the cake by the parchment paper carefully. Dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar, then top with another piece of parchment paper. Place a flat baking sheet on top and flip over quickly. Gently peel off the parchment paper on top. Spread the whipped cream over the cake, out to the edges. Carefully roll the cake, peeling the bottom paper off as you roll. Dust the top with more confectioners’ sugar. Serve immediately or when desired. It will keep for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator.
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