Grow Your Own Cake | Book Review + Giveaway

The premise of using vegetables in cakes is nothing new – carrot cake has been a well known favourite as long as I can remember, chocolate and beetroot cakes and brownies have gained popularity in the last decade and more recently courgette cakes are stretching peoples’ definitions of what a cake can be made with.

For me, it goes much further than that, as I’ve long been a huge fan of fellow blogger Kate Hackworthy who writes the much-loved and respected blog Veggie Desserts. As the blog name and tagline suggest, the recipes Kate develops and shares are all about using vegetables in ‘cakes, bakes, breakfasts and meals’ and Kate has won much recognition for the innovation of her recipes, and the stunning photographs with which she illustrates them. You’ll find everything from cookies featuring romanesco cauliflower, cupcakes featuring cucumber, peas or spinach, and cakes full of celeriac, kale and swede! So when I first heard about a cookery book focusing on vegetable- and fruit-based cakes I was already primed for these kind of recipes!


However, publisher Frances Lincoln have taken a different slant for this new title and teamed up with established gardening author Holly Farrell (who has written multiple books on kitchen gardening and contributed to a range of gardening magazines) and Jason Ingram (a garden and food photographer). Holly is also a keen baker, and in Grow Your Own Cake, she treats the garden as a larder for her baking, providing not only recipes but advice on how to grow the main crop featured in each one.

The recipes range from savoury to sweet, using both fruit and vegetables from the plot, with detailed and well-illustrated guidance for the novice gardener looking to grow some of their own produce in their garden or allotment.

There are fifty recipes in the book; some are already classics, such as the carrot cake and beetroot brownies I mention above. Others such as fennel cake and pea cheesecake are more unusual. Recipes are organised somewhat seasonally, with the first chapter covering spring and summer cakes and the second autumn and winter ones. Next come afternoon tea ideas, puddings and savoury bakes.

Many of the recipes are appealing and I’m waiting eagerly for the main ingredients to come into season in our allotment, rather than buying from the supermarket out of season. I’d like to try the rose cake (featuring home made rose water), the parsnip winter cake (ours didn’t survive the slugs so none for us this winter) and the tomato cupcakes, to name a few.

Photography is lovely – pretty and practical without being overly fussy in the styling, a little old school but comfortingly so. My only complaint on this front is that while there are plenty of photographs of the gardening element of the book, there aren’t as many food images as I’d like to see – it’s frustrating not to have a picture of the finished dish for many of the recipes, especially when they are unfamiliar – what kind of colour do the tomato cupcakes have, for example and how should the icing for the sweet potato and marshmallow cake look? A few more images on the food side would be a huge help.

Thus far, Pete and I have made two recipes from the book, the Upside-down Pear Cake and the Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake; both have worked well, though the lack of photographs has made it feel a little more of a shot in the dark, even with Holly’s fairly clear instructions. Most importantly, both were delicious, and I’d happily make and eat both again.

I have permission to share the Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake recipe with you, so keep your eyes peeled for that in an upcoming post.

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats (1)

In the meantime, here’s an opportunity for you to win your own copy of this lovely book:


Frances Lincoln are offering two copies of Grow Your Own Cake for a Kavey Eats reader giveaway. Each prize includes delivery to UK addresses.


You can enter the giveaway in 2 ways – entering both ways increases your chances of winning:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
What kind of fruit or vegetable have your tried in cakes and what did you think?

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow both @Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the exact sentence (shown in italics) below.
I’d love to win Grow Your Own Cake published by @Frances_Lincoln from Kavey Eats! #KaveyEatsGYOC
(Do not add my twitter handle or any other twitter handle to the beginning of the tweet or your entry will be considered invalid.
Please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either; I track twitter entries using the competition hash tag.)


  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 6th May 2016.
  • The two winners will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • Each prize is a copy of Grow Your Own Cake by Holly Farrell and Jason Ingram, published by Frances Lincoln. Delivery to UK addresses is included.
  • The prizes are offered by Frances Lincoln and cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. You may enter both ways but you do not have to do so for each individual entry to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, entrants must be following @Kavey at the time of notification.
  • Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contact.
  • The winners will be notified by email or Twitter so please make sure you check relevant accounts for the notification message.
  • If no response is received from a winner within 10 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

Kavey Eats received a review copy of Grow Your Own Cake from Frances Lincoln, part of Quarto Publishing Group UK.
Grow Your Own Cake by Holly Farrell, photographs by Jason Ingram is currently available from Amazon for £14.88 (RRP £16.99).

The two winners of the giveaway are Patricia Whittaker and Emily Knight.

Please leave a comment - I love hearing from you!
68 Comments to "Grow Your Own Cake | Book Review + Giveaway"

  1. ashleigh allan

    I love Belgium waffles with chocolate flakes, cream and Nutella! So bad but so good!


    Ashleigh, just to let you know I’ve amended the question as I’d accidentally left the wrong one in the post, however your entry IS valid and will be included in the random draw.

  2. Kate @ VeggieDesserts

    Thanks for your lovely words about my blog, Kavey! Very kind x

  3. kaveyeats

    Tracey, just to let you know I’ve amended the question as I’d accidentally left the wrong one in the post, however your entry IS valid and will be included in the random draw.

  4. Corina

    I’ve made cakes with carrots and a beetroot chocolate cake. The beetroot cake didn’t work quite so well but I have eaten other people’s beetroot cakes which havebeen amazing so I think I just need more practice!

  5. Lisa

    I love veggie cakes! I’ve made parsnip cake, and parsnip fudge, aubergine chocolate cake (rich doesn’t even cover it), butternut squash and peanut cupcakes and then Kate’s lovely carrot cake protein balls too.

    I started out back when Harry Eastwood published her vegetable cake book, and got quite addicted to that. Yellow courgettes make very cute fairy cakes! When you pointed me at Kate’s blog, I couldn’t stop reading. I just need more time!

  6. Karen Richards

    I made a carrot cake and a beetroot and chocolate cake. Both delicious.

  7. claire woods

    I love carrot in cake. I’ve tried beetroot in a chocolate cake but hated it.

  8. Patricia Whittaker

    I have an allotment so use excess friut & veg to make cakes. I love Courgette and Lemon, Chocolate & Beetroot, Carrot cake, Blueberry muffins.I think the addition of veg makes cakes extra moist and tasty. I would love some new inspiration.

  9. Laura@howtocookgoodfood

    I agree, I love Veggie Desserts blog it is wonderful so I am not sure what I would make of this book as I would normally just visit Kate for this kind of recipe although your cake does look excellent.

  10. Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

    Ever since I found Kate’s blog I’ve been intrigued by veggie desserts so this sounds interesting! It’s a shame there aren’t photos of every recipe, that’s always a big plus for me.

  11. Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes

    I love that you can add extra nutrition to you desserts by adding in some veggies. Like Becca, I do like to have a visual goal when I’m following a recipe from a book, so it’s a shame that there aren’t images for every recipe.

  12. laura banks

    i tried a friends cake that had beetroot in and i would never have guessed

  13. Heather Haigh

    I have tried carrots, apples, pears, raspberries, blackberries and bananas. I really need to try more vegetables.

  14. Kirsty Hosty

    I have used carrots, courgettes and lemons in different cakes very yummy

  15. Claire Nutman

    I have only eaten carrot or beetroot in cakes, but would be more than happy to try others !

  16. Kristy Brown

    I’ve never tried veggies in cakes – but I’m intrigued by beetroot cake!

  17. Vicky S

    My favourite cake is blackberry. It works so well in sponge cake and combines nicely with chocolate or white chocolate too. They are also plentiful during the autumn!

  18. Vivien Baird

    Beetroot I didn’t like it I couldn’t get my head round I was eating cake with beetroot.

  19. sarah birkett

    courgette cake is lovely and easy to make. Beetroot cake is one of my favourites but impossible to make

  20. ros lewis

    I’ve used carrots and courgettes, I was pleasantly surprised at how moist the cakes were.

  21. Lisa Brown

    I’ve made carrot cake which i love and courgette cake was suprisingly tasty too. Want to try using beetroot next.

  22. laura jones

    i tried cake with both courgette and beetroot in though not together but both were nice

  23. Caroline H

    So pleased Veggie Desserts has released a book. Apart from the obvious carrot I’ve not experimented much with veg in cakes but I do like to dabble with herbs – mint as you’d expect, basil and lemon is lovely, and rosemary and thyme can add a kick to sponges and muffins.


    Just to be clear, Veggie Desserts has not released a book, I talked about her blog because the concept of using vegetables in cakes is one I strongly associate with her blog. This book has been written by a different author.

  24. leanne weir

    I must admit I am new to the veggie cakes, although I have just got back from denmark and they have beetroot with everything! Beetroot sponge cake was very interesting!

  25. Emily Knight

    Courgette and lemon are an amazing pairing in cakes – so, so good! Chocolate and beetroot too – have made an amazing Green & Blacks recipe a few times!

  26. Solange

    I have used carrots, bananas and lemons in different cakes and they’ve all been delicious.

  27. Jo Carroll

    I tried Beetroot on the suggestion of a friend, but thought it tasted disgusting ;(

  28. Michelle Laufer

    I don’t think I’ve ever used a vegetable in a cake before, unless you count rubarb jam as a filling, but I would like to try beetroot and the sweet potato mentioned above :).

  29. Claire M

    So much courgette cake, I always have a glut and so there is always chocolate courgette cake

  30. Helen W

    I’ve tried carrot, pumpkin and beetroot in cakes. The first two were nice, but beetroot tastes a bit too earthy! Fruit works better for me. I make a lot of banana cake.

  31. sbirks

    Black beans in a chocolate cake recipe, made it incredibly moist and delicious

  32. Jamie Millard

    I’M GAME FOR FRUIT. Love lemon – lime – mandarin – strawberry in cakes. Need to diversify though. I’ve been afraid of the veg options so far.

  33. Pamela Gossage

    I’ve tried carrots, beetroot, courgette. They add to the moistness

  34. Alli

    I’ve made cakes with carrot and beetroot. The carrot I love, the beetroot not so much …..

  35. Carol Bell

    Courgette – turned out nice and moist and helped me get rid of a glut

  36. Deborah Bird

    I have tried carrots and bananas lol, not very inventive! But I would love to try more with the help of this book 😉

  37. Emma Perry

    Hi, I’ve made a courgette cake and it tasted divine! It was extremely moist and the whole family loved it…..the reason I made it was because my sister is wheat intolerant and we struggle to find cake/sweet recipes that taste good so it was also wheat free. It was definitely a winner!

  38. Sarah Wilson

    My sister in law made a chocolate cake with courgette and it was lovely, really moist!

  39. Laura Harrison

    I have tried carrot cake and also beetroot cake, they are both very yummy xx

  40. Victoria Prince

    Plenty of the standard fruit (most commonly cherries!) but vegetables I’ve only tried carrots, which of course work well. I want to try courgettes next, though I love the sound of the Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake so that’s definitely one for the list!

  41. Catherine Gregory

    I’ve tried carrots in cakes, bananas, blueberries, strawberries. Recently tried beetroot in a chocolate cake and gives it a rich colour and really moist taste

  42. Joanna Kasznicki

    I haven’t found any good recipes for anything adventurous so cherry, raspberry and blueberries are all I have used

  43. Emma

    Beetroot in chocolate cake. Carrot in carrot cake. Pumpkin in Halloween cake. All work pretty well


Please leave a comment - I love hearing from you!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *