Bounty: Kumara and Apple Cakes

Bounty cover

Bounty coverWe made these tasty kumara and apple cakes as part of a Matariki feast for our whanau and they were enjoyed by all.

Kumara were a valuable traditional food for Maori. Once harvested they would be stored in kumara pits. In springtime the growing cycle would start again.

The recipe comes from Bounty- Cooking with Vegetables which Catherine Bell wrote to celebrate 10 years of the Garden to Table Trust.

Thanks to this trust, children in nearly 200 primary schools throughout New Zealand are learning how to plant, care for, cook, and then share the healthy food they have grown themselves around the table.

Apart from 80 great vegetable recipes for snacks, sides, salads, mains and some baking there are also lots of hints and tips for growing your own vegetables at home.

During lockdown, many people who had time on their hands began spending more time in their veggie gardens, wanting to become more self-sufficient and to grow healthy food. There was a huge increase in the sale of vegetable seeds and seedlings from garden centres.

As part of the new normal, hopefully this trend will continue in many households. As grandparents we can help with that by encouraging our grandchildren to join us in the veggie patch. The enticing photographs of the vegetable dishes, and of school children proudly showing off their new skills in Bounty – Cooking with Vegetables would inspire them to join in. And by buying this book you will be supporting a good cause as all the profits will go to the Garden to Table Trust.

Kumara and apple cakes 800 pxKumara & Apple Cakes recipe 

Makes 16

There are several types of sweet potato available, but this dish is designed for purple kumara with its dryer pale yellow flesh.

Serve these patties with pork sausages and a pan gravy made by adding a little chicken stock to the pan the sausages have been cooked in and reducing it over heat until its syrupy. They also work well as a side with roast pork or as a brunch dish served on a bed of salad leaves with a Dijon mustard vinaigrette as pictured here.  This recipe will serve six to eight people as a side or four as a light meal. If the patties fall apart, simply serve them as a hash.


  • 1 kg kumara
  • 1 large cooking apple, such as Granny Smith
  • 1 large onion
  • small handful fresh sage leaves
  • 50 g butter
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, or more if required


  1. Peel the kumara and roughly chop into chunks. Place them in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Cook until soft, then drain and leave to steam dry. Roughly mash with a fork (you need about 3 cups).
  2. Meanwhile, peel, core and finely chop the apple and onion and finely chop the sage (you need about 1 tablespoon). Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large frying pan over medium-low heat and fry the onion and apple in the butter for 15-20 minutes, stirring, until soft. Cool slightly, then mix with the kumara and sage in a large bowl. Season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Form the mixture into 16 even-sized patties and place on a tray. Refrigerate for at least an hour or until firm.  Preheat the oven to 50°C.
  4. Heat a little olive oil and the remaining 20g butter in a large fry pan over a medium-low heat. Fry the cakes, in batches, for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown and heated through, transferring them to the oven to keep warm while you cook the rest.

Recipe from Bounty – Cooking with Vegetables by Catherine Bell. Published by Epicure Press. RRP $39.99

Reviews by Lyn Potter

Parent and grandparent, Avid traveler, writer & passionate home cook

Read more by Lyn here.