How to Make Parsnip Cake

By Monica Shaw •

Here's a recipe that proves carrots aren't the only vegetable that make a great cake. Parsnip is often reserved for soups, stews and roasts but this super sweet root vegetable is perfect fodder for desserts, particularly cake. 

Parsnips are a member of the same family as carrots which makes it a fine contender for a twist on the good old fashioned carrot cake. The twist: pecans and maple syrup, both of which are perfect compliments for sweet, earthy parsnips. Meanwhile, a mascarpone and maple icing make it all the more decadent. This is beyond carrot cake. Parsnip cake stands on its own!

I served this cake as a layer cake for my friend's birthday party over the weekend. A slice of this with a cup of tea was pretty stellar, but a scoop of ice cream (we used sloe syrup ice cream but vanilla would be just as good) takes this cake from mere tea cake to a real celebration - a few birthday candles help, too.

Parsnip Cake

Adapted from Catherine Berwick's Parsnip & maple syrup cake from BBC Good Food magazine.
175g butter, plus extra for greasing
250g demerara sugar
100ml maple syrup
3 large eggs
250g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice
250g parsnips, peeled and grated
1 medium eating apple, peeled, cored and grated
50g pecans, roughly chopped
zest and juice 1 small orange

icing sugar, to serve
250g tub mascarpone
3-4 tbsp maple syrup

1.  Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease 2 x 20cm sandwich tins and line the bases with baking parchment.

2. Melt butter, sugar and maple syrup in a pan over gentle heat, then cool slightly. Whisk the eggs into this mixture, then stir in the flour, baking powder and mixed spice, followed by the grated parsnip, apple, chopped pecans, orange zest and juice.

3. Divide between the tins, then bake for 25-30 mins until the tops spring back when pressed lightly.

4.  Cool the cakes slightly in the tins before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.

5.  Just before serving, mix together the mascarpone and maple syrup. Spread over one cake and sandwich with the other. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.

Inspired?  For more parsnip recipes from some of Britain's finest chefs visit Great British Chefs collection.


Monica Shaw

Monica Shaw is web consultant working with chefs, restaurants & food producers, to help them make use of the internet to improve their businesses. She's also a freelance writer, her credits include The Daily Telegraph, Chef Magazine and food mag. Monica enjoys experimenting with vegetables & creating delicious & healthy dishes, a topic covered on her blog SmarterFitter.com. She is working on The Healthy Vegan Breakfast Book, due to be published in March 2013

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