Spiced Parsnip Cake

By • April 3, 2011 • 31 Comments


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Author Notes: I love parsnips. I think they're a very underused vegetable. I found an article in the Oregonian about parsnips in dessert recipes. There was an attached recipe for parsnip cake. Not one to leave well enough alone, I decided to create my own parsnip cake recipe. I used my favorite carrot cake recipe from Better Homes and Gardens that uses a buttermilk glaze in place of cream cheese frosting as my starting point. I wanted to incorporate maple syrup in the cake and the glaze, as I think it complements the parsnips nicely. I tried several spice combinations, and finally settled on French four spice (I used the Penzey's blend which contains white pepper, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves), cinnamon, and ginger. I am quite pleased with the result, and hope you get a chance to try this cake.hardlikearmour

Makes one 9x13-inch cake

Spiced Parsnip Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup almond meal flour (2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (1 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon French four spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (grade B preferred)
  • 3/4 cup superfine or castor sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 cups shredded parsnips (about 2 large parsnips)
  1. Preheat your oven to 325º F with a rack near the center. Grease your 9- by 13-inch glass cake pan with butter or non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Combine the first nine ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk about 30 seconds to fully mix and aerate the flour some. Set aside.
  3. Combine the remaining ingredients, excluding the parsnips, in a medium bowl. Whisk well to combine. The sugar should dissolve before proceeding to the next step.
  4. Dump the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir until almost incorporated - like making pancake batter. Add the parsnips and stir until just incorporated.
  5. Pour into prepared cake pan, and bake until center springs back or a toothpick inserted near center come out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack, and immediately pour the glaze over the hot cake, trying not to let much glaze spill between the cake and the pan. I sometimes pierce the surface of the cake with a fork to allow the glaze to seep in better.
  6. NOTE: If you prefer, you could allow the cake to cool completely then frost with your favorite cream cheese icing. A little orange zest and/or juice in the icing would work well with the flavors of the cake.

Maple Buttermilk Glaze

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (grade B preferred)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  1. Combine the maple syrup and butter in a glass measure or other microwave safe container. Heat until the maple syrup starts to boil and the butter is melted or close to it. Allow to cool for several minutes, then whisk in the buttermilk.

Comments (31) Questions (1)

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Jampro

20 days ago Bevi

I have made this cake twice and it is delicious!

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about 1 month ago steph (whisk/spoon)

I made a half recipe in an 8x8 pan. It's delicious!

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2 months ago CarlaCooks

I made this last night in two loaf pans. All I can say is there is no better way to eat parsnips! I am not really a fan of parsnips, so I made this as a way of getting rid of some from my CSA box. I shredded the parsnips in my food processor with the shredding disk; I did the first batch of parsnips on the bigger shred, then the second batch on the smaller shred. The two loaves took about 45 minutes to bake through. The final result was very tasty: not too dry, but also not terribly moist, and with hardly any flavor of parsnip (which is a good thing for me!).

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3 months ago Sarah

I made this yesterday with a cream cheese orange frosting - it was a huge success! I found the cake on it's own to be a bit dry, in addition to the icing I made a bit of syrup with juice from the orange and poked holes in the cake and poured the syrup over and allowed it to be absorbed before frosting.

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4 months ago kath1

I have just made this, looks and smells wonderful. Fiddled a bit with ingredients as didn't have buttermilk and made it in a fancy bundt pan. I should think honey would sub in fine for maple syrup.

Stringio

5 months ago Mashie Arif

Hi dont know where my comment disappeared this looks great though getting hold of maple syrup is very difficult so any subs for that

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5 months ago calendargirl

This is wonderful! Brava! I am a parsnip partisan, too, and don't know how I missed this first time around. So glad it is getting a chance to shine, can't wait to make it.

Stringio

5 months ago lydia.sugarman

Here's a recipe from Epicurious for making your own French four spice blend- http://www.epicurious.com...

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5 months ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

WHOOP! Congratulations!!! I WILL make this, and soon

Henrykiss

about 2 years ago arielleclementine

what a beautiful cake! will try very soon!

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about 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, ac! I'd be honored if you chose to make it!

Me

about 2 years ago wssmom

I missed this the first time, but I am sure glad I didn't miss it this time! What a great use of parsnips! And maple!

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about 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, wssmom! I snuck it in w/o a corresponding contest, so it was easy to miss.

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about 2 years ago EmilyC

This looks and sounds great, HLA!

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about 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thank you, Emily! I am really happy with how it turned out.

Buddhacat

over 2 years ago SKK

Made this for the Food52 Seattle gathering and it was a hit!

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over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Yay!

Buddhacat

about 3 years ago SKK

I am off to the store right now - this is incredible! Thank you for sharing it.

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks! If you make it, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Buddhacat

about 3 years ago SKK

Just went to the store and could not find French four spice - came home and found this on Epicurious - do you think it will suffice?

1 tablespoon white pepper
Rounded 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg


Read More http://www.epicurious.com...

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Should work. When I taste the four spice, the white pepper is the strongest flavor. Sorry for the delayed response.

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about 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Brilliant!! Love it that you added some coconut! Bet it gives a bit of extra texture. I agree 100% that parsnips need a lot more love than they usually get. I'm going to make this when the boys are home next, but not tell them what's in it. Great idea, too, the buttermilk glaze. Excellent recipe (as usual), HLA!! ;o)

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

thanks much, AJ! The original recipe I used had sweetened shredded coconut, but I didn't think it needed the extra sweetness plus the unsweetened has a finer shred. The original had pineapple as well, which I tried in the first variation I made. It didn't make the cut! The recipe in the Oregonian used some almond flour so I incorporated that. I didn't want to add any big chunks of nuts or raisins (personal preference.) I really like it with the buttermilk glaze, it really lets the flavors of the cake shine! My brother would prefer if I used an extra thick layer of cream cheese icing, though. Let me know if you make it, and any critiques you have!

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about 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Yum I love spice cakes! What is French Four Spice?

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Me, too! French Four Spice contains white or black pepper, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Mine has white pepper. I got it from Penzeys. It gives the cake a little heat - not unpleasant but noticeable.

Mrs._larkin_370

about 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Wow - This sounds really great. Such a good idea, hla! Thanks.

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, mrslarkin! I think I gained 5 lbs working on this one.

Monkeys

about 3 years ago monkeymom

This looks seriously fantastic. I can't wait to try it.

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, monkeymom! I've made 3 versions in the past week, and I'm not sick of it yet!

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

This looks and sounds amazing! Wish I had a piece right now. : )

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, gingerroot! My husband and I have been gobbing it up :)