Make Ahead

Tipsy Apple-Parsnip Cake with Sultanas and Cider Glaze

November 10, 2014
3 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Serves 8 to 10
Author Notes

This cake is a fall and winter workhorse. It is soft, spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and dark rum, sweet with apples and raisins, and ever so slightly spicy with parsnip. You can make it a night ahead; it holds well. Serve it as Christmas breakfast, with tea or coffee, or as a hostess gift. Make it just because you feel like it. The apple cider in the glaze isn’t too pronounced; if you want it to be more so, you can boil-concentrate three tablespoons worth with warming spices if you like. (Or, instead of the apple cider, try some of the raisin liquid in the glaze.) Any remaining raisin liquid should definitely be repurposed into a cocktail. Feel free to increase the amount of raisins, or to add toasted walnuts. If you don’t have golden baker's sugar, substitute 2/3 cup light brown sugar and 2/3 cup white sugar instead. —Cristina Sciarra

Test Kitchen Notes

Delicious! I have already eaten half the cake! The texture is amazing -- super tender without being too fragile. The flavor is spiced and autumn-y with a hint of booze. I grated the apple and parsnip superfine, and they are not even identifiable in the texture. I cannot wait to make this again. —Katherine

What You'll Need
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons apple cider, divided
  • 1/3 cup dark rum
  • 1/2 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, + more for greasing the pan
  • 1 1/3 cups golden bakers sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon (freshly grated) nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large apple (I like Jonagold)
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  1. Add the raisins, 1/3 cup of the apple cider, the rum, and the vanilla bean, scraped, both seeds and pod, to a small bowl or container. Cover the bowl or close the lid on the container and allow it to sit overnight. (Alternatively, you could simmer all those ingredients together for about 20 minutes. Just allow the liquid and the raisins to cool before adding them to the cake.)
  2. Heat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9-inch diameter Bundt pan.
  3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and the sugar for 3 to 4 minutes, until the sugar fully melts into the butter and fluffs up. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing as you go. Sift together the flour, the baking powder, the ground cinnamon, the nutmeg, and the salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing the batter on low speed, just until everything is incorporated.
  4. Meanwhile, peel and core the apple. Peel the parsnip. Shred both. You can use a box grater, but I like to use the shredding disk of my food processor. Add the shredded apple and the parsnip to the batter.
  5. Drain the raisins but reserve the raisin liquid. Add the raisins to the batter, along with 2 tablespoons of the raisin liquid. Mix on low speed, just until combined. (Any leftover raisin liquid should be put toward a cocktail or hot toddy for the cook.)
  6. Spoon the batter into the greased Bundt pan and move the pan into the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Out of the oven, allow the cake to cool for at least 1 hour.
  7. While the cake is cooling, make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar with the remaining 3 tablespoons apple cider and the lemon juice. (Or, substitute some of the remaining raisin liquid for the apple cider.)
  8. Take the cake out of the pan and move it to a plate. Pour the glaze all over the top. Covered, this cake is good for up to 2 days.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Isabel Mack
    Isabel Mack
  • Cristina Sciarra
    Cristina Sciarra
  • Nancy Herring
    Nancy Herring
  • T-Bone6
Cristina is a writer, cook, and day job real estate developer. She studied literature, holds an MFA in Fiction Writing, and completed the Basic Cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She lives in Jersey City with her husband--a Frenchman she met in Spain--and their sweet black cat, Minou. Follow her writings, recipes, publications and photography at

7 Reviews

Nancy H. November 29, 2017
What is golden bakers' sugar
T-Bone6 October 24, 2017
could I use the mini bundt pan for this?
Cristina S. October 24, 2017
I've never tried, but I don't see why not. (Would you use two?) I might just check on it a little sooner.
Isabel M. November 30, 2015
Made it for Thanksgiving. It was so good and everyone was surprised that it had such an "unusual" ingredient. Definitely make again!
Cristina S. November 30, 2015
I'm so glad you liked it, Isabel!
A M. December 5, 2014
This sounds so yummy! I'm going to make it as an afternoon snack for the kids. Can't wait to try it!
Cristina S. December 10, 2014
I hope it turned out well! Thanks for trying it, GullMom!