Parsnip Cake with Blood Orange Buttercream

August 16, 2016
4 Ratings
Photo by Linda Xiao
  • Serves 16
Author Notes

I do not know if my considerable fondness for this cake stems from the quantity of parsnips hidden within it or because those parsnips have been subsumed into a greater whole, a toothsome cake with an appealing but hard-to-pinpoint flavor. Regardless, it’s a winner.

Reprinted from Lucky Peach Presents: Power Vegetables! Copyright © 2016 by Lucky Peach, LLC. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC. —Food52

What You'll Need
  • For the blood orange buttercream:
  • 2 blood oranges, juiced (about 1/2 cup juice)
  • 2 sticks (8 oz) butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • For the cake:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups grated parsnips (from 1 pound peeled parsnips)
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  1. Make the buttercream: Pour the blood orange juice into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half and syrupy, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-high until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stop the machine, add the reduced blood orange juice, and beat to incorporate. Incorporate the confectioners’ sugar into the creamed butter 1 cup at a time—stop the machine, add it, slowly stir it in, increase the speed to really beat it, then stop and repeat. This is not a don’t-overwork-it thing, this is a keep your-kitchen-from-looking-like-a-wig-powdering-room thing.
  3. Make the cake: Heat the oven to 350°F for cake or 375°F for cupcakes. Grease a 13 × 9-inch pan, two 9-inch round cake pans, or line 18 cups of a muffin tin with paper liners.
  4. Whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, oil, milk, salt, and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ground cloves and stir together with the whisk until smooth and homogenous, about 2 minutes. Fold the parsnips and ginger into the cake batter.
  5. Pour the batter into the greased pan(s)—this batter isn’t going to grow much in the oven, so fill the cake pan(s) or cupcake liners to within a half inch of the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake or cupcake comes out clean, about 24 minutes for cake, 16 minutes for cupcakes. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove whatever you’ve baked from whatever it was baked in, and cool completely on a rack before frosting.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Taylor Stanton
    Taylor Stanton
  • Ann

2 Reviews

Taylor S. November 15, 2021
I've been intrigued by this cake for a few years so when I found myself with a few extra parsnips, I knew that I had to make this. It's definitely very parsnip-forward and the spices help balance it out. I liked it but don't know that I'd make it again. I really prefer just a simple spice cake or apple cake instead! But don't skip the blood orange buttercream as it really ties everything together.
Ann October 17, 2016
I think the headline has a typo, but "bloody" orange sounds appropriate with Halloween coming up. :)