We [Editor’s Note: The royal we here refers to The Ballymaloe School] subscribe to a variety of food magazines from all over the world. We all love to flick through them–they spark off ideas and occasionally we find a little gem like this maple parsnip cake recipe for a delicious winter dessert, which was inspired by a recipe from BBC Good Food.–Darina Allen
LC Hey, Carrot Cake, We’ve Met Someone New Note
Though not quite as sweet as everyone’s beloved carrot cake, this unpretentious maple parsnip cake is a welcome change of pace. And it never fails to wow even the most ardent veggie adversaries, whether the cake is stacked in lovely layers or spread out flat in a baking dish. [Editor’s Note: For the simpler, single-tier version that’s made in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, take a gander at the variation beneath the recipe.] As for the mascarpone and maple frosting that’s judiciously slathered atop, we’d all be a little better off if there was more of that on the cake—and in our lives.
Special Equipment: Two 8- or 9-inch cake pans
Maple Parsnip Cake Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 45 M
- 2 H, 30 M
- Serves 8
- For the parsnip cake
- 12 tablespoons (6 ounces) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 3 cups peeled and grated parsnips (about 2)
- 1 cup peeled, cored, and grated apple (any variety; about 1 medium)
- 1/2 cup pecans or hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest, preferably organic
- 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
- For the maple frosting
- 1 cup mascarpone, chilled
- 3 to 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)
- Make the parsnip cake
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Lightly butter two 8- or 9-inch cake pans and line the pans with parchment paper cut to fit.
- 2. Warm the butter, sugar, and maple syrup in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until completely combined. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, then whisk in the eggs.
- 3. Sift the flour, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice into a large bowl. Gently fold in the butter and sugar mixture just until combined. Add the grated parsnips and apple, pecans or hazelnuts, orange zest, and juice and stir just until combined. Spread the mixture into the pans and bake for 25 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edge of the cakes and then invert them onto the rack, remove the pans, and let stand for at least 1 hour or until completely cool.
- Make the maple frosting
- 4. Beat the mascarpone and 3 tablespoons maple syrup in a medium bowl until well blended. Taste and, if desired, add up to 1 tablespoon more maple syrup.
- Assemble the cake
- 5. Place 1 of the cakes on a cake stand or a serving plate. Plop a few tablespoons frosting on the cake and spread it evenly over the top. Situate the second cake, bottom side up, on the frosted cake. Spoon the rest of the frosting on the second cake and spread it evenly over the top, leaving the sides unfrosted. If desired, dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.
- Maple Parsnip Sheet Cake
- Instead of using two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans, use one 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Just smooth the batter in the buttered pan lined with parchment. The baking time will be the same as directed in the recipe for the round cakes. Cool the cake in the pan and frost it in there, too. Easy peasy.
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