Spiced Parsnip Cake - Weekend at the Cottage

Spiced Parsnip Cake

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in the middle and lower positions. Butter and flour a 9x13” baking dish and set aside.
  2. Place walnuts, pecans and pumpkin seeds into a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside.
  3. Cut off a 4” portion of parsnip and slice into ¼” rounds. Divide each round in half and place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with vegetable oil and a sprinkle of sugar and set aside.
  4. Add the rest of the parsnips into the chimney of the food processor set with a fine grate attachment and process until grated. Grate the pears in the same fashion. Place parsnips, pear and ginger into a medium-sized bowl and toss together.
  5. Place dry ingredients into a medium-sized bowl. Whisk together, then pass through a sifter. Set aside.
  6. Place sugar and oils into a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in three steps, mixing well after the addition of each. Add vanilla extract and stir together. Add nuts and parsnip/pear/ginger blend and stir until everything is well combined.
  7. Transfer to prepared baking pan and place into oven on middle rack for 1 hour. Place baking sheet with parsnip sections on lower rack for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and cool. After 5 minutes, turn cake out onto a cross-wire rack and cool completely. Cut into 12 large square pieces or 48 smaller square pieces.
  9. To serve without spiced icing, dust pieces with icing sugar and serve.
  10. Prepare the icing: Place cream cheese and butter into a medium-sized bowl and beat with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add icing sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and ginger and beat until combined. Place icing into a pastry bag fitted with a 4B star-shaped nib.
  11. Pipe icing into a rosette shape on top of each piece of cake, then add a portion of roasted parsnip and a piece of sliced candied ginger. Dust with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Serve.
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Spiced Parsnip Cake

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A moist spice cake studded with chopped nuts, finished with a creamy frosting.

  • clock icon
    80 MIN
  • 12-48 SERVINGS
Spiced Parsnip Cake

A seasonal favourite, enjoy this Spiced Parsnip Cake!

I am crazy in love with this recipe for SPICED PARSNIP CAKE. Heartfelt thanks to the two people I love who inspired it, my cousin Linda and my sister Dana.

A few months back I sent out a request to friends and family asking, “Who has a killer recipe for carrot cake?” Linda wrote back with a recipe that caught my eye because the cake used eggs and oil but no milk. Dana’s recipe was good too. I loved her submission with a little-handwritten addendum: “also tasty, when made with parsnips.” Parsnips! I knew I’d just been handed a dessert challenge!

After many attempts and fine tweaking, here’s a cake I’m proud to recommend for the cool fall months. This SPICED PARSNIP CAKE is a new, family favourite!

Here are a few things I learned when we tweaked and tested the recipe:

Ingredients for Spiced Parsnip Cake

PARSNIPS

These stars of the recipe have a unique flavour I can’t get enough of, especially when it shines alongside the sweet and spicy cake.

PEARS AND GINGER

Almost every carrot cake recipe you see calls for the addition of pineapple. I figured this cake deserved a fruit component that speaks to the season. Grating the pears (try Barlett, Bosc or Forelle) and adding them to the parsnip gives the cake a lovely fruit flavour. The grated fresh ginger adds a hint of heat. I also add a tiny slice of sugared or candied ginger onto each piece of cake as part of the garnish. You can find it at bulk food stores.

Dry ingredients and spices for the spiced cake recipe

SPICES

Cinnamon seems ideal for a cake like this, but then I started trying the recipe with different spices. In the end, the winning combination was cinnamon and ground ginger. Then I added ground coriander and cardamom too! The spiciness of the cake is perfection.

The cake baked with chopped walnuts, pecans and pumpkin seeds

NUTS AND SEEDS

The fresh walnuts and pecans are outstanding this time of year, and I like the pumpkin seeds for their subtle flavour. Roughly chop these three ingredients if you enjoy larger pieces in your dessert.

Cream cheese icing

ICING

The icing is simple and straightforward. I just loved how the addition of lemon juice and spices make that cream cheese taste so darn good. I used this LEMON CREAM CHEESE ICING as the springboard.

Spiced Parsnip Cake

PRESENTATION

Make sure you watch the video where I explain how an accident became the signature look of this dessert, and it’s all thanks to a cross-wire rack! The beauty of this recipe is its simplicity, whether you serve it with nothing more than a dusting of icing sugar or a rosette of the spiced icing. You can serve this cake on individual plates or, on a platter or cake stand from a dessert station.

Menu ideas? How about our POTATO AND LEEK soup as a first course followed by a flavourful main like our BREADED PORK CHOPS . Then serve this cake as the perfect ending to a delicious meal!

SPICED PARSNIP CAKE is an excellent adventure in creating a simple yet unique dessert.

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Spiced Parsnip Cake

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Spiced Parsnip Cake

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CAKE:
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup pecans
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 parsnips, peeled
  • 2 pears, peeled and cored
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon each ground ginger, ground coriander and ground cardamom
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ of a cup canola oil
  • ¾ of a cup walnut oil
  • 4 extra large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • FOR THE ICING:
  • 1 package cream cheese, room temperature (250 g)
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature (½ cup)
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • FOR THE GARNISH:
  • pieces of roasted parsnip (instructions below)
  • slices of candied ginger
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in the middle and lower positions. Butter and flour a 9x13” baking dish and set aside.
  2. Place walnuts, pecans and pumpkin seeds into a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside.
  3. Cut off a 4” portion of parsnip and slice into ¼” rounds. Divide each round in half and place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with vegetable oil and a sprinkle of sugar and set aside.
  4. Add the rest of the parsnips into the chimney of the food processor set with a fine grate attachment and process until grated. Grate the pears in the same fashion. Place parsnips, pear and ginger into a medium-sized bowl and toss together.
  5. Place dry ingredients into a medium-sized bowl. Whisk together, then pass through a sifter. Set aside.
  6. Place sugar and oils into a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in three steps, mixing well after the addition of each. Add vanilla extract and stir together. Add nuts and parsnip/pear/ginger blend and stir until everything is well combined.
  7. Transfer to prepared baking pan and place into oven on middle rack for 1 hour. Place baking sheet with parsnip sections on lower rack for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and cool. After 5 minutes, turn cake out onto a cross-wire rack and cool completely. Cut into 12 large square pieces or 48 smaller square pieces.
  9. To serve without spiced icing, dust pieces with icing sugar and serve.
  10. Prepare the icing: Place cream cheese and butter into a medium-sized bowl and beat with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add icing sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and ginger and beat until combined. Place icing into a pastry bag fitted with a 4B star-shaped nib.
  11. Pipe icing into a rosette shape on top of each piece of cake, then add a portion of roasted parsnip and a piece of sliced candied ginger. Dust with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Serve.

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