Catherine Berwick's Parsnip & maple syrup cake

Catherine Berwick's Parsnip & maple syrup cake

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(141 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 45 mins


Serves 8
The winner of Good Food's 20th birthday cake competition, we think this is the new carrot cake

Nutrition and extra info

  • Unfilled sponges can be frozen


  • kcal697
  • fat41g
  • saturates22g
  • carbs79g
  • sugars52g
  • fibre3g
  • protein8g
  • salt1.12g
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  • 175g butter, plus extra for greasing



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 250g demerara sugar
  • 100ml maple syrup
  • 3 large eggs



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 250g parsnips, peeled and grated



    The fact that the parsnip is a member of the carrot family comes as no surprise - it looks just…

  • 1 medium eating apple, peeled, cored and grated



    Grown in temperate regions, apples are one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits. There are…

  • 50g pecans, roughly chopped



    Related to the walnut, pecans are native to America, and grow enclosed in a glossy, browny-red…

  • zest and juice 1 small orange



    One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

  • icing sugar, to serve

For the filling

  • 250g tub mascarpone
  • 3-4 tbsp maple syrup


  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease 2 x 20cm sandwich tins and line the bases with baking parchment. Melt butter, sugar and maple syrup in a pan over gentle heat, then cool slightly. Whisk the eggs into this mixture, then stir in the flour, baking powder and mixed spice, followed by the grated parsnip, apple, chopped pecans, orange zest and juice. Divide between the tins, then bake for 25-30 mins until the tops spring back when pressed lightly.

  2. Cool the cakes slightly in the tins before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely. Just before serving, mix together the mascarpone and maple syrup. Spread over one cake and sandwich with the other. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.

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Comments (182)

mcleigh1a's picture

I have told so many people about this cake, what really parsnip - yes it's gorgeous!!! This has to be a massive cake success and is now one of my all time favourites. Everyone who has tried it has enjoyed it, my only bug bare is having to grate the parsnips but apart from that yum!!!

stephenjoanne's picture

Used magimix so was dead quick to make, but maybe could have been better done with a hand grater as veg was quite course.
Have faith in the filling I didn't like the flavour on its own but in the cake it was delicious .
Did take 45 -50 mins to cook.
Lovely moist cake that kept for a few days in fridge.

JW_69's picture

Made this today for a birthday cake. I used walnuts instead of pecans and golden syrup for maple syrup. I held back some of the orange juice & zest to mix in to the filling.
Made my filling with a mixture of marscapone and philadelphia cream cheese about half and half. I also made extra filling to use on the top. For the top I added a little vanilla.
Before I baked this cake I read comments here that referred to baking time. I went for 180 in my fan oven and extended the time from 25mins to about 40.
Have to say it is still moist but not overly so, and delicious!

raven's picture

Moist and delicious, nobody could guess what was in it they thought it was apple and cinnamon.

franziska's picture

This is one of my all time favourite cake recipes. I can't wait to use it for one of my winter weddings. It is the type of cake people should try before they know what is inside it. I cannot imagine anyone not liking it!

pab3032's picture

Brilliant! My Daughter helped and we made a great job of it!
Maple syrup is my favourite and the addition of a one a day bonus!
only used 150g of Mascapone which seems enough! Very nice!
My son had 2 helping of the "Surprise Cake" (he doesn't like Parsnip's) Loved it!!!

lildripping's picture

I've just made this for a group of cake loving friends who are coming to my house tonight. There is a long standing joke about me and parsnips (just cos I'm a vegetarian) so I cant wait to see their faces when I tell them whats in it!
I only had smaller cake tins so with the leftovers I made some cupcakes, I'm looking forward to trying them.
It states 20 prep time - it took me nearly 3 times that long with all the weighing, grating and mixing - hopefully it's worth it.

allikennelly146's picture

This was a brilliant cake. So moist and yet not too rich. I kept everyone guessing what the ingredients were!

allikennelly146's picture

This was a brilliant cake. So moist and yet not too rich. I kept everyone guessing what the ingredients were!

laura_dickson's picture

One of the best cakes I've ever made! Like some others have said, I baked it for a bit longer, about 50 minutes. I made it in one big deep cake tin instead of two sandwich tins and it turned out wonderfully. I also used golden syrup and left out the nuts and orange juice. The only problem is it doesn't last very long :)

erinvermaak's picture

Took this to a friend's house last night for dessert. Disappeared fairly quickly! Definitely needs longer than 25 mins at 160 though; at least 40. 180 might be a better temp - will have to give it another go.

florenceminier1953's picture

Lovely moist cake...

edwards14's picture

I substituted parsnip for sweet potato, maple syrup for golden syrup and marscapone for Philadelphia light! Really good, my husbands favourite cake so far.

claudiasherlock's picture

Never had parsnip cake before, and can't say I found the idea all that appetising. Glad I decided to give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised.

sarahprince2's picture

Baked this for a birthday - took about 45 mins in fan oven, also used slightly less maple syrup in filling than suggested. I know it is meant to be moist but did wonder if it was a tad too moist, hard to know when it was cooked although did usual skewer test. No complaints from the eaters!! Would definitely make again, nice flavour.

polldoodle's picture

Absolutely delicious, and so easy to make. Give it a try!

45sirivor's picture

Lovely cake, will definitely be cooking over and over again.

basilmonkey's picture

I made this cake with walnuts instead of pecans and it was delicious. The parsnip keeps the cake moist without adding a parsnippy flavour. Would definately make it again.

jwwhyte's picture

Made this for my other halfs birthday - it was fantastic, and even after 3 days it was still moist. Very easy, and the pecans are a delicious addition.

tink1963's picture

Love this cake! I've previously made it sticking to the exact ingredients but today had a go at changing it and it was just as delicious. I used Clover light instead of the butter and 2/3 the amount of mascarpone which in total saved over 1,000 calories. I didn't have an orange so used a lemon and didn't have maple syrup (which is over £5 a bottle) so used agave syrup (which is available plain as I used or in maple syrup flavour). Baked at 160*c in my fan oven and it took 25 mins to be perfectly cooked through.


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