Catherine Berwick's Parsnip & maple syrup cake

Catherine Berwick's Parsnip & maple syrup cake

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(142 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)

lydia_schilbach's picture

This cake is lovely and not at all parsnippy. I would however, say that it can serve way more than 8 portions (more like 16) because it is dense (in a good way) and the marscapone filling is rich (and gorgeous). I also "dressed" it with some piped filling mixture and whole pecans before dusting... it looks rather pro, even if I do say so myself!

purplegiraffe's picture

Kids loved it!!!

jessdab's picture

yummy! came out a lot darker than the picture and took at least 45mins in the oven but definitely worth waiting for. the cream filling is particularly good, will definitely use again for other cakes.

traciewebb's picture

Forgot the stars - 5.

traciewebb's picture

This cake is superb. I think it is my new favourite. Grating parsnip is a bit of a pain but definitely worth it. I put slightly less sugar in but otherwise stuck to the recipe. It's easy to make and very easy to eat! I shall definitely be making this again.

luisag's picture

The prep takes a bit of time but it is soo worth it. Absolutely delicious! So moist and tasty, I may even prefer it to Carrot cake and that is saying something!

minicoopergirl's picture

Damn I always forget to rate so here it is!!

minicoopergirl's picture

Have made this today,so excited to try it,have guests for tea! Bet they wont guess as to whats in it!! My cake only took 30mins to cook its turned out just like the picture, I used cream cheese instead of mascapone, didnt think it needed the lemon juice thats I would normaly put with that, didnt have pecans so used walnuts instead. Kept having little tastes as I went, I think it would be ok without any nuts at all and would taste just as good, would keep everything else just the same.

lesleyboyzz's picture

I hadn't made a cake in over 5 years but having been given a glut of parsnips and fed up making parsnip soup, I tried this cake. I used golden syrup instead of maple syrup and it was absolutely delicious. As it didn't last very long, I'm making another one and will try it with maple syrup this time!

harmony802005's picture

Made this cake for my mums birthday and she loved it no one could guess it had parsnips in it,she was amazed and my mum who is a chef has said this is the most amazing cake she has ever tried, that coming from my mum is an amazing comment,so yes this cake is a very big hit,just glad it came out so well,it looks like a dense cake but its not its quite light amazing cake,great recipe will be making this again

harmony802005's picture

Made this cake for my mums birthday and she loved it no one could guess it had parsnips in it,she was amazed and my mum who is a chef has said this is the most amazing cake she has ever tried, that coming from my mum is an amazing comment,so yes this cake is a very big hit,just glad it came out so well,it looks like a dense cake but its not its quite light amazing cake,great recipe will be making this again

lynetteab's picture

Delicious and easy to make. Best of all, it was a winner all round! Even the hard-core parsnip haters could not resist devouring every last morsel of this cake.... :-)

pattinghamkate's picture

Fab cake. I made this for my fiance's birthday lunch, and even the veggie-phobes amongst our friends loved it. Mind you, we didn't tell them what was in it until after they'd eaten it!!

lizleicester's picture

Swapped marscapone icing for butter icing and decorated top with pecan nuts. Took it to party and have since had to print several copies of the recipe for friends! Delicious way to increase my already high intake of parsnips.

tedlington's picture

Quite simply the best cake I ever made! Followed the recipe exactly apart from the cooking time, it did take 45mins exactly. The cake is so moist and soft and the marscapone cheese so light. I've never really liked buttercream filling and this is so much better. My husband was amazed when I told him what was in the cake, he never would have guessed. I would recommend this to everyone to bake, it looks like something you would pay a fortune for in a really good teashop.

lottie75's picture

This cake was amazing! So moist. Two finicky children and one finicky husband love it! Will make again!

janegatford's picture

My best "recipe" friend awarded me A* for presentation and taste for this cake, we are always swapping recipes and bring in our latest creations to work for each others opinion. This cake is so moist and will be making this one again! Thank you BBC Good Food. Great way to use a glut of parsnips given to me by another work friend. By the way, I followed the recipe to the letter, yum!

kwarrill's picture

This was a truly delicious cake; moist, light and YUMMY! Will most definitely do again.

annaholbrook1's picture

The best cake I have ever made. I took one into one and it went very quickly. Great with a cup of tea.

jo_kelly's picture

Fabulous cake, one of my all time favourites. Have also tried it with pears and walnuts when I've had to improvise and it's still delicious.


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