Catherine Berwick's Parsnip & maple syrup cake

Catherine Berwick's Parsnip & maple syrup cake

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(145 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

    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
    Pecan nuts



    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 (184)

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.

felicityhm's picture

This cake was absolutely delicious and many people said it was the best cake they'd ever tasted! I'm making it for the 2nd time in a few weeks.

patilo33's picture

Took time to prepare ingredients but quick to mix together.
Everyone who's tasted this has loved it.
Used syrup, and although it was too sweet for me, it didn't spoil it for others.
Haslenuts went down well in the cake
Spreading the recipe round like confetti.

carlisc's picture

Loved this, made it for work (who are always interested in my vegetable cakes!) and it was gone in minutes!! Yum!

littlefairy6's picture

Absolutley delicious! easy to make, yet fun and interesting. Does need more than 25 - 30mins in oven though. second slice coming up...

joekah's picture

I brought this to work with some trepidation as I had no idea what it would be like to taste and how the texture would be.

It was a resounding success, so tasty, moist and delicious. I've been asked for the recipe. I've been told it's the best cake I've ever made (I bake alot). I would happily have paid for slice in a cafe.

One cake took 45 mins, the other took 50mins. FYI.
Thank you Catherine

lindeelou's picture

This cake is absolutely gorgeous - soooo moist and the maple cream filling is scrumdiddlyumptious!! I will certainly be making this again - it's a hit! Carrot cake is sooooo last season and parsnip cake IS the way forward! :@)

harrish's picture

Lovely moist cake and kept well too. I made a butter cream filling with maple syrup instead of the mascarpone - lovely! Got a lot more than 8 servings too

coxom2's picture

Cooked this cake as suggested it was devine,very moorish no good if you watching your weight.But worth the preperation

philippabird's picture

Amazing birthday cake for my husband ... I replaced maple syrup with golden syrup and doubled the pecans ... it looked really good too (if I say so myself). Thanks so much!

sandra220261's picture

Very easy to make. I had everyone guess the ingredients and to my surprise my husband got it right. I found it a bit heavy but everyone else loved it. I might try a little less parsnip next time.

magrat3d's picture

I brought this cake in to the local primary school to see if the children could identify the parsnip as they are studying vegetables for the harvest. Not one person could think of what it was made with. I didn't add nuts as I was bringing it into a school. Nearly everyone liked the cake and I will definitely be making it again.

riawilson's picture

A very easy cake to make - very moist! I used golden syrup instead of maple syrup and everyone loved it.

FlourCoveredGirl's picture

Have baked this recipe twice now (to the overwhelming appreciation of friends and colleagues). Once as a full size cake (it took 45 mins in the oven as otherwise also suggest), and then as 18 x muffins.
Both were excellent. The muffins looked superb (cooked without cases in a silcone tray so the edges did not go crusty, and had straight rather than sloping sides of the metal tins). With a neat dollop of the marscapone on the top, a very light sprinle of cinnamon, and half a pecan, they looked very professional, and were equally good as a cake with a nice cup of tea, or as a dessert.
There are various grades of maple syrup available, and I found the lighter (and cheaper) version was better suited to this cake as it was not so overwhelming.

This is a dense cake recipe, but very lovely indeed. Definitely comparable to a good carrot cake, and quite a 'comforting' experience to both make and eat.

BTW, I can concurr that no one can tell what the magic ingredient is!

megamuffin89's picture

Amazing! Made this as a birthday cake for my Dad. It was very moist and tasty! After baking in the oven for the recommended time it was nowhere near ready - i would suggest baking for about 40-45 minutes as many have already said, and don't worry about the rapidly darkening colour of the tops of the cakes - its nowhere near burning!

Great recipe!

eforsey's picture

This is, without a doubt, the best cake I have ever made or tasted. I am not very good at baking but this recipe never lets me down. Admitedly, all the grating involved is a little hard work but it's well worth the (husbands!) effort. I have made this cake several times, mostly for a special occasion and the compliments I receive are heart warming.

terrybrooks's picture

I did not have an orange so I left out the zest and added about a 1\4 cup of mango and apple juice that I had in the fridge. Next time I will use cream cheese instead of the marscapone . This is possibly one of the most delicious cakes I have ever eaten. A REAL winner !

schizofish's picture

Used this recipe as a base - my family wanted to try something we had seen on TV, a maple and bacon cupcake. We used this recipe, just swapped out the pecans (which none of us like) for finely chopped crispy bacon. It actually worked quite well - very interesting, not too sweet and quite subtle. Husband insisted buttercream icing, after tasting we think a cream cheese topping would have worked better. Will make both versions again. :)

sophieredican's picture

Not sure if I did something wrong but mine came out far too wet. Not very nice texture because it's so wet but tastes nice although far too sweet. I used honey instead of Maple Syrup for economy reasons. Instead of grating the parsnips and apples I just blitzed them in a food processor without peeling them - took seconds!


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