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 (183)

wartski's picture

I've made this recipe twice now for special occasions and it has gone down very well. Delicious and very moist.

chez-ray's picture

Truly exceptional cake which I made for my wife's birthday. Everyone at the party enjoyed it and not a crumb was left.

leppie's picture

Made this with two four year olds who loved the fact that there parsnips and apples in it. The cake turned out beautifully and was delicious. It froze/defrosted well too. Next time I think I will use cream cheese and lemon instead of mascarpone and maple for a slightly tangier flavour. Three people have asked me for the recipe so it's a winner!

anniefiddle's picture

Six months after making this for my work colleagues, it still gets talked about every time cakes come out.

plushthebear's picture

Forgot to say -

As the cake is too much to eat very quickly, I only put the filling over half the cake. Keep the rest in the fridge for when you want to eat the other half. This way the filling stays nice and fresh for the second half, and the cake doesn't get all soggy.

plushthebear's picture

I have made this cake several times now, and it is a family favourite. I would give it more than 5 * if I could.

I always pick out the very baby parsnips, and never grate the very core. (Yes I know I am fussy). If I run out of pecans, I use walnuts.

It seems that whenever I make this cake there is more mixture than will go into 2 x 20cm sandwich tins, so I now leave out the apple - at least it doesn't go over the top now. Nobody had noticed the lack of apple, so hasn't spoilt the taste, and is still nice and moist.

rosie1066's picture


fubitzmum's picture

Made it exactly to the recipe. Don't like parsnips much but liked the idea of a healthier veg cake! There was a LOT of parsnips going in to this so was really unsure about it. Peaked in the oven at 25 mins past and decided this was going to be horrible. Cooked in 30mins cooled and made the filling. Gave 2 slices to Dad to take home to try. Had tea then dished it up and it has to be the nicest cake I have ever eaten. Delicious. Then the phone rang, Dad and Mum just trying theirs and had to let me know it was so nice. Recipe will be dished out to all and I will definitely make this again. Unbelievable and highly recommend!

thegrantgrants's picture

Absolutely delicious! I hate grating fruit and veg and it takes some time (I think the prep took me nearer to 40 mins than the 20 mins stated), but for once it is definitely worth it - and actually once all the ingredients prep is done, it is a very easy recipe. My friends were full of praise for it - the sweetness from the parsnips and maple syup is quite subtle resulting in a lovely moist cake but not overly sugar-y.

woodcon's picture

Typed in Parsnip and got this recipe, had all ingredients (amazingly).
Wow, it was fantastic , took it to work and was gone in a flash !!
Making it again tomorrow for those who missed out.

flare222's picture

This got great reviews from the people I fed it to at work - I had to substitute Maple Syrup for Golden Syrup, as I think everywhere was sold out after Pancake Day, but it came out wonderfully sticky and delicious! I'm making again this weekend!

clara-t's picture

Delicious, similar to a carrot cake, this recipe was so moist and tasty, the filling is lovely too! Not the healthiest though so I gave most of mine away to stop me eating it all!!

pippidoodle's picture

Made this yesterday. I only had 210g of parsnips so just replaced the remainder with another apple. Having it after tea tonight. The only off putting thing for me is using marscapone, as will have to eat up pretty quickly. I may use vanilla or maple flavoured butter vrean next time. Very moist & tasty though.

butterflies1's picture

This cake is superb, I also decorated the top of the cake with the mascapone, no one ever guesses its made with parsnips. Highly recommended. A firm family favorite.

dogsdinner's picture

Baking times need to be changed!! I made this the other day following the recipe instructions and baked for 30 mins, only now have I noticed that the top instructions say cook for 45 mins. I thought it was cooked but maybe it could have done with longer as it is very moist and stodgy. Not sure if this is how it should be or if its undercooked. Its a very filling, dense cake. Don't think I'd be rushing to make it again, the taste is ok but not amazing.

kirsten1969's picture

Delicious cake great hit with friends and family.

anita n's picture

oh wow! easily one of the nicest cakes I've ever made and tasted. Will definately make this again!

auntie mo's picture

a lovely alternative to carrot cake and the marscapone icing was fab. I used maple flavoured golden syrup & walnuts, and it was given the thumbs up by all. Only needed 30 mins in the oven.

rosygirl's picture

Divine! The whole family loved it. Can't wait to make it again.
Left out the nuts.

noirundblanc's picture



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