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)

chazza1984's picture

unusual ingredients, but absolutely beautiful. Very moist.

jiggler69's picture

A superb tasting cake. very moist and the aroma while baking was great and lingered for ages. Its quite a heavy cake to eat. Took me about 1hr and half to prepare and took me 35-40 mins to bake it in the fan oven. Not a big fan of maple syrup or pecans but the many other flavours in the cake were not overpowered by these ingredients at all and held their own. A very good and original recipe.

manzalaoui's picture

A real easy cake and very nice, my son who nwill not eat veg loves it

matthews41's picture

After reading everyone's comments about this cake, I had no option but to try it.

As someone who does not find "cakes and sweets" easy to make, this was super easy and found favour with everyone in the house and at work! I even have had colleages asking me when I was going to bring homemake cake to school again!!

rachdeakin's picture

I made this last night, I left out the nuts however and used golden syrup as maple syrup was four times the price! It turned out really well, tastes gorgeous. Its really moist, it has a different taste to it similar to the way carrot cake does but you would never know its got parsnips in. The marscapone goes really well and the whole thing is a lot less sweeter than most cakes so perfect for people who haven't got a particularly sweet tooth. I'm going to Canada soon so will make again with real maple syrup!

crothers's picture

This cake is fantastic. The whole family loved it. Very easy to make, lovely taste, very moist, will definately make again.

janerollinson's picture

This was one of the best cakes I've made, and everyone loved it, from 4 years old to 70! I didn't quite have enough parsnips so added some carrot to make up the quantity - gorgeous!

kasiadawson's picture

can i substitute aples for any other fruit...??? i want to make the cake for someone allergic to apples... x.

icklefetus's picture

This cake was absolutely beautiful! Very soft, moist and had great flavour. It was so easy to make too.

This is one which will be going into my "classics" recipe book for the future and as one of those cakes which will be made again and again and again....

jammyd's picture

Sorry, forgot my stars - a storming 5 for this new classic!

jammyd's picture

My mum gave this 20 out of 10 which even allowing for her bias is a good score! Everyone was ooo'ing and aaah'ing and saying that it was like the very best posh deli cake. Praise indeed. So tasty and moist and rises beautifully. PLUS, I am a coeliac so made it with gluten-free flour - deelish!

chocolateaddict's picture

Absolutely delicious - cake is light but moist - similar to carrot cake but slightly different flavour. The mascaropne filling works really well - nice and creamy which is a great contrast to the cake. Good work!

01diesel's picture

I have now made this cake numerous times, everyone who tastes it comments on how moist and delicious it is and always ask for the recipe, easy to do and extremely tasty, one of the few ways I can get my husband to eat parsnips and want more !

emsmith's picture

Absolutely gorgeous! The consistency is just beautiful and you would never know there were parsnips lurking. They just give the cake a wonderful consistency and texture. I've made cupcakes with these and put pecans in half (for myself and my husband) and left them out of the other half so I can feed them to my two small children. Great way to get veggies into them on the sly!

bethocallaghan's picture

Very good. Really enjoyed it - despite being initially sceptical of the parsnip!

gurneyd's picture

oh my goodness...this cake is deee-lush-us! yes it takes a little prep and you may not have all the ingredients in the store cupboard, but it is so worth it. We left out the nuts. This cake went down a storm with our guests, will definitely be making this again and again.

astret's picture

Made this with honey instead of maple syrup and it came out lovely, also that means less sugar! Definately a healthier option!

bbcheek's picture

I baked this for my family, it did need longer baking than recipe says. We all love carrot cake.....and parsnips, but we thought that this one was awful! I don't know what i did wrong but it ended up in the bin. I would love to know if anyone else thought this or just us!

laurajacques's picture

Just love this cake - going to try it with an orange frosting next time!

redsnapperuk's picture

I have just taken out of the oven Parsnip, maple syrup and pecan muffins and my hubby thinks they are fab. I used Catherine Marshall's recipe and adapted it to my own basic muffin recipe. Great mix of flavours. Love it!


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