Catherine Berwick's Parsnip & maple syrup cake

Catherine Berwick's Parsnip & maple syrup cake

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(133 ratings)


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Cooking time

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 45 mins

Skill level



Serves 8

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

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Unfilled sponges can be frozen
Nutrition info




  • 175g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 250g demerara sugar
  • 100ml maple syrup
  • 3 large eggs
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 250g parsnips, peeled and grated
  • 1 medium eating apple, peeled, cored and grated
  • 50g pecans, roughly chopped
  • zest and juice 1 small orange
  • icing sugar, to serve

For the filling

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

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  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.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, November 2009

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Show comments
rjfuller25's picture
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Absolutely delicious! Big, big hit with family and friends. Impressive and easy to make.

veritymax's picture

hello, I love all your comments. This is the first time I have written in.
Can anyone tell me how this would work in an aga cake baker? Would you put all the mixture in at once and then cut the cake in half?

kit4kat's picture
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Took me quite a while to prepare all the ingredients...that said it was gorgeous once baked...the lovely spicy aroma while it was baking was devine. Not sure where I went wrong but my mascapone and syrup filling was a little runny...still tasted good though.

janejohnston's picture
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One of the best cakes I've ever made. Really moist and totally foolproof!

gerdabryant's picture

My daughter made this as a school project for DT as a "healthy" cake. Absolutely delicious. Definitely needed 45 minutes in the oven. She used golden syrup as I could not find maple syrup in the local shops.

polopetch's picture
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Well, I tried this recipe with trepidation but fascination. took it to supper at a good friend's house who I knew would give honest feedback. all bar one of the guests loved it and a couple had two slices. I loved the maple syrup flavouring running through the cake and the icing. Will definitely make again. the best bit was getting the guests to guess what the unusual vegetable in the cake was.!!!!

annagrima's picture

Hi there, can any one tell me if using carrots instead of parsnips will make a big difference. Thanks

angelak10's picture
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Delicious! I don't like carrot cake and I sometimes find maple syrup overpowering so I was sceptical about this but it is just lovely. My daughter is devouring it as I type!

The use of mascarpone for the filling is inspired, so much tastier than just heavy cream (more delicate like a good tiramisu). I actually forgot to use the orange juice and zest so I shall be making it again just to make sure!

I do not like pecans so I used 50g of ground almonds instead and the result was so moist, I would hazard a guess that it is possibly an improvement on the pecans....but that is a matter of opinion.

Carrots have got no business being in cakes, but parsnips are now very very welcome!!

marianforsythe's picture

Great recipe, very moist, but although the top instructions say cook 45mins. The actual recipe says 25/30 mins. This was definitely a 45 min. Will certainly do it again.

dawncramb's picture
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just made this and its great! I would think you could use golden syrup as you heat up the butter syrup and sugar at the start - don't see why not!
Fab cake - good twist on the original carrot cake.

holmfirth's picture

can anyone tell me, is it possibble to use golden syrup in place of maple syrup? just don't like the taste of the stuff, sorry :(((((

barbaraneale's picture

My nine year old son made this cake as described for his dad who adores maple syrup and pecans. This was an easy cake to make, fantastic to look at and tasted light and full of flavour . The whole family enjoyed this cake and I have passed the recipe on to so many people who are keen to try. As long as you know people are not allergic to nuts this was fun when offering people the cake and asking them to try and recognise the flavours and texture, they were totally shocked when they learned they had eaten parsnips and it is a fabulous way to get your children to eat veg. Fantastic, well done.

traceybruch's picture

This cake is just divine! I love cakes that use vegetable's in the recipe as they are usually so much moister - this recipe is no exception. 10/10 - Even the cat enjoyed it!