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)

mejorgen's picture

Fabtastic cake! Recipy states that cake should be layered with mascapone and iced just before serving, but I did this 5 hours before and it was still absolutely perfect at serving time. Will make again very soon!

sharding's picture

My 8 year old son and I have just had a baking day and have made this parsnip cake (and the coffe crunch cake) for my husband to take to the office for his birthday. Can't wait to hear the feedback on the secret ingredient! It looks, smells and, I have no doubt, will taste wonderful. As the cakes are going to the office I don't think I'll get to taste them ... I'll just have to make them again all for me!!!

sharding's picture

My 8 year old son and I have just had a baking day and have made this parsnip cake (and the coffe crunch cake) for my husband to take to the office for his birthday. Can't wait to hear the feedback on the secret ingredient! It looks, smells and, I have no doubt, will taste wonderful. As the cakes are going to the office I don't think I'll get to taste them ... I'll just have to make them again all for me!!!

berryt's picture

Made this for my macmillan coffee morning at work - massive success, with everyone loving it. V easy and definitely a new favourite.

fionablandford's picture

forgot to say - we had so much cake we froze one half and decorated the top of the other with the icing - to which we then sprinkled crushed chocolate flake onto - very tasty!

gailjones's picture

Fantastic cake. Everybody enjoyed it. Would make it again.

fionablandford's picture

made this as a birthday cake and had great fun getting ppl to guess what was in it - no one got it, all were surprised when we told and our 13 year old friend was so horrifed to find out he had eaten parsnips he needed a large piece of chocolate cake to recover. Really enjoyed making the cake, very easy, tasty and moist and still godo three days later - am eating it as I type!

willowby's picture

Was intrigued by the addition of parsnip in this recipe and felt I just had to try it. The cake was absolutely fantastic, very moist and tasty. I cooked it in 3 19inch cake tins as I has enough mixture left over and sandwiched it all together in into a triple layer cake, I also added the rest of the chopped pecans from the pack Id bought into mascapone/syrup mix before sandwiching the cake. Very yummy, my new favorite cake recipe.

mother_ship's picture

Loved this! Made it with golden syrup for reasons of economy and 75g less sugar for reasons of health and it was still absolutely delicious. Seemed somehow lighter than carrot cake, I will definitely be making it again and now I know it's so good I'll try it with maple syrup.

aliiam's picture

Loved by all who tried it and no-one was put off when found out the ingredients! Will be making again soon as people at work want to try it!

rjfuller25's picture

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

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

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

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

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

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.


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