Catherine Berwick's Parsnip & maple syrup cake

Catherine Berwick's Parsnip & maple syrup cake

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(180 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
    Maple syrup

    Maple syrup

    may-pul sir-rup

    The rising spring sap of a number of varieties of maple tree

  • 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
    Maple syrup

    Maple syrup

    may-pul sir-rup

    The rising spring sap of a number of varieties of maple tree


  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, questions and tips

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Frances Claire
11th Mar, 2017
Really moist and tasty cake. It took 40-45 minutes to cook for me at 180.
1st Jan, 2017
My son wasn't at all keen on the sound of it...what on earth was I thinking of putting parsnips in a cake??? I went ahead and made it anyway and he had to eat his words...and all of the cake! I followed the recipe exactly, apart from using a cream cheese filling as I forgot to buy marscapone. I found it needed an extra five to ten minutes in the oven over the stated time. I'd highly recommend using a food processor for the parsnip grating though! All in all it was a huge success and I'll be baking another next weekend. I can't remember the last time a cake was devoured as quickly!
27th Nov, 2016
I just made this, and despite following the recipe exactly it took over an hour to bake, and is still partially raw inside but crispy outside? What did I do wrong? :(
17th Oct, 2016
I've lost count of the amount of times I've made this cake now - easily in double figures - and it comes out a treat every time. I've never had anyone who didn't love it, which is why I keep making it! It sometimes requires an extra 5-10 minutes than stated, but otherwise follow it to the recipe and it'll come out a treat. It's now my boyfriends favourite cake ever (much to his mother's dismay). The mascarpone filling is spot on - don't be tempted to swap it for buttercream as it brings a slightly more savoury taste to the cake which otherwise would be too sweet, just make sure you use a full fat version and don't mix it too much or it will go too runny to spread. Believe the positive comments - if it's gone wrong it's not the recipe's fault...
14th Feb, 2016
Had this as a Valentine treat and it is just delicious (and a great way to use up a surfeit of parsnips!).
29th Jan, 2016
Flat, undercooked despite being in for 15 mins extra, dense and doughy. Won't be bothering with this recipe again.
17th Jan, 2016
Made this cake for a Contact The Elderly afternoon tea. All the guests loved it. I did not have quite enough maple syrup but that made no difference. Very easy to make. If I make any changes next time I make this it would be to try a different filling, though I had no trouble with the filling bring to runny.
reenie2015's picture
16th Oct, 2015
I found it rather overpowering with the allspice and orange. The filling was runny and had to throw it away. Stuck with a plain butter-cream filling instead.
24th Sep, 2015
I made this for a Macmillan coffee morning to raise for cancer research and it was entered into a bake off before selling. I came second. It is by far superior to the carrot cake as I did a trial run first to sample. OMG. I love it I would give it 10 *
20th Apr, 2015
I made this cake a while ago - it went down really well at a family gathering. I replaced the pecans with the same weight of chopped roasted hazelnuts. I loved the flavour, but must confess I haven't tried it the original way to compare.


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