Catherine Berwick's Parsnip & maple syrup cake

Catherine Berwick's Parsnip & maple syrup cake

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(154 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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21st Mar, 2014
This cake is nice but I can't help but think that life is too short to grate parsnips for a cake. If you plan on grating by hand then don't attempt this recipe if you have weak wrists or tire easily as I found it took a surprisingly long time and amount of energy to grate the parsnips. I needed to bake it for longer than stated, an extra ten minutes or so. I only had 17cms sandwich tins so I filled them half way (as you would for the 20cms tins) and used the remaining mix in muffin cases. I baked the cakes and muffins separately to avoid them sinking and having to open the oven door. I baked it in an AGA by placing a cold shelf on the second from bottom shelf and then the rack on the bottom of the AGA and the cake tins directly on the rack.
10th Mar, 2014
Thought I'd try this recipe as an alternative to carrot cake and I'm so glad I did! It's delicious! It went down a treat at work. Will definitely make this one again.
23rd Feb, 2014
This may seem weird but add a tablespoon of fish oil it tastes amazing!!!!
19th Feb, 2014
This cake is simply the best!! 5 stars out of 5!!!
19th Feb, 2014
Fabulous,, lovely and moist, wondering what it would be like with less sugar!,,
3rd Nov, 2013
In a word, stunning! Think I may even prefer this to carrot cake! Kept it in the over for an extra 10 mins just to be sure but cooked perfectly, will definitely be making this again! Just a shame maple syrup is so expensive! Anybody tried an alternative?
Rachel Ivy
2nd May, 2014
I used golden syrup, which worked fine. Can you actually taste the maple syrup in the finished cake? In my cake, the flavour of the spices was the most dominant taste.
29th Oct, 2013
I have told so many people about this cake, what really parsnip - yes it's gorgeous!!! This has to be a massive cake success and is now one of my all time favourites. Everyone who has tried it has enjoyed it, my only bug bare is having to grate the parsnips but apart from that yum!!!
16th Oct, 2013
Used magimix so was dead quick to make, but maybe could have been better done with a hand grater as veg was quite course. Have faith in the filling I didn't like the flavour on its own but in the cake it was delicious . Did take 45 -50 mins to cook. Lovely moist cake that kept for a few days in fridge.
14th Oct, 2013
Made this today for a birthday cake. I used walnuts instead of pecans and golden syrup for maple syrup. I held back some of the orange juice & zest to mix in to the filling. Made my filling with a mixture of marscapone and philadelphia cream cheese about half and half. I also made extra filling to use on the top. For the top I added a little vanilla. Before I baked this cake I read comments here that referred to baking time. I went for 180 in my fan oven and extended the time from 25mins to about 40. Have to say it is still moist but not overly so, and delicious!


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