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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30th Apr, 2013
Moist and delicious, nobody could guess what was in it they thought it was apple and cinnamon.
28th Mar, 2013
This is one of my all time favourite cake recipes. I can't wait to use it for one of my winter weddings. It is the type of cake people should try before they know what is inside it. I cannot imagine anyone not liking it!
23rd Mar, 2013
Brilliant! My Daughter helped and we made a great job of it! Maple syrup is my favourite and the addition of a one a day bonus! only used 150g of Mascapone which seems enough! Very nice! My son had 2 helping of the "Surprise Cake" (he doesn't like Parsnip's) Loved it!!!
22nd Mar, 2013
I've just made this for a group of cake loving friends who are coming to my house tonight. There is a long standing joke about me and parsnips (just cos I'm a vegetarian) so I cant wait to see their faces when I tell them whats in it! I only had smaller cake tins so with the leftovers I made some cupcakes, I'm looking forward to trying them. It states 20 prep time - it took me nearly 3 times that long with all the weighing, grating and mixing - hopefully it's worth it.
4th Mar, 2013
This was a brilliant cake. So moist and yet not too rich. I kept everyone guessing what the ingredients were!
4th Mar, 2013
This was a brilliant cake. So moist and yet not too rich. I kept everyone guessing what the ingredients were!
laura_dickson's picture
12th Feb, 2013
One of the best cakes I've ever made! Like some others have said, I baked it for a bit longer, about 50 minutes. I made it in one big deep cake tin instead of two sandwich tins and it turned out wonderfully. I also used golden syrup and left out the nuts and orange juice. The only problem is it doesn't last very long :)
9th Feb, 2013
Took this to a friend's house last night for dessert. Disappeared fairly quickly! Definitely needs longer than 25 mins at 160 though; at least 40. 180 might be a better temp - will have to give it another go.
29th Jan, 2013
Lovely moist cake...
20th Jan, 2013
I substituted parsnip for sweet potato, maple syrup for golden syrup and marscapone for Philadelphia light! Really good, my husbands favourite cake so far.


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