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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16th Dec, 2012
Never had parsnip cake before, and can't say I found the idea all that appetising. Glad I decided to give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised.
4th Dec, 2012
Baked this for a birthday - took about 45 mins in fan oven, also used slightly less maple syrup in filling than suggested. I know it is meant to be moist but did wonder if it was a tad too moist, hard to know when it was cooked although did usual skewer test. No complaints from the eaters!! Would definitely make again, nice flavour.
4th Dec, 2012
Absolutely delicious, and so easy to make. Give it a try!
22nd Nov, 2012
Lovely cake, will definitely be cooking over and over again.
12th Nov, 2012
I made this cake with walnuts instead of pecans and it was delicious. The parsnip keeps the cake moist without adding a parsnippy flavour. Would definately make it again.
11th Nov, 2012
Made this for my other halfs birthday - it was fantastic, and even after 3 days it was still moist. Very easy, and the pecans are a delicious addition.
9th Nov, 2012
Love this cake! I've previously made it sticking to the exact ingredients but today had a go at changing it and it was just as delicious. I used Clover light instead of the butter and 2/3 the amount of mascarpone which in total saved over 1,000 calories. I didn't have an orange so used a lemon and didn't have maple syrup (which is over £5 a bottle) so used agave syrup (which is available plain as I used or in maple syrup flavour). Baked at 160*c in my fan oven and it took 25 mins to be perfectly cooked through.
2nd Nov, 2012
My husband rated this 'the best cake he has ever had!!'
20th Oct, 2012
Fantastic cake! Fooled everyone, and most people came back for more. I'll definitely make it a core of my repertoire. Delicious, moist and indulgent, despite its veggie contents. A sure-fire winner.
20th Oct, 2012
I made this mixture up without the nuts, using both gluten free flour and baking powder. Rather than make it into one large cake I made 25 cupcakes and baked them for 15-20 mins. To finish them off I made up a butter cream with maple syrup added. The result was fantastic! I will definitely be making them or maybe the large cake again. My daughter turned up her nose when I told her what was in the cakes, but I persuaded her to try them and she loved them.


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