Catherine Berwick's Parsnip & maple syrup cake

Catherine Berwick's Parsnip & maple syrup cake

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(150 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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11th Oct, 2012
Wow! I really loved this cake and so did my friends. Took quite a bit of time to prepare but then it was easy. Very moist and tasted even better the next day! Can't say we could taste the parsnips though....will make again.
9th Sep, 2012
I was looking for something new to bake for my Mother in Law's birthday when I stumbled across this recipe and being a fan of both parsnips and maple syrup I couldn't resist it. As I started preparing it I realised I was out of a few ingredients so a few subsititutions were made: I had no apples so I used a nice large ripe but firm pear instead. I also had no oranges so I used a packet of preserved orange rind and omitted the juice. For the filling I substituted Philadelphia for the marscapone. This cake did not disappoint. It was absolutely delicious. Moist, surprisingly light and thoroughly enjoyed by all who tried it and of course they were all very surprised to hear what it contained. I will be making lots more of these in the future.
18th Aug, 2012
Found this recipe a few years back when trying to use up some parsnips which had almost had it. I've made many cakes in the past but this easily tops them all. Around 40-45 mins in the oven does it for me (if looking too dark on top, cut out a circle of baking paper and cover it). Golden syrup works well if maple syrup is too pricey. This cake is so moreish but rich (and I don't often say that!) Sometimes I feel the marscepone is too heavy. Whipped cream subs well, or a mixture of whipped cream/mascarpone.
13th Aug, 2012
love love love this recipe. can't get enough of it. i have made it more than once using golden syrup instead of maple syrup - just to save a few pennies as maple syrup tends to be a bit pricey.
31st Jul, 2012
Really nice recipe - tastes quite sweet but mainly of maple syrup and is very filling! I advertised this at work as a simple 'Maple and Pecan' cake - no-one guessed the sneaky ingredient! Went down well and disappeared very quickly. Especially tasted pretty good straight from the fridge the next morning...
28th Jul, 2012
Well I have made the cake yesterday and done filling today, however i would be wary of putting so much maple syrup into the mascarpone, i only put three tbsp in and way to runny, so bought another tub of the stuff and just put that in the middle and it was perfect, lovely taste and not at all too sickly, would definitely make again. Other than omitting the maple syrup for the filling, I kept all the ingredients as listed...
27th Jul, 2012
I am about to embark on making this scrummy looking cake, cant wait to try it..... as every comment is a great one..
24th Jul, 2012
I made this for my partner's birthday as she's a keen fruit and vegetable gardener and foodie experimentalist. I followed the recipe and method to a tee apart from going with the suggestion in the comments of reducing the sugar to 175g. I baked it in the bottom oven of the Aga for 45 minutes and it was absolutely perfect. The only bit of near disaster came when I was trying to tip one of the halves onto a wire rack - it nearly split! I've baked hundreds of cakes, hundreds of birthday cakes even, and this is right up there with the best. Very satisfying, tasty, so easy to make, and just a winner in every way.
25th Jun, 2012
I typed in gluten free cake and this recipe came up but it does not mention gluten free flour. Has anyone done it gluten free?
21st Jun, 2012
I took this cake to work and everyone liked it, particularly the men for a change. However, somebody said 'It's very nice - but I like your carrot cake better.' So I don't think I'll bother making this one again, unless I have an assistant for the prep. All that peeling, grating, chopping and zesting put a damper on my enthusiasm!


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