Catherine Berwick's Parsnip & maple syrup cake

Catherine Berwick's Parsnip & maple syrup cake

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(193 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 a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 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…

  • 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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3rd May, 2020
Lovely Cake! Was a little worried as mixture was really wet!! Came out perfect and surprisingly light! I baked at 170 fan forced. I used metal cake tin for 1 and silicone for the other. Metal tin took approx 30min. Silicone approx 45min approx or until skewer came out clean. Only mixed 2TBLS of maple syrup with mascarpone. Served with a dollop of leftover marscapone/maple mix and drizzled cake with maple syrup! Everyone finished their very large serves!!
1st May, 2020
The cake was reasonable, but had to be baked for nearly an hour! The filling was too runny! Ruined the cake!
Craig Moloney's picture
Craig Moloney
27th Apr, 2020
This is the first cake I've ever made. Followed the recipe exactly, turned out perfectly. Very easy to make, only hard bit is grating a parsnip! Fantastically moist cake, will make again.
12th Oct, 2019
So good! I did have to bake it 15 minutes longer, though. Even then it didn't spring back when I pressed it lightly. I just baked it till it got a nice golden colour. I replaced the eggs with 3 tbsp of ground linseed in 6 tbsp water, and the mascarpone with soy sour cream.
16th Jun, 2019
Disappointed. The cake takes almost 45min to cook not 25min and that was at the fan temperature recommended. Also do not add all the maple syrup into the mascapone for the filling. I only put 3 tablespoons In and it turned into a runny mess. My partner had to use it as a base for a frosting in order to save it . I would recommend adding a tablespoon at a time until you reach the right consistency. Maple syrup and mascapone are not cheap, so I find it frustrating when a recipie mislead you in this manner.
1st May, 2020
We also got a runny mess! I can't understand how it works!
1st May, 2020
I only put 1 and a half spoons of syrup in the mascarpone as I was worried it would be too runny. In the end I added some icing sugar to try and firm it up a bit. It’s now in the fridge to see if that helps!
AndyTastes's picture
18th Jun, 2019
maybe you should learn how to bake.
1st May, 2020
Very unhelpful comment AndyTastes
15th Feb, 2019
Took a little longer than stated and batter a trifle runny but superb taste. Will definitely make again.


21st Apr, 2016
I have an allergy to oranges ☹️ Do you think lemon would work instead?
30th Nov, 2014
Has anyone tried freezing the icing (separately from the cake)? I know mascarpone can separate when frozen, but you can whip it back to smoothness. Just wondering if it works ok with the maple syrup in it, or best to add maple syrup once defrosted.
21st Apr, 2014
Would it be ok to make the cakes a day ahead and then assemble before serving?
Rebecca Deal's picture
Rebecca Deal
16th Oct, 2019
Have made this recipe several times and if there was one tip I'd give to anyone trying this it would be to NOT add the orange juice - this is what makes the cake so heavy and take much longer than the recipe says to bake. Definitely still add the zest though to get that nice orangey note. This recipe also works really well with a cream cheese frosting, especially if you substitute some of the cream cheese with a bit more maple syrup!
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