I absolutely hate to see food wasted or thrown away, so I'm always looking for ways to use up leftovers. This Parsnip & Maple Syrup Cake is a great way to use up leftover parsnips after a Sunday lunch or Christmas dinner. If you've not tried a parsnip cake before, it's similar to a carrot or courgette cake. The parsnips add sweetness and moisture to the sponge, but you can't taste them at all.
This cake also contains lots of autumnal spices for delicious flavour, brown sugar for a hint of caramel and pecans for some nutty texture. The filling is a simple maple syrup sweetened mascarpone. It's the perfect fresh and creamy compliment to the spiced sponge. If you're looking for a cake recipe with minimal decoration, where the cake itself really shines, then this is the perfect option!
The photos and recipe for this post were updated in December 2020.
How to make Parsnip & Maple Syrup Cake
Stir together self raising flour, light brown sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, mixed spice and ground ginger in a mixing bowl. In another bowl whisk the maple syrup, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla together, then whisk them into the bowl of flour.
Stir in the grated parsnip and chopped pecans, then divide the mixture between the cake tins and bake for 35-40 minutes.
Leave the cakes to cool. Mix the maple syrup into the mascarpone and spread over one of the cakes, add the second cake on top and dust with icing sugar to finish.
What is the best way to prepare the parsnips?
If you have a food processor with a grater attachment then that's the quickest and most effortless way to prepare them. A manual grater works really well too, and it only takes a few minutes.
Can you use plain/all purpose flour instead?
Yes! If you want to use plain flour (instead of self raising flour) then you will need to add 3 additional teaspoons of baking powder to the recipe. Make sure they are level teaspoons (a measuring teaspoon, not the kind you stir your coffee with).
Can you make this cake in different size tins?
Yes! Check out my conversion guide to find out how to adjust the recipe.
More tips for making the Parsnip & Maple Syrup Cake:
- If you want this cake to be nut free you can omit the pecans.
- You could also swap the pecans for walnuts or hazelnuts if you prefer.
- If you don't have light brown sugar, you can also use regular caster sugar.
- Mixed spice is a British spice blend containing Cinnamon, Coriander Seed, Nutmeg, Clove, Pimento, Ginger. If you can't get hold of it, use a Pumpkin Spice mix instead.
Recommended equipment & ingredients*
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Parsnip & Maple Syrup Cake
For the cake
- 325 g Self raising flour
- 200 g Light brown sugar
- 1 ½ tsp Cinnamon
- 2 tsp Mixed spice
- ½ tsp Ground ginger
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- ½ tsp Bicarbonate of soda
- 235 g Vegetable oil
- 125 ml Maple Syrup
- 4 Eggs large
- 250 g Parsnips grated (about 3 medium parnips)
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 50 g Pecans chopped
For the filling
- 250 g Mascarpone
- 3 tbsp Maple Syrup
- Pre-heat your oven to 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4, and grease and line two 8" cake tins
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the self raising flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, ground ginger, mixed spice, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda
- In another bowl, or large mixing jug, whisk together the vegetable oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract and eggs
- Pour the oil/egg mixture into the mixing bowl with the flour in it, whisk everything together
- Then mix in the grated parsnips and the chopped pecans
- Divide the mixture between the tins, use scales for accuracy
- Bake them for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave them to fully cool either in the tins or remove from the tin and place on cooling racks
- To make the filling use an electric mixer to whisk the mascarpone with the maple syrup until smooth
- If the cakes have domed on top, level them off with a cake leveller or a serrated knife
- Put one of the sponges on your plate or cake stand and spread the sweentened mascarpone over it
- Put the other half of the cake on top and finish with a sprinkling of icing sugar
- Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days