Parsnip and Pecan Cake with Maple Syrup


As mentioned in my previous post, last Sunday saw me take part in Super+Super Bake Off competition, coming in on 3rd place with this beautiful Parsnip and Pecan cake…

…with awesome bunting of course!

The process of thinking about what bake to make was both fun and all over the place! I thought first about maybe making my Ricotta and White Chocolate Cheesecake. Then I thought, ooh how about my awesome Pecan Pie? This one I hung on to for a long time. Then came the Parsnip cake…yup that was the one!

I do hope you will try this cake and not be put off by the ‘Parsnip Factor’, as I call it, bake it and come up with beautiful ways of decorating it and adapting it. Have fun with it! It will stay moist for days if stored properly. It tastes nutty and fluffy and simply delicious and does not taste of parsnip!

Think of it as the parsnip equivalent of a carrot cake…

Yeah? See it now? That’s right!

The original recipe calls for more sugar in the cake, less pecan and more syrup in filling. I don’t like very sweet cakes if I’m honest. During my try out I made the filling with buttercream and I didn’t like it, it was far too sweet for me. But Christoph really liked it. It’s a personal preference.

So I reduced the amount of sugar and syrup but added more pecans…

Because they are soooooooo good!

If you have more of a sweet tooth you can add an extra 50g of sugar and a couple extra tablespoons of syrup. Or go the buttercream route. It’s up to you! Oh and I also used a fair amount more of mascarpone than the original recipe. But I like my fillings to really fill the cake! Yum yum yum!



175g butter
200g demerara sugar
100ml maple syrup
3 large eggs
250g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice
250g parsnips, peeled and grated
1 medium eating apple, peeled, cored and grated
100g pecans, roughly chopped
zest and juice 1 small orange

For the filling and heart decoration

350g tub mascarpone
2 tbsp maple syrup

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

Cut out 2 round bases from parchment paper to line your tin ( I just put the tin on top of the paper and with a knife run it around it, it then just needs a slight tug and it come out in a perfect sized round). Then butter 2 x 20cm sandwich tins and line the bases with the parchment rounds you cut.

Melt butter, sugar and maple syrup in a pan over gentle heat. Transfer it into a bowl and leave it to cool slightly.

While the butter mixture/cooling is melting grab your parsnips and apple. Peel them and put it through a food processor. If you don’t have one, just grate it manually and get your workout at the same time! Put it aside. Chop your pecans. Also set it aside.

Once cooled a little, whisk the eggs into the melted butter, sugar and maple mixture. Sift in the flour, baking powder and mixed spice and combine. Then add the grated parsnip, apple and chopped pecans. Zest your orange straight into the mix, then juice and add. Combine the mixture well and divide equally between the tins. To do this just weight the tins on some kitchen scaled as you are dividing. Bake for 45-50 mins until the tops spring back when pressed lightly. Caution: my oven is a rather old battered thing and is very stubborn, with uneven heat distribution. If you have a better oven it may take less time to cook so please keep an eye on it, checking after 25min or so!

Remove from oven and leave it to cool in the tins slightly before removing and leaving it to cool completely.


Once your cake has cooled completely remove the parchment papers. Turn one cake upside down so that the bottom is now at the top.

Grab your mascarpone, put it in a bowl and mix it with the maple syrup. Do so until it is well combine and nice and creamy.

With a palette knife spread a really good thick amount on the upside down cake. Top it with the other cake, this time the right side up.

You can decorate it however you prefer of course. If you want to do the heart, either grab a cookie cutter and fill it with the mascarpone mixture or if like me you don’t have one you can just cut out a shape, in this case a heart, in card paper, hold it over the cake (Christoph help it for me) and fill it with the mixture. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, when you start slowly lifting the card paper away from it all excess filling will stay on card and your design left behind will look great!

I HAD to make some mini bunting for it too. A possible tutorial coming up for this…Life is so much better with plenty of bunting around. And fairy lights…but that’s another story.

Both photos shown here taken by the gorgeous Dawn Mead. For details of her work please visit her website She is extremely talented and simply lovely. Go check her out!



Recipe slightly adapted from bbcgoodfood.

15 thoughts on “Parsnip and Pecan Cake with Maple Syrup

    • Thank you! Yes, it was nice to have something a bit different than icing and the usual decorations ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. Thank you for a lovely recipe. I made it last weekend to celebrate a work colleague completing his PhD. I substituted walnuts because I couldn’t find any pecans,and I tumbled blueberries over the top. As you suggest, i reduced the sugar and increased the nuts.

    It was a hit: ‘complex flavours’ … ‘award winning’ .. ‘only thing wrong with it is there’s not enough’, were some of the comments.

    All this in spite of the fact that that I forgot about the orange zest and juice and had to scrape all the mixture out of the pans, back into the bowl, mix it up and pour back into the pans. A very hardy recipe, even foolproof.


    • I’m so happy you had a go and not only that but that it was a hit! Walnuts are awesome and I can totally see it working ๐Ÿ™‚ I think most recipes out there can take a bit change and some ‘oups’ moments without it being a problem.


    • I too have made this delish cake but with a twist, I made them into a muffin and turned them into a sticky desert. great hit at my dinner.


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