Parsnip Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

Saturday 29 January 2011

I think that Parsnips have to be my all-time-favourite vegetable! I know that I say that about a lot of things, don't I? I guess I just love food and have a lot of favourites! But seriously, I do love, Love, LOVE Parsnips!

Paler than carrots, but much sweeter than cooked, I just adore them in any way, shape or form. My mother hated them and so we didn't get them at all when I was growing up, although . . . I do remember her cooking them for us once, in an attempt to see whether her tastes had changed through the years . . .

I remember her peeling them and slicing them into coins, and then she cooked them in butter, until they were soft and caramelized. They were lovely . . . but, she still didn't like them, so that was that! She never cooked them for us again.

I always remembered how delicious I had found them to be though, and once I got out on my own, I took every opportunity to cook them that I could, slipping them into stews and soups, roasting them, frying them and even mashing them. (They are just scrumptious cooked together with carrots and then mashed with some butter and seasoning!)

We have all made carrot cakes, I am sure. They're really quite popular nowadays . . . moist and scrummy and topped with a creamed cheese icing. I cannot imagine anyone not liking them, but I am sure there are some exceptions to the rule!

Yesterday I thought . . . if parsnips are so much sweeter than carrots, I am sure they would make a delicious cake and so . . . I made a Parsnip Cake, using my favourite Carrot Cake recipe!

Oh my, this is scrummy . . . all moist and sweet, and stogged full of lovely parsnips, pineapple crush, toasted walnuts and warm baking spices!

We had the missionaries over for their tea and they screwed their noses up a bit in disbelief when I told them I had baked a Parsnip cake, but . . .

they ended up taking half of it with them when they left, it was sooooo good!! I think the Browned Butter Frosting was . . . well . . . the icing on the cake!

Oh yes . . . it is very moreishly scrumdiddlyumptious!

I'm sure glad that I am a cook who is not afraid to push the boundaries of what's considered to be normal at times. It makes life much more exciting, oh . . . and much tastier too!!!

*Parsnip Cake with Browned Butter Frosting*
Makes one 9 by 13 inch cake
Printable Recipe

Spicy, sweet and moist with a nutty frosting.

8.5 ounces plain flour (2 cups)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
5.25 ounces caster sugar (3/4 cup)
5.6 ounces soft light brown sugar (3/4 cup packed)
3 large free range eggs
6 fluid ounces of canola oil (3/4 cup)
1 tsp vanilla
3 medium parsnips peeled and grated
1 (435g) tin of pineapple crush, drained (1 cup)
2 ounces chopped toasted walnuts (1/2 cup)

Brown Butter Frosting:
2 ounces butter softened (1/4 cup)
pinch salt
16 ounces icing sugar, sifted (4 cups)
75 - 100ml of cream (1/3 tp 1/2 cup)

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking tin and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda, salt, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, caster and brown sugars and vanilla until smooth. Add to the flour mixture and stir together just until moistened. Stir in the parsnips, pineapple and nuts. Spread into the prepared baking tin, leveling it off. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, heat the butter over medium heat until it turns a nutty brown colour. Be careful not to burn it. Add the sale and then beat in the sugar and the cream until it is cold, creamy and thick enough to spread. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake.

Cut into squares to serve. Store in an airtight container.


  1. I love carrot cake. Its always been one of my faves. But parnips? in a cake? I don't think I've ever had a parsnip in my life but if it can make even carrot cake taste better than it already does, I can't imagine not loving it. Very clever and interesting recipe!

  2. So glad I found this early today. I was making a carrot cake, but now I'm making a parsnip cake. Thanks so much.

  3. Great minds think alike! I'm planning on baking a parsnip cake for my mums birthday today! Good to know it tastes good. This looks delicious with that creamy frosting

  4. Oh, this recipe looks wonderful! I don't use parsnips enough, but I really want to as they are so healthy.
    Thank you for your scrumptious recipes!

  5. That looks amazing! I LOVE parsnips too!

  6. Great idea! My carrot cake has pineapple too..We will love this..Thank you..have a great weekend!

  7. I have 2 parsnips in the refrigerator right now. I'm going to finish it out with a carrot. I love the appetizing pictures you post and like the fact that many of the cakes are just one layer. That means it gets eaten up quickly before it goes stale and I can indulge just a little instead of a lot.

  8. I just made your blackberry pecan snacking cake and it was delicious. Next, the parsnip cake. I discovered parsnips well into adulthood. We had never had them on the table growing up, now I always have a bunch in the frig.

  9. OMG you are a genius!! I love parsnips too but only buy them to put in stew. This is so smart, I MUST MUST MUST try this.

  10. VERy unique! Never would have thought of parsnips in place of carrot in a cake!

  11. This looks delicious! My English husband is *crazy* for parsnips.... I bet he'll love this cake!!! Thanks for sharing!

  12. yum!! I made this finally and tweeted about it.Told the family don't be surprised at the jump in traffic!!

  13. how long will this cake last unrefrigerated? Thanks! x

  14. lovely recipe! how long would this cake usually last unrefrigerated?? thanks x

  15. Hi Firefly, I usually don't have a problem with it lasting, but I think I would make sure it is eaten within 4 days. If you are really concerned, I would refrigerate it, and let it come to room temperature before eating.


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