Parsnip is the new carrot….didn’t ya know? My sister-in-law introduced me to this very versatile and sweet root vegetable and I have been in love ever since. They can be roasted, plain and simple with olive oil and salt and pepper or boiled and then pureed as a delicious and healthier substitute for mashed potatoes.
Or…they can shine in all their glory in this soft maple spice cake.
I made this as an alternative to the carrot cupcakes I was planning for our Easter party for no reason at all except I was in the mood for them. If you must know the truth, sometimes I wake up thinking about this particular spice cake. This recipe is THAT good and it does not even contain CHOCOLATE! That says a lot coming from the world’s biggest chocolate addict.
Faith, of Edible Mosaic made this as a cake, and I have her to blame for my little addiction. But really, if you are going to be addicted to any baked good, this may as well be it. It has no refined sugars (without the frosting). Instead it uses maple syrup as the sweetener and most of the flour used is from almonds and finally two whole cups of packed parsnips makes it into this recipe.
I hope you can tell from my up close and personal shot that the crumb is as soft as any cake I have ever made. It’s not as dense as a carrot cake, a little lighter and fluffier. I ended up whipping up a cream cheese frosting with some maple syrup and almond extract added. It was the perfect creamy note to pair with this spicy cake.
Parsnip Spice Cake
Adapted from An Edible Mosaic and from the cookbook, Sweet Magic from Michel Richard
Makes either one, one layer cake or 15 cupcakes
1 c. pure maple syrup
1/2 c. canola oil
2 large eggs
1/2 t. almond extract
1 T freshly grated ginger (or one teaspoon of ground ginger)
2 c. (8 oz) almond meal/flour
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. fine salt
1 lb (about 4-6 medium) parsnips, peeled and shredded, preferably in a food processor using the shredding attachment (about 2 c lightly packed)
Sliced almonds, toasted (optional, for decoration)
**OPTIONAL but really yummy…soak 3/4 cup of raisins in two tablespoons of rum for about 30 minutes prior to making the cake. Strain the raisins and stir them into the batter after the parsnips. Do not add the excess rum. It will be too much liquid for the batter).
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting – All Mine
1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, low-fat is fine (one whole brick of cream cheese)
3-4 c. confectioners sugar, depending on how thick you want your frosting (sifted if you want super smooth frosting)
2 T. Pure, all natural maple syrup
1/4 t. almond extract
dash of salt
To make the cake: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Either line a 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper and grease and flour or line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the syrup through the freshly grated ginger (if you are using ground ginger, then add it with the list of dry ingredients below).
In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond flour through the salt. Add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and then mix on low. Then add the other half and mix again until combined. Stir in the cup of shredded parsnips, lightly packed. Pour into cupcake liners or the cake pan. For cupcakes bake for about 20-25 minutes and for the cake bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool the cake for about 20 minutes and then loosen the sides and remove from the pan and cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter at medium speed in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Then beat on high speed until creamy. Add the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and beat on low speed eat time. Add the almond extract, the syrup and salt and beat on medium or medium-high until very creamy. Frost and then sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds.