• clairhenderson


Love them? or reluctantly have them Christmas Day and don't think about them for the rest of the year?

These easy growing, highly nutritional, low packaging veggies are well worth introducing to our dinner tables at other times of the year. A veggie our grandparents would've been very familar with, it now rarely appears in our current field of favourite veggies. But why when it's such a good eco-choice? Is it the peeling hassle? an unusual taste? not sure what to do with them? I would love to hear your thoughts.

In times past, before sugar was commonplace, and again during rationing, sweet vegetables were used in baking to add sweetness. And I must confess despite having hidden many a vegetable in many a cake, parsnips escaped me. My beetroot chocolate cake is a family favourite; at times of glut, I cook a mean courgette, lime and ginger cake. I've even dabbled with aubergine and of course have a signature carrot cake. But parsnips. No.

In times of recipe need, I must admit, despite dabbling with Ottolenghi, Anna Jones and many an experimental cook, a solid reliable recipe calls for Delia or BBC Good Food. And I was not let down for a parsnip cake. BBCGoodFood ran a baking competition a few years back and this cake was the winner. It is reproduced here. But the original can be found here. My only change is my (invariable) substitution of walnuts instead of pecans and vegan margarine instead of butter.

Catherine Berwick's Parsnip & Maple Syrup Cake


  • 175g vegan margarine

  • 250g 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

  • 50g walnuts, roughly chopped

  • zest and juice 1 small orange

Filling: 250g tub of mascarpone, 3-4 tbsp maple syrup

1. Heat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease 2 x 20cm sandwich tins and line the bases with baking parchment.

2. Melt the margarine, sugar and maple syrup in a pan over gentle heat. Whisk in the eggs, then stir in the flour, baking powder and mixed spice, followed by the grated parsnip, apple, chopped pecans, orange zest and juice.

3. Divide between the tins, then bake for 25-30 mins until the tops spring back when pressed lightly.

4. Once cooled, mix together the mascarpone and maple syrup and sandwich the two cakes. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.


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