Two decades of being a mother and I am very well experienced in hiding vegetables in all manner of disguises. Even with a house full of teenage kids these days, I’m still fairly apt at getting them all to unwittingly eat their veggies. This cake is no exception and successfully brings me the win I needed to get parsnips across the finish line and happily into their cynical little gobs. Sweet, fluffy spiced cake chocka full of grated parsnip, dressed in lashings of cream cheese icing – good lord it’s delicious … My work here is done.
3 cups grated parsnip
1 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
4 large free range eggs
2 cups self-raising flour
1 tsp baking soda
1½ cups golden caster sugar
1½ cups vegetable oil
1 tbsp ground cinnamon, with extra to garnish
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground mixed spice
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Grease and line 2 x 24cm spring form cake tins.
Sift and combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. In a sperate bowl combine the eggs, oil and grated parsnip.
Mix dry ingredients into oil mixture until just combined. Divide mixture evenly between the two prepared tins and bake for 35–45 mins until golden and when tested with a skewer it comes out clean. Set aside to cool.
When cool, place one cake on a serving plate, top with half the cream cheese icing. Lay the other cake on top and spread over the remaining icing. Sprinkle over crushed maple almonds and parsnip ribbons to decorate. Sprinkle with a little dusted cinnamon if desired.
Serve in fat wedges with hot cups of tea.
FOR THE CREAM CHEESE ICING
250g cream cheese, room temperature
50g butter, softened
500g icing sugar (approx.)
2–3 tbsp lemon juice
Place the butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer with paddle attachment and beat until smooth and combined. Gradually add the icing sugar in batches with the lemon juice until the icing is smooth and holds soft peaks.
This recipe easily doubles for decadent cakes.
FOR THE MAPLE ALMONDS
2–3 tbsp maple syrup
½ cup slivered almonds
Place almonds in a small bowl, pour over maple syrup and toss to coat well. Bake on a lined tray in a 160°C oven until lightly browned. Set aside and break up/crumble when cooled.
FOR THE PARNSIP RIBBONS
These can be used to top savoury dishes or sweet ones as I have here. I keep mine in an airtight container for a couple of days.
Preheat the oven to 150°C
Using a vegetable peeler, peel parsnips into ribbons (avoid the woody core).
Drizzle with a tiny bit of oil, toss to coat and spread them out in a single layer on a lined baking tray. Season with sea salt, then bake for around 15 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
Words and Images Fiona Hugues