I’m a big fan of using vegetables in dessert. I mean, I now eye roll when people do the whole ‘well it’s got vegetables in it so I can eat it for breakfast right!? ha ha ha’. Mate, if you want to eat cake for breakfast, you do you. Don’t need to justify it!! I’m all on board the cake train. What I DO like about the vegetable addition is that a) it sometimes can bring a different aspect of flavour or colour to the cake, making it more interesting to eat b) its a GREAT way to use up a hell of a lot of veg at once e.g. if you have a bag of carrots starting to look a biiiit sad, turn em into cake instead of chucking them! and c) they often also bring moisture to recipes which can make things all fluffy and soft – it’s also why usually they’re not used in cookies cos who on earth wants a fluffy cookie?
You may think a parsnip cake sounds like a strange idea, but if you think about carrot or courgette cake, there’s not much difference. Parsnips are another slightly sweet vegetable with a mild flavour – in fact we add in hella spices to make sure the cake is tasty. I went with loadsa cinnamon (of course), some nutmeg, allspice and ground ginger. A classic combo of fragrant, sweet spices to match the sweet earthiness of the parsnip.
As I try to avoid making layer cakes whenever possible, I kept things simple by using a bundt tin instead. With a bundt I also usually feel like a standard buttercream isn’t gonna work so a cream cheese glaze is poured on top instead (which incidentally is also easier than making buttercream, hooray!). My decoration choice of pumpkin seeds and silvery sugar balls is totally optional (or you can switch it up by using chopped pecans and festive sprinkles!). I’m just warning you now, it’s incredibly addictive and much simpler to assemble than layer cake – say hello to my new fave festive cake!!!
Parsnip Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze
- 150 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 160 ml (2/3 cup) vegetable oil (or any neutral oil)
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) plain yogurt
- 2 tsp Schwartz ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp Schwartz ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp Schwartz nutmeg grated
- ¼ tsp Schwartz ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 300 g (3 cups) coarsely grated parsnip
- 80 g (1/2 cup) raisins
- 240 g (2 cups) wholemeal flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
for the glaze:
- 100 g (3.5oz) full-fat cream cheese
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 150-200 g (1 to 1 1/2 cups) icing sugar (powdered sugar)
- pumpkin seeds silver sprinkles (optional)
To make the cake
Preheat the oven to 180oC (350oF). Grease a large bundt pan very well with butter or oil.
In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, eggs and oil until smooth. Stir in the yogurt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, orange zest and salt. Fold in the grated parsnips and raisins then add the flour, baking powder, baking soda to the bowl. Mix together until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan then bake for 40-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack then leave to cool completely before frosting.
To make the glaze:
Mix the cream cheese, icing sugar (start with the lesser amount) and vanilla extract in a small bowl until smooth. Add water a teaspoon at a time to get a thinner consistency – you want it to be pourable but not super thin. If it’s too thin, add some more icing sugar to make it thicker.
Pour the glaze over the cooled bundt cake. Let it drip down the edges. Once the glaze has stopped dripping but before it has completely set, sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and silver sprinkles.