Parsnip, Apple & Orange Pecan Cake with Maple Mascarpone Frosting (GF)
This cake may well be the best cake I have made in weeks…months…possibly even all year! I know that’s an incredibly bold statement, but eat a slice of this cake and you’ll see where I’m coming from. It’s moist, slightly sticky, sweet and jam packed full of flavour. It’s fruity, a little nutty and filled with a luxuriously creamy maple mascarpone frosting.
Parsnips in a cake may sound like an odd idea, but they are sweeter than carrots and they often make an appearance in baked goods. Just as with carrot cake, you don’t take a bite of this cake and think ‘parsnips’ they are there to add a natural sweetness and incredible moist texture. Apple and orange also lend their juicy sweetness and it’s actually the flavour of the orange and spices that hit you first, before all the other flavours and textures pop up. The mascarpone frosting is only slightly sweetened with the maple syrup, retaining a lot of its cooling creamy smoothness which leaves a wonderful rich and decadent feeling in your mouth that has you clamoring for another bite.
The texture of the sponge is moist and slightly dense, but in a gorgeous sticky fruity way. You can see from the slices that this doesn’t prevent it from being a light, springy cake. It needs that little bit of substance to support and balance the combination of flavours.
I made this cake for my mum’s birthday last week. I actually found this recipe a year ago, just after her last birthday, and have been sitting on it for a year, waiting for parsnips to come back into season and for her birthday to roll round again. It was definitely worth the wait and due to its moist texture, a simple flour substitution was all that was required to make it gluten free. Best cake ever!
Parsnip, Apple & Orange Pecan Cake with Maple Mascarpone Frosting (GF) (Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food)
200g light soft brown sugar
100g golden syrup
250g Doves gluten free self raising flour (or regular flour)
2tsp gluten free baking powder
2tsp mixed spice
250g parsnips (about 2 large)
125g eating apple (I used Cox)
50g pecan nuts
Zest and juice 1 orange
Maple Mascarpone Frosting
250g mascarpone cheese
2tbsp maple syrup
For the Cake
Heat oven to 180C. Grease and line two 8inch/20cm sandwich tins.
Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup together in a large pan over low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, Peel the parsnips and coarsely grate them along with the apple (you can leave the skin on but remove the core). Roughly chop the pecans and finely grate the zest from the orange.
Using a large spatula, whisk the eggs into the melted sugar mixture, then stir in the flour, baking powder and mixed spice. Add the parsnip, apple, pecans and orange zest. Squeeze in the juice from the zested orange and mix well.
Divide the batter between the tins (it will be quite full) and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and the tops spring back when pressed lightly.
Allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.
For the Frosting
Place the mascarpone in a bowl and leave for 15 minutes to warm to room temperature.
Add the maple syrup and beat together until well incorporated. Add enough milk so that you achieve a thick, yet spreadable consistency.
Place one cake layer on a serving plate and place spoonfuls of the frosting over the surface. Use a knife to spread the frosting out into an even layer, right to the edges of the cake.
Top with the second cake layer and dust the top lightly with icing sugar.
Serve in generous slices. The cake becomes even moister and stickier the following day.