Sunday, 6 December 2015

Ginger and parsnip cake



If I were to say to Mr CC I was making a carrot cake his response would be favourable.  However, when I made courgette cakes he prejudged them negatively even though he ended up eating them and liking them.  The Brussel sprout cake was admittedly ‘interesting’ (interesting in this context = bleughhhhhh! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!) but I made that before I met him so, other than hearing scare stories from survivors, he escaped it unscathed. 


Parsnips are basically carrots that have used higher SPF sunscreen (this view might not stand up to biological scrutiny) so I was torn whether to ‘fess up to their inclusion in this cake prior to serving it.  I decided not to and instead turned it into a game of ‘this cake has an unusual ingredient – can you guess what it is?’  He didn’t.


Parsnips, like carrots, have a natural sweetness but, unlike carrots, have an earthiness that added to the depth of flavour in the cake.  I’m not sure my palate would’ve detected that it wasn’t carrot but, once you know, the taste is subtly different.  The sponge was light and soft with tiny flecks of creamy coloured parsnip visible.  It was a lovely combination with the ginger. 


I attended the BBC Good Food show at the NEC last week and bought a bottle of ginger juice.  I used some in the buttercream; ending up with 2 tablespoons of ginger juice and 2 of syrup from the jar of stem ginger.  It added an extra bit of zing and heat – I do like my ginger to leave a lasting impression on my tongue!


I have never said, thought and written the word ‘parsnip’ as much as I have whilst baking this cake.  When you think about it, it’s a pretty odd word...and gets sillier the more you say it.  Parsnip.  Paaaaarsniiiipppp.  It’s a funny word – and I like it!


For the sponges:
250g self raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
250g golden caster sugar
3 balls of stem ginger, very finely chopped
3 eggs
200g grated parsnip – this equates to two average sized parsnips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g unsalted butter – melted but not hot (leave to cool for about 5-10 minutes)
Splash of milk, if needed

For the icing:
400g icing sugar
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tablespoons stem ginger syrup from the jar


Pat the oven to 180C/fan oven 160C/350F/gas mark 4.

Line two 20cm loose bottomed sandwich tins with baking paper.

Place the flour, bicarb, baking powder, salt, ground ginger and sugar in a bowl and stir together.

Add the stem ginger and stir so that it is coated with dry ingredients and not clumping together.

In a separate bowl – a large jug is easier if you have one - beat together the eggs, grated parsnip, vanilla and melted butter.

Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mix and fold together, taking care not to over mix.

If the mixture is not firm, and doesn’t drop from the spoon easily, add a splash of milk.

Spoon into the prepared tins and level the surface.

Bake for approximate 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean.  Mine took a bit longer – nearer 40 minutes, but it’s worth checking after 25 minutes as ovens vary.

Leave to cool in the tins for at least 20 minutes before turning out and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack.

Now make the buttercream: Beat together all the ingredients until smooth and whippy.

Place one sponge on the serving plate and use a stingy 1/3 of the buttercream to spread over the top.

Place the other sponge on top.

Use the remaining buttercream to cover the top and sides of the cake.

Place your decorated gingerbread on the cake.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.




Gloria Baker said...

Dear this cake look absolutely gorgeous!!!

Jo said...

"Parsnips are basically carrots that have used higher SPF sunscreen" - hahahaha! Love it.

Great looking cake, CC. I keep meaning to try parsnips or courgettes in a cake.

sensibilia said...

Mmmm! Yummy twist on parsnip cake. I used to flavour with lemon. Will definitely try as I think ginger will be better at disguising that earthy flavour you describe (had noticed that there was a tang, but couldn't define it!) I do love the way these veggies bulk out a cake but in a good way!

Maggie said...

Hubby has a dislike of parsnips and can sniff them out! I would love to try the cake though. I missed that particular Ginger at the NEC last week - hope you enjoyed yourself!

Jean said...

I have made a parsnip cake before which was delicious, time to make another one methinks. This looks gorgeous and we love ginger so thanks for the recipe, it's definitely one to try asap.

Angie Schneider said...

Parsnips are basically carrots that have used higher SPF true! The cake looks wonderfully delicious.

Millymollymandy said...

Hmmmm, maybe the recipe I tried for parsnip and walnut cake wasn't a good one.... I am a great fan of veggies in sweet dishes and have played around with courgettes, beetroot, pumpkin, carrots etc, I even make Sophie Grigson's sweet preserved aubergines in syrup, but parsnip cake. Ugh. No thanks! :-) Yours does look lovely though. :-)

Choclette Blogger said...

What a fantabulous cake. I prefer parsnips to carrots in cake. Jerusalem artichokes are pretty good too, but I think I draw the line at Brussel sprouts.

Kate Glutenfreealchemist said...

Interesting! Not sure I would venture quite as far as parsnip, although this does look pretty tempting and I may just be persuaded having seen the result. But brussels sprouts? Really? What on earth?????