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Parsnip Cake with Buttermilk Glaze

Yes, you read that right parsnip cake!  Does something look out of place above?  I have to admit, I had no idea parsnips could be used in baking, until I came across a recipe for parsnip cake.  At first I thought it odd, but then a quick google search convinced me that it is no different than carrot cake, or beet brownies (we’ll get to that later).  Parsnips have been abundant this fall season in the CSA share boxes and our members are finding they are so, so versatile.  Paired with a variety of spices, hearty almond flour, and buttermilk this cake could become a winter staple!

Parsnip Cake with Buttermilk Glaze

When using roots like this in baking, it’s best to shred them very finely so they cook evenly.  If you have a food processor grating disc, go for it!  I usually try to pawn this job off on someone else, but no one was around so I pushed up my sleeves and quickly grated two large parsnips. The almond flour and all purpose flour are whisked together for a full minute before any other ingredients are added.  An electric mixer works great for this, but so does a plain old whisk!  I have adapted this cake to for gluten free and gluten full variations.  I used Pamela’s Gluten Free Baking & Pancake Mix for this since it also has almond flour in it.  You can find Pamela’s at most natural foods stores and Wegman’s. If using wheat flour your favorite all purpose flour will work just fine.

Parsnip Cake with Buttermilk Glaze

Just like most baking recipes dry ingredients are mixed together, wet ingredients are mixed together, then gently combined until “just mixed”.  Parsnips are folded in at the end.  Heart shaped pan is optional. While the cake is baking this glaze comes together so simply, melted butter and maple syrup with rich buttermilk.  One thing I love about this cake is it has buttermilk in the glaze and cake.  I’ll try any baking recipes with buttermilk-the acidity creates a delicate crumb that can’t be beat.  I also found some great local buttermilk for this recipe!

Parsnip Cake with Buttermilk Glaze adapted from Food52

  • 2 cups Pamela’s Brand Baking Mix or  All-Purpose Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 cup Almond Flour
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder OR 1/2teaspoon Cinnamon + 1/4 tsp Ground Ginger + 1/4 teaspoon Allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/2 cup Buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 cups finely shredded parsnips (about 2 large parsnips)

Preheat oven to 350F Grease a 9 x 13″ glass pan or similar size cake pan.

Combine dry ingredients. Whisk for one full minute to aerate flours.

Combine wet ingredients.  Whisk to dissolve sugar.

Combine wet and dry ingredients.  Fold in parsnips.

Pour into prepared cake pan.  Bake until center springs back or a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Flip cake out onto a large plate, and immediately pour the glaze over the hot cake, taking care to distribute evenly. Optional: Poke holes with a chopstick or toothpick so the glaze will seep in better.

Maple Buttermilk Glaze

  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature

Melt Butter and maple syrup over low heat.  Heat until the maple syrup starts to boil and the butter is melted or close to it. Allow to cool for several minutes, then whisk in the buttermilk.



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