Move over carrot cake! The parsnip has arrived and wants some of the action. Good, fresh, firm parsnips have a wonderful, natural sweetness that makes them ideal in baked desserts. Read on for this inspired recipe that will have you singing the praises of parsnips.
This cake is delicious with a traditional glaze or frosting, but if you’re running short of time, serve it with a warm fruit compote or applesauce. This recipe calls for mace, which is the dried and powdered outer surface of nutmeg. Mace has a wonderful, nutty flavor, like nutmeg—and it has a brighter, zestier edge that won’t fade during baking. A touch of mace adds complexity to the warm, familiar spiciness of cinnamon. If you cannot find mace, you can substitute 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg.
Butter for greasing the baking pan
2 cups unbleached flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground mace
1 ¼ cups Sucanat (as a wholesome alternative to refined sugar, read more about natural sweeteners here.)
¾ cups organic butter softened
½ cup mild vegetable oil
4 eggs, at room temperature
3 cups peeled and grated raw parsnips (about 3 large parsnips)
1 ½ cups finely chopped pecans
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly coat a 10-inch Bundt pan or tube pan with butter.
2. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and mace.
3. In another bowl, combine the Sucanat, butter and oil; beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add one egg and beat well. Add about one-quarter of the flour mixture and beat well. Repeat the process until all of the eggs and flour mixture are used and well combined.
4. Stir in the parsnips and pecans.
5. Pour the batter into the pan and bake until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, about one hour.
6. Remove the pan from the oven and set it aside to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the cake from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Adapted from Farmer John's Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables by Farmer John Peterson and Angelic Organics (Gibbs Smith Publisher, 2006).
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